Idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

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2answers
76 views

Idiom for new-employee training period

There’s a certain amount of time that organizations apply to new employees who are undergoing training. What’s the idiom? I’ve heard spin-up or train-up time, but neither of those two is clicking as ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Idiom or phrase to denote unfair use of someone who is nice

I am looking for an idiom or a phrase to denote the situation where someone is unfairly taken advantage of (Ex: Gets a lot of work dumped on his lap on a Friday evening like Harold in Harold and Kumar ...
6
votes
9answers
736 views

English equivalent of saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh”?

The saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh” from my own language is typically addressed to someone who likes to provide unsolicited help by barging in on a heated conversation between two ...
1
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5answers
73 views

Idiom: When something is not dealt with for a long time

What idiom could express when something is not dealt with for a very long time? The reason would be that a certain issue or thing cannot be solved because you lack the necessary means/agreements to do ...
2
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2answers
71 views

'come rain, blood, or horse manure' American idiom?

Probably some of you, as I am, are familiar with the controversy that surrounded ABC miniseries Amerika (February 1987). ABC president response to that controversy was "we’re going to run that ...
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1answer
83 views

What's the phrase that is used with 'honest' to indicate sarcasm that I am being monitored [closed]

What's it that is used with 'honest' to indicate sarcasm that I am being monitored. .
1
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1answer
151 views

What's the origin of “this is going to come to a head”?

I have used the phrases "This is going to come to a head" or "coming to a head". I think I know what they mean, I think I'm using them correctly. So...where do these phrases come from? And, ahem, ...
1
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4answers
80 views

An idiom for when you do a work but the work is insufficient

I'm looking for an idiom for when you do a work in order to better a situation. However, the work you do is not sufficient, so even though your work is not entirely wasted (as it does have some ...
2
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5answers
110 views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
5
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5answers
155 views

“ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel” - a (few) simpler alternative(s)

ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel or ain’t got the sense God gave geese. I have taken a liking to this phrase, however, to my colleagues, most of who are from Latin America and SE-Asia, ...
3
votes
3answers
124 views

Idiom: to be at loggerheads

Idiom to be at loggerheads with someone over sth The meaning is to be in strong disagreement with someone struggling constantly as in The two governments are still at loggerheads over the island. ...
4
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1answer
67 views

What did it originally mean to 'bow and scrape'?

It is said, including in the OED, to refer to bowing, and at the same time drawing back the right leg so that it made a scraping noise. I don't recall seeing anyone scraping. I lived in Japan for a ...
2
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1answer
187 views

Charles Bukowski's “best dick” [closed]

I am reading Charles Bukowski's Pulp and as non-native English speaker I am finding decoding certain expressions challenging. For example the main character, Nicky Belane, often refers to himself ...
0
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0answers
19 views

explain the idiom [duplicate]

I am the novice English learner. Please explain me the idiom "What are you up to" I've already google it. But i still want you people to explain this with examples. Thanks
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16answers
4k views

Is there any idiom which is exactly opposite of 'head start'?

I am searching for an idiom which means to have a disadvantage that makes your chances of winning bleak It should appropriately fit in this analogy: Head Start - Win ___ - Lose
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1answer
61 views

“in God's name” usage in English [closed]

When people say "what in God's name are you doing?", I couldn't understand.
2
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2answers
125 views

What is the origin of the phrase “grease the skids”?

What is the origin or derivation of the phrase "greasing the skids?" The phrase connotes preparation, in such a way as to make the subsequent activities easier. Definitions are available various ...
3
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3answers
158 views

Is “take a leak” considered only masculine or is it okay if women use it too?

And if it can also be used by women, I still feel vulgar using it.
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12answers
2k views

Is there a suitable antonym for 'Achilles heel'?

I'm trying to juxtapose antonyms in a effort to describe something. The first draft of an excerpt reads something like this: I will tell of their triumphs and downfalls... I would like to ...
1
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1answer
56 views

“Would-be” meaning “potential”: must it be hyphenated?

Suppose I write, "Giving exams in class thwarts would-be cheaters." Must "would-be" have a hyphen? Or would it be preferable to write it without a hyphen? (It seems easier to read with the hyphen.) ...
1
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1answer
37 views

bottom dropped out

I heard this expression and I don't know what it means. I googled it and it was mostly financial meanings. But mine is not. I'm writing the context exactly. The bottom kind of dropped out when I ...
1
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1answer
112 views

Get-go attitude vs. go-getter

I want to write a recommendation for a friend in LinkedIn, and I want to emphasise that he was a real hard worker. So, does "he has a get-go attitude" means that someone is a "go-getter"?
2
votes
1answer
173 views

What does “ought to have been a wheelbarrow” mean?

My grandmother (who was of Irish descent) was born in the New England area of NSW, Australia. She used an idiom that she "ought to have been a wheelbarrow". I think it meant something about a lack of ...
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2answers
51 views

Does “the truth is deceptive” make any sense or should it be “ truth can be deceiving”? [closed]

Does "the truth is deceptive" make any sense or should it be " truth can be deceiving" ?
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2answers
96 views

Is “throw guns into a hot stove” a common phrase or just one-off figurative expression?

Today, Scott Simon, the host of NPR’s Weekend Edition news program, interviews former NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder about the cease-fire between the Ukrainian government and Russian separatists, and ...
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5answers
123 views

I need an alternative for “her whole life” [closed]

In my story a young girl only understands the life of a dancer, but once her dream comes to an end she doesn't know what to do with herself. I need a better way of saying She danced all day ...
2
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3answers
533 views

To have the world “at your fingertips”

I was watching a YouTube video about eating disorders when the American TV presenter ended a pep talk with the following words: If I had the chance today to spend six weeks somewhere, to better ...
12
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12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
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1answer
64 views

Question on “the fabric of X” in sentences

I see a lot of sentences with "the fabric of X" in them. For example, "The veteran feels trusted, respected and understood -- re-integrated into the fabric of his or her homeland." "Half a century ...
1
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0answers
69 views

Origin of “kill the ghost”, “killing the ghost”

A British friend of mine who used to work with us came back from London for a short visit to the town.Before going back home again he showed me photographs of the town beach and hotel saying he came ...
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2answers
80 views

What does it mean to “gum the spoon”?

I recently found out about a new term. It's "gum the spoon". What does it mean? By the various contexts I found, I conjecture that it means to add saliva onto the spoon or to hold the spoon in one's ...
1
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2answers
58 views

The quality of things you stick with

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe the quality of things we stick with. For example, if a training is well designed, people will tend to keep using it. Meanwhile, if it's not, ...
3
votes
1answer
127 views

“Harry saw Luna, all eyes in her white face…” What does this line from the Deathly Hallows mean?

After rereading it for what seems to be the hundredth time, I realized that I never understood the meaning of this half a sentence. What's really tripping me up is the all eyes in her white face bit. ...
7
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5answers
965 views

What does “Anyone who is married” mean in “Anyone who is married should know that facts and logic are not always helpful to one’s cause”? [closed]

I’m drawn to the phrase, “anyone who is married” taken from Benn Steil's recently published book, The Battle of Bretton Woods that deals with the battle engaged by Maynard Keynes and Harry White, each ...
1
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2answers
103 views

Is the phrase “Next waiting!” by retail staff incorrect grammar?

In Australian retail stores the phrase "Next waiting!" has become an idiom. As I understand it, it is a contraction of "Can I serve the person next waiting?". When the idiom is used, it is snapped ...
25
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8answers
3k views

Are there similar expressions to the Japanese saying “I want to die on a tatami mat”?

Today most people die in a hospital bed, though many would prefer to die in their own home being watched over by their loving family. We have an old saying, “to die on a tatami mat”, meaning to die ...
2
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3answers
155 views

An Idiom/phrase/adjective for an imaginary place where everything is perfect [closed]

A place where unrealistic and impossible things can happen. Is there an idiom/expression/phrase that connotes to such a stretch of the imagination?
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1answer
93 views

What does “when in doubt, lay out” mean? [closed]

So, what does it mean? "When in doubt, lay out." It seems to be an advice.
2
votes
7answers
755 views

Is calling someone “old school”- offensive/derogatory? [closed]

My colleague, a relatively young school teacher, prefers not to use e-mails. He is digitally absent. During a recent teacher's meeting, while I appreciated his efforts towards content ...
0
votes
1answer
138 views

The meaning and etymology of the exclamation “Lawdy me!”

What does a speaker mean if he/she exclaims "Lawdy me!"? I noticed this exclamation when I was reading a short story "the Conscience of the Court" by Zora Neale Hurston. There was one brown-skinned ...
3
votes
2answers
490 views

A fatal accident vs a fateful accident [closed]

fatal/adjective/causing death. fateful/adjective/ having far-reaching and often disastrous consequences or implications. My team-leader survived a life-threatening injury, when back to work, an ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

Clasping arms when cold: how does one say that?

How does one say in English when, as a reaction to cold, a person crosses their arms, grabbing their own shoulders? It is a very common gesture, not shrugging as "I don't care", but to keep the cold ...
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Origin of the expression “Answer came there none” [closed]

What is the origin of the expression "Answer came there none"? Is it a quote from somewhere? Is it known when it was first used as an alternative to "there was no answer"? Or was it once a more ...
0
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6answers
105 views

Feeling for rejection followed by acceptance?

Is there any good word/phrase/idiom for that feeling of scorn when you're accepted by someone/something after getting rejected the first time? I remember a phrase being quoted by Nathan Fillion in ...
2
votes
3answers
203 views

Where did the expression “it's lonely at the top” come from?

Some variations of this are it's lonely at the top but you eat better and it's lonely at the top but the view is nice a look at google ngrams seems to suggest it started to pick up in the ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Rub it in on me OR Rub it in me?

I want to say this person likes to be sarcastic to me. Is it, "He always rubs it in on me" OR "He always rubs it in me"?
2
votes
4answers
503 views

What does “Screw motivation” mean? [closed]

There is an essay whose title is Screw motivation, what you need is discipline. I can understand its main idea, but can not figure out the exactly meaning of Screw motivation in the title. Could you ...
1
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3answers
201 views

Run by stopwatch

what's the meaning of "run by a stopwatch"? I found it in this sentence : "The pressing problem for Blackmore was making a quick adjustment to the American lifestyle that felt like it was run by a ...
1
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7answers
197 views

What idioms can describe a tough or difficult thing (such as a test)?

An easy test (or similar undertaking) might be described as 'a piece of cake' Are there any idioms to describe a test (etc.) that is difficult?
4
votes
2answers
228 views

What is the derivation of “peanuts” meaning “of little value”?

The phrase working for peanuts is common (at least in American English) to indicate that someone is compensated very little. The word peanuts is defined by Oxford Online as (peanuts) informal A ...