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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58 views

What does “the balcony is really far away” mean?

Yesterday, I watched MasterChef America. There were two teams competing in the challenge of cooking and serving food at a football game. There were 100 voters and the red team won the blue team by 51 ...
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1answer
79 views

What is the origin of using '-wise' as a suffix? [duplicate]

What is the origin of using '-wise' as a suffix in expressions such as the following. Is it grammatically correct? Is it strongly idiomatic, or sloppy language? 'What is he doing job-wise these ...
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1answer
70 views

How is title case applied to idioms containing prepositions?

For title case that does not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and small prepositions, how should one capitalize compound verbs and idiomatic phrases containing one of these elements? For example, ...
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1answer
126 views

Can a spoof and a dark comedy be the same?

I and a group of friends were watching a video on TV when one idiot from the group (who wasn't my friend but a friend's friend) wanting to sound intellectual claimed that the video was based on "dark ...
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1answer
93 views

What does “straight out of [person]” mean?

I know the meaning of the straight out. But what does it mean with of? For example: It’s straight out of Alice Miller.
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4answers
251 views

Expressions to describe having immediately understood someone's personality

What words could I use to describe the event of having successfully and completely "read" or understood someone's personality, upon first meeting that someone?
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1answer
106 views

Why is a dead man like a plumber's candle? [closed]

Here I read the following about a man who had just died: He was the ghastly pale of a plumber’s candle. What exactly is meant? As far as I can google, a plumber's candle is just a shorter and ...
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1answer
114 views

is “ up on your mountain top” an idiom,

I wanna know whether " up on your mountain top" is an idiom? And if it is, whats its meaning? for example if some one gets on some body case and critisize him/her, if his, her answer is: " up on your ...
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1answer
60 views

Could anyone care less? [duplicate]

I've noticed recently that where in England we say "couldn't care less" in the US the negative is avoided and the phrase becomes "could care less". This is rather jarring because of the contradictory ...
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2answers
52 views

Rising out of its own momentum

The bellow rose and fell, then it blared out one last time, rising out of its own momentum as if it were escaping finally, after centuries of waiting, into silence. The beady night noises closed in ...
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6answers
132 views

Best way to describe “turning ideas into reality”

I'd like to ask if sentence “We accelerate ideas” sounds odd or natural? What is the best word/phrasal to describe transformation of the ideas into reality/real things?
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1answer
121 views

“Go a long way to” + gerund vs infinitive

Which one is correct? If they all are correct, which construction is the most preferable? Why? The fund will go a long way to solving their problem. The fund will go a long way to solve their ...
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1answer
98 views

Could “Hats off!” be insulting in some situations? [closed]

What are true situations and structures to use "Hats off!"? Could this idiom be insulting in some situations?
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3answers
520 views

What is the meaning of the expression “handsome devil”?

I found answers on many web sites and they differed too much so I decided to ask the community. edit I call him the devil because he makes me wanna sin... Urban Dictionary A good-looking ...
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9answers
625 views

What's the English idiom/saying to describe that the chosen word is not correct?

I mean that the word used is too light or too subtle to describe the gravity of the situation? For example (an artificial example): the tsunami starts, the incredibly big waves are coming to the ...
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6answers
1k views

A phrase for “extremely bad luck”

Is there a (short) phrase or idiom meaning that someone had extremely bad luck? In the context of a sports match: as you would have a "perfect game" or the even more specific "perfect hand" (when ...
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2answers
59 views

You're Coming On All-(blank), Coming Over All-(blank)

I'd like to know how widespread these statements are in the UK. In the movie 'In Bruges' Ralph Fiennes says to, a suddenly, soft-sounding Brendan Gleeson (employed as a hit-man by Fiennes): ...
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4answers
166 views

Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
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1answer
178 views

What's a British equivalent to the more American expression 'Kiss my ass'? [closed]

I have the feeling that 'kiss my ass' isn't as widely used in the UK as it is in the US. I'm looking for a more British sounding equivalent.
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1answer
130 views

Is there a word or phrase that means both the answer and the question? [closed]

I am exploring how to create a game that generates metaphors or concepts that could be created outside of a linear thinking of past, present and future. Simultaneous revelations that occur ...
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1answer
46 views

Can an abandoned software project “gather dust”?

I was reading a blog of someone who is trying to emulate Nintendo Gameboy hard- and software as a hobby project. In the oldest post, in the following sentence: I eventually [...] bought myself a ...
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8answers
1k views

What is meant by “same difference”?

Unless you are comparing two different sets of items to then have a couple of differences and the differences are the same, I do not get it. This would be analogous to: 12-9=3, 7-4=3. Here we have ...
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2answers
84 views

Is “right hand of” means right hand of anybody else? [closed]

Idiom meaning of "right hand of" Example. Right hand of GOD.
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1answer
320 views

“silk purses out of a sow's ears”

Yesterday I posted a question(How do expert writers avoid using "I" when they have to refer to themselves in their article?) and received a good yet insult-ish like answer. I'm not a native ...
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3answers
252 views

Does the expression, “As sound as a pound” still holds its currency?

There is the following sentence in the New York Time’s (July 24) article titled, “A Chinese gold standard?” written by its Op-Ed Contributor, Kwasi Kwarteng. “For most of the 19th century the ...
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2answers
80 views

“get a coating”

I recently saw the expression "get a (real) coating" in this book review: Swales, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the only guy who gets a real coating, but only in passing But I just cannot figure ...
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4answers
162 views

Meaning of “that's the idea” [closed]

I read a book in which a character wrote a poem. She told herself I should fix the first part, but that's the idea. What does this mean, "but that's the idea"? Does it mean she should fix ...
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1answer
123 views

Etymology of “throw good money after bad”?

The idiom "throwing good money after bad" refers to spending more money on something problematic that one has already spent money on, in the (presumably futile) hopes of fixing it or recouping one's ...
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2answers
136 views

Where does “flying in the face” come from?

To "fly in the face of" something means to be opposite it, with a particular connotation that is hard to describe. Where does the expression come from?
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3answers
209 views

What does “tearing your résumé apart” mean? [closed]

I gave my résumé to a person and she replied back as follows: When you look at the below list of issues, you’ll probably think I'm tearing your résumé apart. I guess I am, in a way. But, I ...
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3answers
981 views

Why is it “have someone wrapped around your LITTLE finger”?

I just had occasion to write she's got him wrapped around her finger (under complete control). I'd never really thought about this one before, but my guess would have been the idiom had some ...
2
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1answer
1k views

What is the origin of “go suck an egg”?

"Go suck an egg" is a saying typically used similarly to "take a hike" or "piss off": Hey, you going to help me with this or what? Go suck an egg. An few Ngram searches shows that "suck an ...
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3answers
89 views

Does this expression makes sense? [closed]

W : I'm impressed at how expertly you played that piano sonata. M : Sorry. I'm still just an apprentice. When the man says "sorry", what does this exactly mean in this circumstances? Is it ...
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1answer
200 views

What is the origin of 'pale, male and stale'?

The major Cabinet reshuffle of Prime Minister David Cameron this week has been seen by much of the press as an opportunity taken to dispose of ministers who are white, male, middle-aged, middle-class, ...
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1answer
90 views

Meaning of “get off the hammock” [closed]

Is the phrase get off the hammock idiomatic, and what does it mean if it is?
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3answers
87 views

idiom for “if you are not improving, you are deteriorating”

Is there an idiom or expression for "if you are not improving, that means you are deteriorating" Thank you
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1answer
84 views

What is this usage of harrumph?

So this question was just asked and it made me realize I didn't understand what was going on this particular movie scene (Mel Brooks' 1974 Blazing Saddles). Transcript: Governor William J. Le ...
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3answers
94 views

Origin of the phrase 'space case'

Just wondering what the origin of this phrase is. When was it first used and by whom?
2
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3answers
66 views

Word for “quietly accumulating shares of stock by traders when the stock is at a lower price”?

I'm looking for a word or expression that means "the act of quietly accumulating shares of stock by traders when the stock is at a lower price"?
2
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3answers
160 views

Alternatives of 'a snowball's chance in hell'

I am looking for a different, common English idiom that expresses the same thing as a snowball's chance in hell. My teacher says I use this expression too much, and that it is not appropriate for ...
2
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2answers
83 views

“He disagreed with something that ate him.” (spoilers)

In The Living Daylights (a James Bond film), there is a man named Felix Leiter who is [partially] eaten by a shark. The villain writes a paper that says: 'He disagreed with something that ate him.' Is ...
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3answers
156 views

When and where did saying “nice” become so popular?

When one person tells another something good or shows off something they like the other person will often say "nice". For example, "Check out my new car it has so many bells and whistles" -Person ...
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2answers
340 views

What does “those are the breaks” mean?

I remarked to a friend, "It's too bad I have to wake up early," and he responded "those are the breaks." What does this mean? Isn't it a bad thing to wake up late, which would be the opposite of a ...
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3answers
188 views

What is the origin of the phrase “knock-down, drag-out”?

I can find this phrase in a few dictionaries: knock-down, drag-out — marked by extreme violence or bitterness and by the showing of no mercy knock–down, drag–out political debates But I ...
3
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2answers
77 views

Idiom like “His star is shining”

There's an idiom that's on the tip of my tongue, but I don't remember what it is. I remember it as "His star is shining" but I'm not sure that's it, I may be confusing it with something else. it's ...
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2answers
746 views

we are in receipt of something

what does it mean "to be in receipt of something"? I have checked the meaning but have not figured it out fully, since I am a translator I need a literal translation for me to build out a meaningful, ...
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1answer
156 views

Origin of “walking on eggshells”?

Where does the phrase "walking on eggshells" originally come from?
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2answers
445 views

“one of a kind” idiom

This is an official practice question for the SAT Reasoning Test: Along the curve of islands known as the Florida Keys lies a reef of living coral, the only one of a kind in the continental United ...
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1answer
200 views

Using “So” Followed by a Noun Phrase to Express Boredom, Disgust, Tediousness, Dullness, Banality

In the BBC TV series Sherlock’s episode two from series three, “The Empty Hearse", John Watson waxes maudlin over being left out of the loop for two years regarding Sherlock’s faked death. Sherlock ...
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4answers
98 views

is “merablum” or “merablem” a word?

is there a word "merablum"? maybe "merablem"? It means scrap or remnant of food left on a plate. I always thought it was a word but I googled it and - nothing. Is Google unaware of it or is it a made ...