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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How to use the expression “loser hands”? [closed]

I heard sentences which involved the expression "loser hands", e.g. "this is one of the loser hands" (with reference to some concept which someone had expressed perplexity about). Which is the ...
15
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1answer
2k views

Meaning of “Carrots aren't that great” in the sentence

I was reading "10 hurdles to Windows 10 adoption". In slide 12, there's this paragraph: I still think it’s smartest for Windows 7 customers to stand pat, unless they see something in Windows 10 ...
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4answers
831 views

Construction of to cheat

I am not a native speaker and I would like to write a sentence using the verb "to cheat on". The situation I want to describe is that someone (Mr X) has lied to someone else (Mr Y) convincing Mr Y to ...
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3answers
6k 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 ...
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2answers
57 views

Idiom to refer to something necessary but harmful [closed]

I want to know whether there is any phrase that corresponds to the following situation: I have to use computer in order to finish my day to day work. And it is affecting my health. But the catch is I ...
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1answer
54 views

A phrase meaning that something became not so important compared to something else [closed]

I'm working on the translation of the article from Polish to English. It literally says "The discussion on the origin of the languages pales/blanches compared to the basic debate the linguists are ...
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4answers
22k views

Is “kicking ass and taking names” an offshoot of an older idiom?

Is this idiom an offshoot of an older idiom? I have heard something that sounds similar to this, but the words were slightly different.
3
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1answer
151 views

What does “go on floors” really mean?

When reading movie magazines or news I come across lines like the below: Mr. A's new film goes on floors next month. The actors 2 movies are going on floors later this year. One can ...
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1answer
161 views

Where does the phrase “wild horses won't keep me away” come from

I've heard the phrase "wild horses won't keep me away", as is if wild horses were dragging me away, I wouldn't be kept from going where I was going. Where does this come from?
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1answer
128 views

'not fool enough to dance on the old strings', is it an idiom? This phrase is from 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells

In the book of 'The Invisible Man' by Wells, there is this sentence; "Kemp, you're not fool enough to dance on the old strings. Can't you see my position?" In this particular scene, Griffin(the ...
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1answer
49 views

what does “showing the fly the way out of the fly-bottle” literally means?

I saw this expression: "the aim of the activity is "to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle". " (It is connected with this other expression: "I don't know my way about".) I grasped the ...
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2answers
3k views

expression of the form “I wouldn't trust them with X”

The following expressions are idiomatic: 1) "I wouldn't touch Z with a 10-foot pole", meaning the speaker wouldn't want to be involved with Z in any way. 2) "S couldn't find his way out of a paper ...
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3answers
11k views

Meaning of “herding the cats”

What is the meaning of the phrase herding the cats? I've found one description on Wikipedia but it is not clear enough.
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2answers
29k views

What is the correct meaning of “held up” here?

Is it grammatically correct to use the phrase "held up" in the following sense? "I got held up with some other work", or "Let's reschedule the meeting. Looks like you got held up."
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1answer
79 views

“roll the tape”

I need to translate this sentence : "I am going to roll the tape of what she is talking." However, I don't get what does it indicate? what is the meaning of "roll the tape"? Does it mean to ignore ...
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3answers
186 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

“Don't S**t Where You Eat”

The idiom "Don't shit/defecate where you eat" means: One should not cause trouble in a place, group, or situation in which one regularly finds oneself. [Wiktionary] I always understood what ...
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2answers
67 views

“ Water under the fridge ”

I was watching dumb and dumber ,and Lloyd said "Water under the fridge" instead of "Water under the bridge" ( That's all water under the fridge now, Har. Think of the bright side. You're finally ...
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4answers
92 views

Questions on “Like father, like son” [duplicate]

I have a few questions on this phrase "Like father, like son". Is it an idiom or a proverb? Or both? Can it be analysed grammatically? If the answer is "Yes", can you analyse it grammatically for ...
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1answer
28 views

Stake a claim in / on / to?

Which preposition should I use with the idiom "stake a claim"? I thought it was "in," but apparently "on" also exists and some online dictionaries have "to" too. For example: Many homesteaders ...
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18answers
992 views

Idiom: Unknown, hidden problems

We're programmers. Overheard snatch of conversation between co-worker and boss (cleaned up): Yes, we can certainly look into this new technology, but who knows what reefs await us? After the ...
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8answers
30k views

Can “your reputation precedes you” be used as a negative statement?

I have always considered "your reputation precedes you" as a gesture of complement and respect. However it occurred to me if it is possible to use it for a notorious person with a bad reputation? ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do we do things 'to the tune of' an amount of money?

A common idiom in English is that something is done "to the tune of" an amount of money, eg. The company profited to the tune of $5 million. This idiom is almost always used with a monetary ...
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2answers
167 views

I have a bodyguard in order to protect myself

I have a bodyguard in order to protect myself. I was told that I cannot have a stative verb in the required condition: I have a bodyguard But I don't understand how "I need to study in ...
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2answers
64 views

What makes cliche a useful distinct term as compared to idiom

Some context: I wondered about the distinction between cliche and idiom as seen by EL&U.SE and posted a question on meta (Where does EnglishLanguage.SE draw the line between cliche and idiom) ...
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2answers
394 views

Two left thumbs / Two left hands / two left feet

I know there is an idiom 'all thumbs' and 'to have two left feet', but is there an idiom with the same meaning as 'all thumbs'? As in 'to have two left thumbs'? There is a similar idiom in Polish, ...
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1answer
783 views

What is the (explicit) meaning of “Till daddy takes the t-bird away”

I first heard this in an audio-book. I do understand the implicit meaning but I always wondered what this really means and the background of this phrase. I have tried searching the Internet but all I ...
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1answer
48 views

What does “fall into history” mean in this context?

I couldn't figure this sentences out, because of the "falls into history" expression. It's an academic article, I thought maybe it doesn't me "to be forgotten" like in the song. Would someone please ...
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6answers
82k views

“Clean as a whistle” — why is a whistle considered appropriate for describing cleanliness?

Every time I hear this idiom, I cogitate to no avail as to its sense. Why is it a whistle, and not a lantern, or an axe?
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3answers
15k views

Function of “too” in the phrase “so too” or “so, too,”

I just ran into this sentence in an online article: But as the App Store’s fortunes rose, so too did the iPhone’s, and later the iPad’s. If I were editing that sentence, I would remove the too ...
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3answers
5k views

If you say in English: wear the pants in a relationship, then can you also say wear the skirt in a relationship?

What I mean is: if the person wearing the pants assumes a masculine/dominant role, then can we say someone assumes a feminine/submissive role by saying they wear a skirt in a relationship? Especially ...
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1answer
47 views

What does the idiom “this is in hand” mean? [closed]

I saw this as a reply to someone's enquiry of a work status. "This is in hand and will be completed prior to the move rest assured." What is the meaning of 'in hand' here?
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2answers
39 views

informal word for a money manager

Imagine there's a group of friends and they're on a trip or on vacation. They're not going to chip in for every single spending; instead, a certain person shells out for everything throughout and when ...
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5answers
2k views

An idiom for taking advantage of something which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place

Can someone suggest an idiom which means - taking advantage of something, which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place? I know this isn't clear, but it's something like - Shooting a ...
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20answers
7k views

Alternative expression for “xyz Nazi”

I'm not a native English speaker, but I do understand and personally appreciate the use of the term "xyz Nazi" to say that someone is a bit dogmatic about their point of view, without necessarily ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “she was deploying her famous pipes” mean?

I'm stuck with the precise meaning of the following phrase I read on the Web: "When she took the stage at the Grammy Awards this year, things were no different — except that she was deploying her ...
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2answers
2k views

Looking for an idiom regarding trust

In my country, we have an idiom which literally means : people will not trust you ever again if you don't keep your word even just for once Are there any idioms in English that is close enough to ...
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2answers
226 views

What does “side four” mean?

I recently saw this sentence by Lou Reed: Anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am. On Flavorwire: "The Funniest and Meanest Things Bands Have Said About Their Fans" What does "side ...
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2answers
903 views

Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?

I frequently see bumper stickers with quotations attributed to Mother Teresa that begin with the words "It is a poverty," for example: It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that ...
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4answers
16k views

What does “clutching at straws” mean? [closed]

In the following context: I'm clutching at straws here. I'm trying to imagine how a woman could fail to be offended by being called a "hole". What's meant by "clutching at straws"?
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0answers
32 views

Is it “We consider A and B as equal” or “We consider A and B to be equal”? [duplicate]

In usage such as "we consider a label and a tag (as / to be) equal", or "we consider a 'yes' or a 'nod' (as / to be) equal", should we say: We consider A and B as equal. A and B are considered as ...
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2answers
80 views

Comforting/encouraging English idiom meaning 'it's not that bad'/'it's not all bad'

I have been told this by an unknown man on the street a few years ago, when I was looking particularly sad. It was something that meant to say 'it's not all bad, cheer up', and it either contained ...
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5answers
7k views

Is saying “sh*t happens” ok?

Three questions: Is it appropriate to say "shit happens"? I mean isn't it obscene? When is it appropriate to say "shit happens" and when not? Is it always obscene or it can be used in some ...
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3answers
6k views

Origin of the saying 'eyes like pissholes in the snow'

What is the origin of the phrase eyes like pissholes in the snow?
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2answers
8k views

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back

I came across this piece: The old saying “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” may not apply to sidewalks for much longer now that MIT researchers have figured out why concrete breaks ...
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3answers
112 views

The meaning of the idiom “pin one's hat on something”

HINOJOSA: And how they got there is the reason why the Kohn family is now part of a national scientific study to locate a gene for longevity. DR. TOM PERLS, CENTAGENETIX: We started off ...
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1answer
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Tip of the iceberg

Did I use this idiom incorrectly? I'll never forget seeing your beautiful face, but that's just the tip of the iceberg of what makes you a one-of-a-kind beauty. It's for an English paper. ...
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1answer
91 views

Subtle version of “Curtains match the carpet” [closed]

The idiom "the curtains match the carpet" -- also heard the other way around and, in American English, swapping in "drapes" and "rug", respectively; I think I've also heard it with "collar" and ...
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3answers
1k views

Are they “in a good mood“ or ”in good moods"?

Just now I was walking my dogs down S St. in Sacramento. We were gaining on a woman walking in front of us, when she turned around to see who was behind her. "Sorry," I said. "We aren't going to ...
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2answers
786 views

crawl in a hole and pull it in after me

This phrase occurs surprisingly frequently. I assume, based on contexts, that it means roughly 'I am so embarrassed'. What I wonder is what it is that 'it' refers to. What is to be pulled in? Any ...