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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5answers
1k views

Pessimism idiom - opposite of rose-tinted glasses?

In Hebrew, we say "pink glasses" to mean optimistic observation, and "black glasses" for pessimism. I was trying to figure out how popular the literal translations are in English. I found "rose-tinted ...
2
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5answers
173 views

phrase for being prepared for a potential challenge

There is a phrase in Malay that goes "prepare an umbrella before the rain", meaning one must be prudent and proactive of future challenges by making all the preparations necessary. I would like the ...
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2answers
28k views

Where does the phrase “to get on like a house on fire” come from?

Where does the phrase "to get on like a house on fire" come from? (Meaning "to immediately get on very well with someone", particularly a new acquaintance.) It's quite common here in the UK, but even ...
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18answers
30k views

Idiom, word, or expression meaning an easy-to-do task

I am looking for a term, expression, word, or idiom to describe a task as an easy one to do or to go through. What I’d normally say is: Actually it’s not difficult, it’s as easy as drinking a ...
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1answer
81 views

How to say “in the strict … of the term”?

I am not quite sure if the following expression makes sense in English: in the strict meaning of the term Is it right? Should the word meaning be replaced by sense? The meaning of the phrase ...
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1answer
81 views

“Paper never refused ink” - has any one heard a more modern/online version?

I'd imagine most of us have heard of the phrase "paper never refused ink", roughly meaning "they'll" print anything. Can anybody think of a more modern/online version?
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7answers
580 views

The statues were unheralded for almost a century - a better idiom/phrase

British experts found two rare bronze statues crafted by Michelangelo. What idiom or phrase can describe either the state or the period for which the invaluable piece of art remained hidden from ...
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1answer
107 views

Meaning of 'head screwed tightly to one's shoulders' [closed]

I came across a comment on The Economist article about hardships people working on lower wages or living off disability payments face. In one of the comments, one commentator narrates a story of a ...
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1answer
746 views

Why not “on a street”? [closed]

Why do people say "I met him on the street" instead of "on a street", even though they're talking about a street for the first time and another person doesn't know what exact street they mean?
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10answers
1k views

Idiom for restlessness

A Chinese colleague just told me of a Chinese idiom for anxiousness or restlessness. They will often refer to someone who is overly restless as an ant standing on a heated pot. I'm pretty sure there ...
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2answers
118 views

Is the idiom “cotton to” still heard in parts and, if so, where?

To "cotton to" is an idiom born of the cotton industry, meaning to get to know or understand something. In the textile industry, when a fiber cottons, it does a good job of blending in with other ...
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10answers
23k views

Indirectly saying “I love you”

I want tell to someone "I love you", but not in that manner (indirectly but to get that idea). How can I do it in a modern way?
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1answer
32 views

What is the correct term in English prose for HTML page or html page?

I've seen prose referring to HTML pages and html pages. What is the correct English written description (assuming in modern English - in a written technical book) for an html page? Open the HTML ...
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0answers
24 views

Singular or plural verbs with idioms that start with singular articles [duplicate]

I wonder which verb form, singular or plural, is grammatically correct in the following sentence: "Education and welfare is/are a matter of concern to us."
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3answers
44k views

What's the etymology of “when the sh*t hits the fan”?

Where did this come from? It makes no sense to me...why is the shit even near the fan?
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3answers
51 views

You can only do so many of them

I heard this one in a documentary about foot fetish. The woman who produces fetish videos says: A lot men like feet. But you can only do so many of them. What does this mean? I googled but ...
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5answers
3k views

What is the origin of being “in the pudding club”?

Being "in the pudding club" seems to mean "being pregnant" in British English. What is the origin/etymology of this phrase? Where is it used nowadays?
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4answers
3k views

Do 'learn by heart' & 'learn by rote' mean the same?

Here in India, both the phrases learning by heart and learning by rote are taken to have the same meaning, i.e., blind memorisation without true understanding. However, some sources say that to ...
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2answers
83 views

Are idioms impervious to grammatical rules?

I heard someone on the radio this morning who was talking about some interest rate say, "[such and such an interest rate] will remain at one point two percent, in other words: low." Since "low" is ...
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6answers
103 views

Long trip for small reward?

There's a German idiom (I think) for a long trip for a small reward. For example, driving from New York to Boston to buy a roast beef sandwich. Has a connotation of taking a trip for the trip's sake. ...
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6answers
3k views

What does “stand to” mean in the sentence, “China’s Health Ministry stands to profit from the industry’s growth?”

I found the following sentence in an archive of the Financial Times articles dated August 29, 2007, which was titled “Chinese? Don’t get ill.” “The problems of the health system are tangled up in the ...
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11answers
1k views

Idiom for being stubborn about an opinion

Is there an idiom for the action when someone holds tightly onto his opinion? Like you keep to try convincing that person again and again but he keeps that opinion? I made some research but I ...
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votes
4answers
23k views

“Time is of the essence”… of what?

I'm having a hard time understanding the purpose or meaning of the definite article, the in the common phrase, Time is of the essence. My first thought is that it refers to the task that is ...
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2answers
89k views

Which is correct: “rack my brain” or “wrack my brain”?

Which is the correct usage: "rack my brain" or "wrack my brain"? Google turned up pages with conflicting recommendations. One argument is that to "rack a brain" comes from the torture device known ...
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4answers
8k views

What is this idiom: “I'm going to start taking names and…”?

There is some idiom that starts out like, "I'm going to start taking names and..." I can't remember the rest of it. What is it and when is it used?
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2answers
3k views

Have you a beef with me?

This is a curious idiomatic expression that I love. Is it more British or US in usage? But mostly, where does this "beef" come from?
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3answers
123k views
6
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3answers
588 views

Asking for an idiom according to literal translation

I translated a sentence into English: When the details are ignored, the whole problem will be ignored unintentionally Seems like a logical sentence that says when you don't consider all details ...
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3answers
52 views

What is the word or idiom equivalent to henpecked?

This is the meaning of hen-pecked from urban dictionary: When a male complies to ever single demand of his girlfriend or wife, and the female is in complete control of her man. A hen-pecked male will ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

What's the meaning of “mean” in “in the mean time”?

As I understand it "in the mean time" means "in the time between now & a specific future occurrence." What's the meaning of "mean" here? I assume it has something to do with "average" but it's ...
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vote
3answers
91 views

Idiom for: managing to solve a big problem only to be frustrated by a smaller problem

What would be an idiom for solving a massive problem and then only getting hindered by a small problem? So after solving a hard problem, getting stopped by the easy problem. It would not be: out of ...
2
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1answer
4k views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
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2answers
71 views

Idiom or phrase meaning

I can not find the meaning of this phrase: perished of fits. What does it mean? It is an idiom? Thanks for help and understanding.
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3answers
160 views

What's a good adjective or phrase to describe your feeling when confronted with absurdity? [closed]

Say, you're supposed to be very angry at something but the situation is SO ABSURD that it becomes funny and you end up laughing at it instead. It cannot be having mixed or ambivalent feelings about ...
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1answer
80 views

What does “to give a buck about” mean?

What does the expression to give a buck about mean? I could not find the definition of that expression in my dictionaries. I think it shows a lack of interest about something. Am I wrong?
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3answers
332 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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vote
1answer
106 views

What is the meaning of “He's got his quiver full”?

It was part of a dialogue I read some time ago: A. "His wife is pregnant again." B. "Really? He's got his quiver full, hasn't he?" A. "He has, and I tell you, he should know better." ...
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0answers
57 views
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2answers
1k views

Upset the apple cart meaning

I'm 32 and today was the first time I've heard the expression 'upset the apple cart' used. It was on reddit and the context was: "Once again, my colleague Stephen Hawking has upset the apple cart. ...
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2answers
10k views

what is the origin of the phrase “a penny for your thoughts”?

Googling for the origin of "A penny for your thoughts," I have only found the origin of a likely-related phrase "my two cents" and simple dictionary entries for "a penny for your thoughts." What is ...
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1answer
61 views

What does it mean ?

I am learning English, but I am not familiar with idioms. Could somebody explain me in plain English what does it mean "I will need to come back to you on this request."
0
votes
1answer
128 views

Is there an idiom about “dying monkey”?

is there an idiom sounding like "monkey dies" or "monkeys died"? What does it mean? I've been wondering since I heard Robert Plant's song "Monkey": Tonight you will be mine | Tonight the monkey'll ...
10
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2answers
16k views

Origin of “to have a cow”

The phrase "to have a cow" is defined as "to be very worried, upset, or angry about something" in Free Dictionary Online. Other sources also define it to mean to react very strongly and emotionally. ...
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4answers
2k views

Is the phrase “move over” an official English idiom? And if so, is it only in American English?

Is the phrase "move over" an official English idiom known worldwide? I would like to know: Is it an official English idiom (not slang or colloquial)? Is it known outside of the US (e.g. in the UK, ...
10
votes
4answers
9k views

“She is gone” versus “she has gone”

When should I say "She is gone", and when should I say "She has gone" (and why)? I think that when I mean "She went away and she's still there", it should be "She has gone". Are there exceptions ...
4
votes
4answers
141 views

Idiom for preparing very very thoroughly. ( take a lot of stuff for doing smth)

In Russian we have: Why did you take a lot of clothes and equipment? Are going to go to war? But what about English idiom?
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4answers
4k views

What does “enough” mean in expressions like “Fair enough” or “Funny enough”?

As a non-native speaker, I already get used to the word enough in expressions like those below, but I sometimes still got confused of it. It makes me wonder what it actually means and where does it ...
2
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4answers
150 views

Is there any saying or idiom equivalent to: “Hold your own hat, so the wind don’t blow it away?”

This saying refers to an individual who is not in a stable situation themselves, and worries about other people's problems. Please give me the English/American equivalent.
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5answers
1k views

Does the phrase “begging the question” make any sense?

I know what "begging the question" originally means, but I just can't make any sense of the idiom. The phrase really seems to have nothing to do with its own meaning. The original Latin phrase, ...
2
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4answers
11k views

Why is “bloody hell” offensive or shocking?

It seems to me that if one describes hell as 'bloody', that is simply describing one of the properties you'd expect of it. So, why is 'bloody hell' used as an offensive or shocking phrase?