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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3
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3answers
2k views

“Under/straight from the horse's mouth” — etymology?

I'm reading Kim Philby's autobiography, My silent war, where in the early pages he describes an acquaintance as being under the horse's mouth, the proverbial horse being some high-ranking official. ...
2
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2answers
65 views

How should I interpret 'come evening' in this long sentence?

How should I interpret come evening in this long sentence? This ensures that, come evening, you've remembered whether or not you followed through in the morning. This is a new grammar that I ...
4
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2answers
115 views

Idiom for tinkering and then returning to what you had at first?

I'm trying to think of a good idiom/phrase for the process of questioning what you have, tinkering with it and finally returning to what you had at first. Specifically returning accidentally, then ...
1
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4answers
99 views

English idiom, for checking thoroughly before executing, please!

in my language we have " measure 7 times, cut once" meaning one better check, think and plan thoroughly before making any decision or excuting any action. is there any English equivalent? Thank you ...
4
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1answer
522 views

Where does the phrase “neat but not gaudy” come from?

What is the origin of the phrase neat but not gaudy? I’m thinking that it might possibly be from Samuel Wesley or Dorothy Sayers — or, just possibly, from Josephine Tey.
0
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1answer
605 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 song "Monkey": Tonight you will be mine | Tonight the monkey'll die. ...
5
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1answer
58 views

single word or phrase for particular feeling of release

Is there a word that describes when you have a great idea, revolutionary even, and then you find out it has already been done? Or maybe, that feeling - not futility, not Sisyphean - but that wry ...
2
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2answers
15k views

“Through the course” vs. “over the course”

I have heard the following used often Over the course of the semester, ... but a friend recently told me Through the course of the semester, ... Are both of these usages of the idiom ...
0
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3answers
64 views

Idiom for doing trivial things during a crisis [duplicate]

I'm looking for an idiom for when someone will do small, irrelevant tasks during a crisis instead of working to solve the crisis. The focus of the phrase wouldn't be on procrastinating, it would be ...
2
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1answer
46 views

Specific meaning of term “nail-biters” in context of mid-1970s America

The phrase in question revolves around a rather odious quote, so I beseech all reading to please suppress your political leanings and focus instead on the meanings of the phrases employed. In around ...
2
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3answers
11k 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 ...
0
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1answer
104 views

help to find a taboo equivalent

Excuse me for what you are going to read now. If you don't accept the taboo lexics, please don't read this. There is a taboo phrase in Russian: "ебись оно всё конём" /jebis ono vsjo konjom/ which ...
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1answer
47 views

Term for two people doing something thinking it pleases the other

Is there a term or an idiom for a situation where two (or more people) are doing something only because they think the other person wants it. They themselves may dislike or be neutral about it. An ...
0
votes
1answer
213 views

what does “there was wild talk” mean?

Can anyone help me to describe the meaning of using "There was wild talk about the end of history" in the context below ? (what does "wild talk" mean exactly?) Context With the Cold War over, there ...
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2answers
1k views

What does “life plays tricks on him” mean?

What does this statement mean? Life plays tricks on him. Is it similar to He has a twisted fate.
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18answers
1k views

Idioms for a 'obvious' or 'needs no explanation'

I need to find an idiom for the following situation. I am talking to the HR department about a particular policy. I did not know about the policy beforehand and HR had never explained it to me. For ...
6
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9answers
351 views

Idiom or Expression related to Nepotism

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that relates to someone who is promoted to get them out of a department because they can't be fired due to politics, possibly nepotism. The promotion is not ...
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3answers
135 views

Idiom Question: “And no money is spent by the dead.”

I'm actually a native English speaker that can't seem to figure this one out, nor can I find it online. Unfortunately, I can't really give context: it's in pretty convoluted academic writing in a very ...
1
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2answers
91 views

What does it mean “ticket puncher” in this sentence?

Mature ticket-punchers are more "adult" or specialized in their interests; Tend to do OK academically but socially they subsist outside the mainstream (they ask less and add less). Here is the link ...
2
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2answers
50 views

Sentence phrasing 'Please don't punish/scold/penalize' [closed]

Situation: I technician came to my house for installation/demo or Refrigerator. He was good but forgot to install a 'rat mesh' ( protect machine from rats). I called customer care to inform the ...
0
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0answers
18 views

“ever in revolt” and its grammatical role in the sentence

"It freezes the water to prevent it running to the sea; it drives the sap out of the trees till they are frozen to their mighty hearts; and most ferociously and terribly of all does the Wild harry and ...
0
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1answer
35 views

What's the meaning of the idiom “on such accounts”? [closed]

Example usage in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_(psychology) A similar understanding developed in Cultural Studies of Science: "Cultural studies thereby articulate dynamic, expressive ...
0
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1answer
53 views

What means “wolf-call” in context of dating? [closed]

On Hacker News user bertil wrote interesting comment (bold mine): The idea that a meeting is a date or not has to be clarified. You can’t just have a drink with a colleague, and let the romantic ...
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7answers
9k views

What is the origin of the phrase “needle in a hay stack”?

What is the origin of the phrase "needle in a hay stack"? Initially I thought it was a game once played but I haven't found any mention of it outside of it's idiomatic use.
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4answers
88 views

Slang or idiom for someone who wants to gain weight or bulk up

What is a more colourful way of saying someone who wants to gain weight, increase their muscle size by going to the gym? He has been regularly visiting the gym in hopes of ___ Can I say ...
0
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4answers
13k views

is there anything wrong with “from my perspective” [closed]

Is the expression "from my perspective" good English? I was always under the impression that "perspective" refers to what someone else can see (i.e. a third person), and that if you wanted to refer to ...
1
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5answers
173 views

What does the idiom “That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise” mean?

I just watched the movie The apartment (by Billy Wilder, 1960) and hear the main character say: That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise I kind of understand it as "that's life", as someone would ...
0
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1answer
100 views

How to ask properly: “how grave a mistake is”? [closed]

I Googled the following sentence: “how serious is the mistake” and it produced only 5 hits! Does it mean the sentence is ungrammatical? I then tried Googling “how serious is the error” and only got ...
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3answers
84 views

What to say to express mild sympathy? [closed]

A friend says "I got the flu so I can't hang out". I want to express sympathy that they're sick, rather than disappointment about not hanging out. Do I say... "I'm sorry" (but I didn't do anything ...
9
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3answers
368 views

Since when has “wallflower” been used to refer to men?

Dictionaries these days define wallflower as a shy or unpopular person not dancing at a party (see Merriam-Webster for instance). Etymonline says the first recorded use of the word in this sense was ...
2
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0answers
49 views

“To walk on the rocks for somebody” meaning + 100 stiches [closed]

I'm working on subtitles translation and I encountered the following phrase: Dear god, I walked on the rocks for you today. I hope you're taking good care of Don... I've tried to find out what ...
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0answers
79 views

What is the meaning when someone say “it doesn't get much weird than Lynda?”

Lynda made a dance performance, it's very weird and many audiences couldn't understand it. Then a guy made a comment "It doesn't get much weird than Lynda?". What does he mean ? Is that "Lynda is ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the source of “Long time no see,” and when did it enter U.S. English?

A question from almost two years ago asked "In which countries is that “long time no see” greeting common?" The question drew a number of answers that were squarely on point, but also a couple that ...
3
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4answers
110 views

Idioms for people who are tight with money [closed]

Is there an idiom which describes a person who is tight with his/her money, never wants to chip in or treat themselves or others and worries too much about money.
1
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1answer
42 views

What's the meaning of the “rather as though” in this example?

As I was reading on the Internet, I came across this: Even if they want to have it, they can't. It is rather as though, over an immense range of intellectual experience, a whole group was ...
2
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5answers
7k views

Is there an idiom beginning “when a dog is cornered”?

Is there any saying in a complete sentence including “a dog which is cornered”? I have tried to find a complete one, but there seems to be no one. Actually, what I want to know is how to explain the ...
1
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0answers
43 views

“Set of the day” and “this is my line” [closed]

For those who watched Point Break , I fished out two idioms I haven't met before. The set of the day. Context: two guys are surfing, one of them points out a big wave and says: 'It is the set ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

What does being back to something mean?

What does the phrase "Now it's back to all the brightness, and everything I hate" mean? (Riddicks s dialogue in The Chronicles of Riddicks movie) ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Common Expression for Coming Together [closed]

Is there a common expression to describe a situation where everything comes together perfectly? UPDATE: The phrase that kept going through my head was "perfect storm," but that holds more of a ...
2
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3answers
627 views

Can “take fruit in” something mean you enjoy it?

Consider to take fruit in something For example: I take fruit in my life. I feel like I have heard this term used before, but because I couldn't find an example with Google, I wanted to ...
12
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11answers
656 views

Phrase or idiom for someone that is overspecialized

If I have a friend that spreads their interests too thin, gathering a large body of superficial knowledge related to many topics, I'd probably use the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" to ...
18
votes
4answers
11k views

Answering the question: Do you mind if…?

The following always puzzles me as a non-native speaker. When somebody asks the question "Do you mind if...", there seem to be two possible responses. "Sure" and "No, not at all", which both mean ...
1
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2answers
72 views

Is the following a well-known idiom? “The legal team buried them in paper” [closed]

Slang Legal Terms I have heard the expression in movies but it is not represented as an idiom in computer searches. I want to use it in a legal case in which I am involved A similar question occurs ...
1
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1answer
36 views

The correct preposition with “Google play store” and “Google” [closed]

I'm a bit confused about using the correct preposition in the following sentences. Which one sounds correct? On the Google play store In the Google play store What about the ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Does “carnival barker” mean the opposite of “barker”?

I saw the following line in an article in Forbes (April 27) dealing with President Obama’s release of his long-form birth certificate: "We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get ...
8
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5answers
14k views

Meaning of “harsh mistress”

What does harsh mistress mean in this sentence? Nostalgia can be a harsh mistress.
5
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3answers
5k views

“Get out of your own head”

Get out of your own head How do I get out of my own head. Kindly explain this idiom!
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6answers
5k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
2
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it right 'up' your alley or right 'down' your alley?

What is the more appropriate term for this idiom, up or down? Right ____ your alley. According to this idiom site, either are in use, but I would like to get the opinion of this erudite crowd. ...
11
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5answers
817 views

Is this contraction of 'there is' acceptable to native speakers of English?

In the Slate article, The Curse of “You May Also Like”, the following sentence has a contraction of there is that doesn't sit well with my ear for American or British English. I wonder whether any of ...