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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-2
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2answers
56 views

little thud, thud, tap, tap

What do you mean or express by this expression Sometimes you'll get a little thud, thud, tap, tap I tried to translate "..thud, thud, tap, tap" and failed!
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Origin of the phrase “because of course it does”

I've been hearing "because of course it/he/she does" a lot recently. I'm assuming this is internet-speak, but maybe it's older? Grateful to anyone who can help pinpoint its origin.
1
vote
6answers
174 views

Idiom for “something is not as bad as they say”

I am looking for the way to translate the Russian saying that goes something like this " the Devil is not as dangerous as he was described, or, in direct translation, painted". Please help! I look ...
2
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1answer
79 views

What is the etymology of “You don't look too clever”

In BrEng, at least in the North, there is an idiom: "You don't look too clever." which means "You're looking quite ill." Does anybody know the etymology of this idiom please?
1
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3answers
2k 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. ...
6
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12answers
1k views

Idiom for describing an unintended benefit

I am looking for an idiom to describe an unintended benefit that results due to an action taken.
2
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1answer
60 views

Plural of 'rush hour'

Can I use 'rush hours' in the sentence 'Can you sustain load during rush hours?'? Or should I say 'rush hour' in this context?
2
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1answer
85 views

is “up *something*!” an idiom?

I overheard someone say "up something!" wherein something is a variable for... whatever. Is this an English language idiom? If so, in what dialect of English? What are some examples of it's usage? ...
-3
votes
3answers
360 views

Idiom about a chicken or not?

I faced this phrase when the author of the blog post titled The Future Of Lisp wanted to show that nothing is clear: "What, when, why and where did my chicken go?" What does this phrase mean? Is it ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Is there a word/phrase/idiom for temporarily satisfying strong feeling of hunger?

Imagine a situation where you've been invited to dinner at a friend's place. You're extremely hungry but you learn that the dinner won't be ready for another half an hour. So you decide to eat an ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Ability to reason and mental agility

I want to say that math improves the 'ability to reason' and 'elasticity of mind'. This is what I would say in my language (Italian). After a Google search I see that 'ability of reason' is an ...
1
vote
1answer
376 views

“I'll be sure to do something” vs “I'll for sure do something”

I'm not a native speaker but work in an English-speaking international environment. One American guy wrote me: I'll be sure to let you know We at our company usually say: I'll for sure let ...
11
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2answers
5k views

What is the origin of the phrase “you've got another thing/think coming”?

What is the origin of the phrase "you've got another thing coming"? And — perhaps more importantly — is it more correct than the alternative "you've got another think coming"?
6
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2answers
3k views

Where / how did the term “sell them down the river” originate?

In a meeting today a colleague used the phrase, "We don't want to sell them down the river." It is my understanding that to sell one down the river is to trick or deceive a person in order to gain ...
3
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
290 views

Why “a” bow and arrow?

Anyone who's watched CW's Arrow would recognize this line immediately: They've got guns. You've got a bow and arrow. They never say a bow and arrows. They never say a bow and an arrow. They say ...
7
votes
8answers
2k views

What does “too on the nose” mean?

What does "too on the nose" mean, especially as applied to art? I use the expression but struggle to explicitly articulate what I mean. My best attempt is that I use it to refer to film, music, etc. ...
1
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2answers
542 views

What does “throw a wrinkle” mean?

What does "throw a wrinkle" mean? Example: "I’ve got a conversation with Jacob later today that may throw a wrinkle in…"
2
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3answers
111 views

What does “face as sharp as a pen” mean?

I am reading a text and there is a phrase which I don't know the meaning of: His face was as sharp as a pen. What does it mean?
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Is “It's not a second, seven seconds away” a kind of idiom in English? [closed]

Is "it's not a second, seven seconds away" a kind of idiom in English? What is its meaning? I am trying to make sense of the chorus in "7 seconds" by Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry and I just can't ...
7
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8answers
3k views

What's the origin of “rob someone blind”?

To rob someone blind either means to steal freely from them, or to overcharge them: Fig. to steal freely from someone. Her maid was robbing her blind. I don't want them to rob me blind. Keep an ...
2
votes
0answers
103 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
-1
votes
3answers
228 views

“Thanks, my lovelies!” [closed]

I was looking for a phrase to thank multiple people. It's supposed to be an endearment for friends but not super close friends. Is this an appropriate reply to compliments or birthday wishes, e.g. on ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

I've just had a cup: is it correct?

Is it correct to say like this? "Would you like some tea?" "Thank you, but I've just had a cup" Would it be more idiomatic to say had one? Or both options are wrong? If so, how would you ...
1
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1answer
108 views

Where did the expression “falling down on the job” come from?

What is the origin of falling down on the job? What did it originally mean?
15
votes
5answers
7k views

Origin of “Put up your dukes”

This link claims that one cannot be sure of origin of this phrase. Three explanations are given here, but they are not very convincing (I am not a native speaker). In one of our newspapers, ...
2
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4answers
8k views

“Have got” — verb form and tense

In the following sentence, what is the main verb and in what tense does it occur? I have got a car. There are two possible explanations that I can think of: get as the main verb in the present ...
7
votes
10answers
971 views

Is there any saying or idiom to describe the opposite of “blessing in disguise”?

Something that looks like a good thing at first, but has unforeseen bad consequences. For instance, while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What does “Picadillo” mean

I've heard expressions such as "He's had his picadillos" or "The Picadillos of his youth". But I can't seem to find any definitions on google (Maybe I'm just spelling it wrong? haha), only examples ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Synonyms for “big deal”

I have read on The Free Dictionary that the expression big deal may be used as an interjection to answer ironically "to indicate that something is unimportant or unimpressive". If it is the case, what ...
0
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1answer
37 views

aimless milling [closed]

"Prices in trading ranges go nowhere, just as crowds spend most of their time in aimless milling." What does aimless milling mean here? I don't think it means its literal meaning.
1
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2answers
1k views

Which is the correct idiom: “Force of habit” or “course of habit”?

Which is correct, "course of habit" or "force of habit"? (This question is inspired by this post on the woot forums.)
1
vote
1answer
12k views

Which is correct: “as good as possible” or “as best as possible”?

Which one is the correct expression: as good as possible as best as possible Both were suggested to be used in the following sentence: The activity has been performed as good/best as ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Difference between “Putting in one's papers” and “Putting down one's papers”

I have come across these two phrases and both appear to mean almost the same. As mentioned here: Putting in one's paper means voluntary separation from employment. and as I read here: ...
0
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2answers
148 views

A word for an amused surprise?

You tell your friend about a person's funny habit and that person shows it right away without knowing. You tell your friend "See!". You are surprised but you were right. What is the verb for that kind ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of “bite the bullet”

I just learnt about the expression "to bite the bullet", meaning Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude (as seen in its article in phrases.org). I have ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Synonyms for “speak of the devil [and he doth/shall appear]”

Specifically, I'm looking for something that would fit in the same situation, but I need a less negative connotation. Saying that when my Dad, for instance, walks into the room while I'm talking about ...
2
votes
2answers
69 views

Suitable idiom for a situation, where one thinks that by getting rid of the effect, one has gotten rid of the cause

Suitable idiom needed for describing a situation, where one thinks that by getting rid of an unwanted effect, one has gotten rid of its cause, while in reality the cause remains and will start to ...
1
vote
3answers
166 views

Priscilla = a girl who prefers to stay home: who might this term have been based on?

From Flappers to Rappers, a book of American youth slang, records "Priscilla" as a 1920s slang word for a girl who prefers to stay home. I'm curious to know why the author chose that name. Is there a ...
16
votes
13answers
2k views

What is the English version of the Vietnamese idiom “như cá nằm trên thớt” - “like a fish on cutting board”

We have a Vietnamese idiom, "như cá nằm trên thớt" - literally, "like a fish on cutting board". My apology for the rough translation because I regard myself as an English learner who is above the ...
3
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What's the origin of the idiom “miss the boat”?

What is the origin of the idiom miss the boat? This is the definition of the idiom from Dictionary.com: a. to fail to take advantage of an opportunity: He missed the boat when he applied too late ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does 'swings and roundabouts' mean 'gains and losses that offset each other'?

I know "swings and roundabouts" means "gains and losses that offset each other", but I can't understand. Any story behind this?
3
votes
3answers
10k views

When is it appropriate to use “see you later”?

Most of the references I found online simply note that "see you later" is a farewell or parting phrase but nothing discussed when it is appropriate to use the phrase. Is it acceptable to use "see you ...
1
vote
4answers
9k views

What's the meaning of “a class act”?

What does the term "class act" mean? For example, The club is lucky to have such a class act and he is lucky to have the club. What does "class" and "act" mean respectively in this set phrase or word ...
1
vote
3answers
118 views

One word for someone “excessively sentimental” in everything [closed]

Someone who makes you sick with his sentimental blabber. I have a colleague who cribs and complains at almost everything. He would always get sentimental while describing his misadventures or ...
2
votes
2answers
254 views

Why do we say kith & kin and not kin & kith?

Why do we often say Kith & Kin and not Kin & Kith? I was taught to believe that family comes first and the other later and I do still believe in what I was taught.
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Origin of “It's been a slice”

What is the origin of the phrase "it's been a slice"? I understand its meaning, but cannot find any listing of its origin, or possibly to what specifically "a slice" is referring.
5
votes
10answers
352 views

What's an idiom or word or name for an initial tester?

What would be an idiom or word or name for someone that is an initial tester (like a beta tester). I am writing a speech for my younger brother's engagement and want to say how I have always been the ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

What is the etymology of the Baseball term “meat hand”?

The term is used to signify the non gloved hand of the pitcher. I've only ever heard it used relative to the pitcher. For example, “On the bunt the pitcher used his meat hand instead of gloving the ...