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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191 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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5answers
9k views

What does “off you go” mean?

I came across the phrase off you go which has been frequently used in many movies. Especially, the movie John Carter impressed me with this phrase. What does it mean in different scenarios/cases?
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4answers
2k views

What is actually being doubled when someone has to “double back”?

I have frequently heard this phrase and used it myself when I've gone in a wrong direction either physically or at work metaphorically. However, I wonder why the phrase is double back, since once you ...
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6answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “having one's kitten in one's pocket”?

This is an extract from 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' by Alexander Baron: Corporal Turnbull was a young man, but he was not a man to be trifled with. He had come back from Dunkirk with all his ...
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2answers
46 views

Can “probability” be used interchangeably with “rate”?

In a document about a barcode reader, I came across an expression "scanning probability" to indicate the percentage of successful reading of barcodes by the barcode reader in question. I would use ...
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4answers
54 views

Meaning of “a cockle of adventurers”?

Here is the complete first paragraph of Melville Davisson Post's The Doomdorf Mystery: The pioneer was not the only man in the great mountains behind Virginia. Strange aliens drifted in after the ...
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5answers
2k views

What does “on the outside” mean?

He will be here in 90 minutes on the outside. At the outside means "at the most". Is "on the outside" an equivalent expression?
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2answers
70 views

What does “at their doorstop death” mean?

I read an article on Time, entitled: Liberal Group Blames Republicans for Ebola in New ad. “I think any Republican who attempts to chalk this ad up to politics is a Republican who is too afraid ...
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5answers
11k views

Where did the saying “Bite the dust” come from?

Hypothetical example usage: "Another one bites the dust." He said as he watched another building burn to the ground. It just means that something is destroyed. What does biting dust have to do ...
2
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3answers
64 views

Can I say “something in your vibe” as an alternative idiom to “to vibe with something.”

I am searching for a slogan for my website named "Vibeware", and as you might have guessed, it is about software (the name itself being a result of playing around with the first letters in my name ...
3
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1answer
109 views

Idiomatic usage of “of which”

Taken from the Barron's SAT prep book: "Ron liked to play word games, of which he found crossword puzzles particularly satisfying." According to the answers this is an unidiomatic phrase ...
2
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2answers
724 views

How did “yours truly” become a euphemism for “I” or “me”?

Rarely but occasionally I've seen yours truly appear in text when the author wishes to refer to him- or herself. An example from The Cambridge Dictionary: Some folks, such as yours truly, can't ...
9
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2answers
732 views

What’s the difference of ‘Truth with capital T” from truth with small t?

In New York Times (November 1) article titled “A cup of G.I Joe,” Maureen Dowd introduces the following remarks from Howard Schultz, the C.E.O. of Starbucks about Leadership. Dowd suspects if Shultz ...
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3answers
69 views

Expression denoting exclusivity

Can anyone think of an idiomatic expression in English to show how exclusive something is? What I'm looking for is an expression that will instantly communicate to a native English speaker that only ...
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2answers
194 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 ...
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1answer
76 views

An old-fashioned synonym for “arrogant” and “thinking too high of oneself”

I can't remember this idiom which I once heard and means "arrogant". As I haven't heard it for a long time, say some 30 years, I presume it is outdated. It's a two-word idiom and sounds somewhat ...
0
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1answer
62 views

How do I use this idiom ? “ pins and needles ” naturally?

I'm just curious. how can I use this " pins and needles " idiom naturally in everyday life ? like "Ouooch I had pins and needles right now ! " or "Ouooch I have pins and needles right now ! ...
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2answers
6k views

Implication of “Everything is relative”

Does the phrase “It's all relative” mean that everything is quantifiable in terms of individual perception or opinion? In other words, we all have different opinions or viewpoints with regard to a ...
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1answer
69 views

Do I understand this correctly?

I thanked someone really important for following me on Instagram. his reply: due time pal Does it mean that it was time to do so? thanks
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5answers
306 views

Phrase for unintelligible singing

Is there an English idiom that expresses the sentiment that a singer articulates the lyrics so badly that you'd better buy the text in the leaflet?
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4answers
434 views

Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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0answers
41 views

“He might could come Friday” - Can anyone use two modals for the same verb (and get away with it)? [duplicate]

I've heard someone use two modals for the same verb more than once, in an American film. It looked like an old movie, perhaps from the 70s. The other sentence was: "I might could help you." I wonder ...
3
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2answers
58 views

Deciphering of William Henley's “Bus-Driver”: put 'a bit on'?

This beautiful sonnet, "Bus-Driver" by William Henley, is studded with idioms, some of which are hard to understand. I've bolded one part (of the two) I don't understand: He’s called The General ...
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2answers
113 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…"
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1answer
282 views

Why does the word “joed” mean weary, tired, exhausted, fatigued, etc.?

The word "joed" is a word I use frequently to describe my feeling tired or exhausted. As a child, I used to hear my grandfather say "I feel joed" before he would sit down for a respite or turn in; ...
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13answers
7k views

Is there an idiom for people who boast too much?

I am looking for idioms or informal/slang/colloquial expression for some people that make you think that they are able of building a skyscraper, constructing a spaceship, playing the piano better than ...
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4answers
1k views

How do you say to “connect nails with heads”?

I was chatting with a non native speaker and they said "we will connect nails with heads" or something along that line, and asked if that was the right way to say it in English. I knew what he meant: ...
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5answers
1k views

Idioms for “looking for something” and “trying to find something in a room full of mess”

I am trying to find idioms that could express "looking for something" and "trying to find something in a room full of mess". One that I could find was "hunt high and low," but for some reason I don't ...
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2answers
135 views

What's the meaning of “if anything else”?

I don't seem to understand the exact meaning of "if anything else" in the beginning portion of the sentence below. I think I could use your help to understand what it actually means. If anything ...
2
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4answers
4k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “a man of the world”?

The name of one of the Ernest Hemingway's short stories is "A man of the world". It seems to me that I understand the meaning of this phrase out from the context of the short story. But all the same ...
4
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5answers
553 views

Are there figurative or idiomatic English expressions to mean hindering a person in achieving work / attempt?

When I said “Don’t pull my legs,” in English as a literal translation of Japanese idiom, “足を引っ張る-ashi o hipparu - pull one’s leg” meaning “trip a person up with a mistake” to my English enthusiast ...
9
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6answers
12k views

How did the phrase “are you nuts” come about?

What is the connection between "nut" and the character? How was the phrase "are you nuts?" used at first?
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0answers
39 views

“in these cases use is the best guide”

Please, explain the meaning of the phrase "in these cases use is the best guide". I can't find it in a dictionary. No context. thanks in advance)
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5answers
1k views

Someone who “eats like a …” is someone who eats a lot or has a huge appetite

There was this Chinese TV quiz show and one question was a multiple choice question about English sayings/idioms. It went something like this: In the English idiom, someone who "eats like a [fill in ...
3
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5answers
282 views

English idiom similar to “grab one, hit the other”

In my native language there is an idiom which literally says "grab one, hit the other". It is used to express that a group of people possesses the same negative personal traits, habits, vice, etc. and ...
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1answer
46 views

What does it mean to show sympathy for the other ticket [closed]

In the movie "All The President's Men", the vice president says that at the airport. What does it mean? What is "the other ticket" referring to?
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2answers
1k views

Where did the phrase “don't spend it all in one store” originate?

I've heard the phrase "don't spend it [money] all in one store" a number of times, virtually always in a joking manner. Where did it originate from and has it always been said as a joke?
4
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3answers
728 views

Why do people who find it hard to hear say they are “hard of hearing”?

"I am hard of seeing" or "I am hard of walking" are just never used. How did people come to call semi-deafness "hard of hearing"? Especially, why is "hard of" used? I could understand "weak of ...
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2answers
4k 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"?
0
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2answers
97 views

On second glance, at second glance, on a second glancing, etc

Unfortunately, I've seen all of these being used in very similar contexts: On second glance On a second glance On a second glancing I'm asumming there's no different for this idiom no ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Why do people say “Happy” Halloween?

Shouldn't it be "horror filled halloween" or "spooky halloween"? It fits the purpose of the day. Why "happy"? By the way "Happy Halloween everybody!"
10
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5answers
9k views

Does “to err on the side of … ” indicate wrongdoing?

Does the phrase "to err on the side of ...," specifically "err on the side of caution," indicate that it is wrong to be "on the side of," the object? "Err" makes me think of "error," and is such the ...
51
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10answers
2k views

Is there an English phrase for an inability to actually *leave* already?

There is a Hungarian expression, küszöbgörcs, which literally means "threshold-cramp", and is used to describe that long conversation you have in the entryway, with all the guests awkwardly holding ...
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3answers
22k views

“Money for rope” … meaning and derivation?

I was listening to John Lennon's song "Gimme Some Truth" just now, and in it there's a recurring line: ". . . money for rope." I never thought about it much before, but it strikes me this has ...
4
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1answer
142 views

What's the meaning of “pillage and plunder”? [closed]

In the last episode of "Once Upon a Time" (S04E04 - The Apprentice) there was this dialog: Girl: Well, I don't pillage and plunder on the first date, just so you know. Man: Well, that's because ...
10
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5answers
4k views

Why are reveries sometimes called “brown” studies?

Though this idiom is by no means very common, one comes across it now and then. (I just came across it again today, which is why I'm asking this question.) Why is a "brown study" so named?
2
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1answer
79 views

How to use “sous vide” in a sentence

First, I'm not sure if sous vide is a trademark or just a cooking method like boil or fry. How should I use sous vide in a sentence when writing a recipe?
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4answers
135 views

What would be a modern equivalent for “A curtain lecture”?

I chanced on this expression while reading a book by David Crystal. In a chapter dedicated to words that have disappeared from the English language, he mentions this gem in Samuel Johnson's ...
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3answers
109 views

Similar to “burning a hole in my pocket” but for www shopping cart?

I like this: "Got three dollars burning a hole in my pocket". Are there other expressions or phrases with similar meaning? Actually, I want to know what the creative English speakers will write ...
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3answers
2k views

Hard on the outside but soft on the inside (personality attribute)?

What is a single word (or idiom, or metaphor) that can be used to describe a person's personality that is "hard" or "tough" on the outside, but sensitive and soft on the inside? Something that says: ...