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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1answer
90 views

Seem out to do something - meaning

Source: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-04-04/putin-s-rejection-of-the-west-in-writing?cmpid=yhoo In fact, after Moscow's Crimean adventure, the West seems out to prove this point of ...
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1answer
70 views

against all odds

What is a simple definition or phrase to replace this idiom, "against all odds"? I could use despite all difficulties but it's too difficult for my 5-6 year old kids to understand. My sentence is as ...
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2answers
431 views

He remained cool as a cucumber

Why do we use cucumber to describe the attitude of a person who is able to control his/her temper in front of a difficult event?
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1answer
258 views

What does “wishy-washy” mean?

Question: What does it mean when something is "wishy-washy"? Is it informal? Is it American English, British English or both?
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3answers
121 views

Bike Race question - Loser gets to be the girl [closed]

I don't remember which movie it was in, but there were two men (filled with testosterone), and they had this bet that the loser would be the girl. It was never specified what ''gets to be the girl'' ...
5
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2answers
3k views

What does “no love lost” mean and where does it come from?

I have trouble with the idiom "no love lost". I understand that it is used when people are at odds or don't get along, but I don't understand why. Interpreted literally it sounds like there should be ...
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7answers
514 views

When you say a man is a coward, does it imply femininity by default? Is ''girlish coward'' a common expression?

I was wondering about this and would appreciate your take on the question.
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1answer
63 views

What does “something eats into somebody” mean? [closed]

What does it eats into you mean? I have read this in a play It eats you, which is normal I like to know what the meaning is and how many meaning I can consider for it.
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1answer
73 views

What is the rule in the sentence “she always had this twisted side to her”? [closed]

I can understand the meaning of the sentence "she always had this twisted side to her", but I can't really figure out why it is expressed like this. I mean, if I couldn't get the meaning, how should ...
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2answers
196 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?
2
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2answers
127 views

Job interview question [closed]

I'm a French man in my late 20s and I'm applying for a job for a prestigious American company. I've had a job interview with an American woman and she told me all was well but I'd have to be molded to ...
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2answers
86 views

get the boot courtesy - idiom, meaning

It seems that William and Susan aren’t getting along very well together, so one of them has got to go. Since William was there first, Susan will get the boot courtesy of the delete statement... ...
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1answer
144 views

Do all four-letter-words have four letters?

Two vulgar words I know have five letters but I've been told they are considered four-letter-words in spite of it. The explanation I got was that in such cases vulgarity matters more than the number ...
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2answers
73 views

Meaning of “Gambler at heart” [closed]

I want to know what does the expression gambler at heart mean and in which context we can use it?
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1answer
68 views

What does the phrase “They would clash with my drapes” mean?

I have come across this phrase in the sitcom, Hot in Cleveland wherein a gay man is asked if he had kids to which he responds with this phrase :"They would clash with my drapes." I tried looking it up ...
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3answers
92 views

Origin of plurality of “wars” in phrases like “Star Wars”

There are a number of compounds in English of the form "noun wars," e.g. "Star Wars," "mommy wars," "culture wars." Why do these show "wars" in the plural? It seems like normally "wars" would pertain ...
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2answers
138 views

What does this idiom mean and where did it come from?

What does the expression "being drug up on the carpet and then run up the mast" mean and where did it come from? It could very well be the person who said it made it up on the spot.
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1answer
38 views

“To take in” and “to catch” in the sense "to attend and visit (or see) [the sights of (a city, etc.)] in AmE

Do these terms share the same degree of informality in the sense "to attend and visit (or see)" as of someone taking in/catching the sights of a place, or taking in/catching a show or a movie? E.g. ...
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2answers
2k views

“Nuke the fridge”

I don't get what this phrase means. I tried googling it, but the answers weren't satisfactory. Could someone please tell me its meaning? I'm guessing it has something to do with TV shows (I first ...
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1answer
637 views

What does 'both of you' mean?

How does one reflect the difference in meaning between 'I gave one to both of you' meaning you gave one to each of them, and 'I gave one to both of you' meaning you gave one item for the two to share? ...
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1answer
228 views

What does “I can get behind that :)” mean when you suggest someone to compromise on an alternative option?

"How about we compromise and ... ? ;)" Answer: "I can get behind that :)"
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4answers
432 views

Idiom: in my neck of the woods, AmE

Idiom: in my neck of the woods, AmE The meaning of this expression is: in the region where I live. Once I tried to find out how a word meaning a part of the body can develop an expression where it ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “My duh on” mean?

What does "My duh on X" mean? Does it mean "I like X" or "I don't like X" or something else? What does "duh" mean in general?
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2answers
115 views

What is the derivation of “out like a light” meaning “to lose consciousness quickly”?

The idiomatic relationship between out like a light and falling asleep (or being rendered comatose) quickly is easily understood in the context of electric lights extinguished instantly by a switch. ...
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1answer
100 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
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5answers
668 views

A word that represents a group of people working to achieve a common goal or dream

I am working on a project that involves bringing people together who share common goals or dreams. Is there a word or phrase to describe groups of people who are working together to accomplish these ...
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1answer
77 views

“To set up” for “to arrange/prepare” or “to organize” in colloquial AmE

I already heard and read on various occasions Americans use the expression "to set up" to seemingly mean "to arrange" as in "I'll set up reservations for you" or "I'll be more than happy to set up a ...
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2answers
164 views

Does the idiom “in lieu of” for “instead of” sound legalese or affected in modern day AmE [closed]

I once came across the idiomatic "in lieu of" in some bilingual dictionary I can't seem to put my hands on anymore, but I remember pretty well the phrase being defined as an Americanism. And so, I ...
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2answers
236 views

“Latch onto [something/someone]” for “obtain, get (hold of) [something/someone]” in AE

I just rediscovered the colloquial expression "latch on to [something]" online and would like to know the story to its meaning of "obtain, get", which is presented by CD as AE and CE. ...
2
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1answer
104 views

To buttonhole someone

Can you help me find a synonym to this expression meaning to approach someone as if by grasping the person's garment to have his attention. Could it be used informally to describe boys' attitude to ...
2
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2answers
992 views

“ It was a pleasure knowing”, “It was a pleasure to have known”, or “It was a pleasure to know”?

I am in the process of ordering a headstone for my dad and I wish to have the words It was a pleasure to have known (as opposed to the more traditional "in loving remembrance", "in memory of", ...
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1answer
228 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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3answers
93 views

Do you “compare eggs with prunes”?

Just come across the eggs/prunes bit in a book. Is "to compare eggs with prunes" an idiomatic expression meaning "to juxtapose totally different things", or just a licencia poetica by the author?
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1answer
405 views

Origin of “to have an axe to grind”

Where does the idiom to have an axe to grind come from? To have personal, selfish reasons to do or say something.
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1answer
141 views

The expression “And how!”

Where does the expression, "and how," come from? How can we reconcile the literal meaning with the idiomatic one?
3
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5answers
672 views

What does “Press the point” exactly mean?

The New York Times (March 14) Fashion & Style column reports under the headline, “Walking the Walk to Increase Diversity” that Bethann Hardison, the fashion industry gadfly is to receive the ...
2
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2answers
56 views

To be in fine fettle

It means to be in good health, good spirits. The origin seems to be from the OE word fetel, meaning "belt". Can anyone help in understanding how it got to the current meaning please.
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18answers
2k views

What is a good idiom for deceptive smile?

Is there a good idiom that implies fake happiness in the same way 'crocodile tears' imply fake sadness?
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2answers
99 views

To bone up on something

What's the origin of this idiomatic expression meaning to study something thoroughly.
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1answer
57 views

How can this be worded better? [closed]

How can this be better expressed? In respect of Anna's written wishes, there will be no funeral.
3
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1answer
115 views

“Buy the farm” meaning

In Alice Cooper’s song “Hey Stoopid” from his 1991 album, there is a verse that runs like this: Now I know you’ve been kicked around. You ain’t alone in this ugly town. You stick a needle ...
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3answers
147 views

Is “people with a bit of grit under their fingernail” an idiom, or just one-off phrase?

I was interested in the phrase, “people with a “little bit of grit under their fingernails” appearing in the New Yorker magazine’s (March 14) article titled, “American Ads, American Values.” It reads; ...
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3answers
776 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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2answers
164 views

If you're “balled up” why are you confused?

I believe the expression 'balled up' dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century and I believe it means 'confused' but I'm all balled up as to why it means 'confused'. The only ...
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5answers
1k views

Is there an idiom or euphemism for when someone has an average/small penis but knows how to use it?

Really, what the question title states. In my language there's a more "flowery" phrase to say "size doesn't matter". It would roughly translate to "even a small clown can work in the big top" – I'm ...
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5answers
100 views

Single word for “at one's wits' end”

While there often appears to be a word that could replace an idiom or a phrase in meaning, this one seems to be an exception (for me that is). I've tried: Confused : Less powerful, isn't it? ...
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2answers
68 views

Is “…written by the author it claims to be and not by someone passing themselves for them” correct?

I have a question to this sentence: Sometimes you need to know if the book was really written by the author it claims to be and not by someone passing themselves off as them. Is that correct? I ...
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3answers
79 views

Is a tin-ear one who dislikes music or one who dislikes new popular music? Why?

I know folks who couldn't hear well used to use a tin-ear to help but I don't understand the connection between a tin-ear and a dislike of music or of new popular music.
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1answer
131 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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3answers
215 views

Is the idiom, “one person's word against another” or “another's”?

A common idiom is: This is just one person's word against another. Is the correct form another or another's? I assumed the extended forms would be: This is just one person's word against ...