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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“ Water under the fridge ”

I was watching dumb and dumber ,and Lloyd said "Water under the fridge" instead of "Water under the bridge" ( That's all water under the fridge now, Har. Think of the bright side. You're finally ...
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1answer
35 views

Stake a claim in / on / to?

Which preposition should I use with the idiom "stake a claim"? I thought it was "in," but apparently "on" also exists and some online dictionaries have "to" too. For example: Many homesteaders ...
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4answers
119 views

Questions on “Like father, like son” [duplicate]

I have a few questions on this phrase "Like father, like son". Is it an idiom or a proverb? Or both? Can it be analysed grammatically? If the answer is "Yes", can you analyse it grammatically for me?...
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2answers
68 views

What makes cliche a useful distinct term as compared to idiom

Some context: I wondered about the distinction between cliche and idiom as seen by EL&U.SE and posted a question on meta (Where does EnglishLanguage.SE draw the line between cliche and idiom) ...
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18answers
1k views

Idiom: Unknown, hidden problems

We're programmers. Overheard snatch of conversation between co-worker and boss (cleaned up): Yes, we can certainly look into this new technology, but who knows what reefs await us? After the ...
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1answer
79 views

What does the idiom “this is in hand” mean? [closed]

I saw this as a reply to someone's enquiry of a work status. "This is in hand and will be completed prior to the move rest assured." What is the meaning of 'in hand' here?
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2answers
40 views

informal word for a money manager

Imagine there's a group of friends and they're on a trip or on vacation. They're not going to chip in for every single spending; instead, a certain person shells out for everything throughout and when ...
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1answer
51 views

Regarding “glue on” [closed]

Somebody makes a minion using eggs, eyeballs and paints. They then say, "Then glue on one or two eyeballs". What is this saying? Is there a difference between "Glue on one or two eyeballs" and "Glue ...
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1answer
56 views

What does “fall into history” mean in this context?

I couldn't figure this sentences out, because of the "falls into history" expression. It's an academic article, I thought maybe it doesn't me "to be forgotten" like in the song. Would someone please ...
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6answers
2k views

An idiom for taking advantage of something which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place

Can someone suggest an idiom which means - taking advantage of something, which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place? I know this isn't clear, but it's something like - Shooting a ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “she was deploying her famous pipes” mean?

I'm stuck with the precise meaning of the following phrase I read on the Web: "When she took the stage at the Grammy Awards this year, things were no different — except that she was deploying her ...
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0answers
32 views

Is it “We consider A and B as equal” or “We consider A and B to be equal”? [duplicate]

In usage such as "we consider a label and a tag (as / to be) equal", or "we consider a 'yes' or a 'nod' (as / to be) equal", should we say: We consider A and B as equal. A and B are considered as ...
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2answers
174 views

I have a bodyguard in order to protect myself

I have a bodyguard in order to protect myself. I was told that I cannot have a stative verb in the required condition: I have a bodyguard But I don't understand how "I need to study in order ...
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2answers
112 views

Comforting/encouraging English idiom meaning 'it's not that bad'/'it's not all bad'

I have been told this by an unknown man on the street a few years ago, when I was looking particularly sad. It was something that meant to say 'it's not all bad, cheer up', and it either contained ...
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1answer
2k views

Meaning of “Carrots aren't that great” in the sentence

I was reading "10 hurdles to Windows 10 adoption". In slide 12, there's this paragraph: I still think it’s smartest for Windows 7 customers to stand pat, unless they see something in Windows 10 ...
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1answer
108 views

Subtle version of “Curtains match the carpet” [closed]

The idiom "the curtains match the carpet" -- also heard the other way around and, in American English, swapping in "drapes" and "rug", respectively; I think I've also heard it with "collar" and "cuffs"...
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1answer
126 views

Tip of the iceberg

Did I use this idiom incorrectly? I'll never forget seeing your beautiful face, but that's just the tip of the iceberg of what makes you a one-of-a-kind beauty. It's for an English paper. ...
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0answers
45 views

Is it correct to say “must you drive me crazy”?

Is it correct to say "must you drive me crazy"? Does it sound stylistically correct for native speakers? Thanks!
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3answers
156 views

The meaning of the idiom “pin one's hat on something”

HINOJOSA: And how they got there is the reason why the Kohn family is now part of a national scientific study to locate a gene for longevity. DR. TOM PERLS, CENTAGENETIX: We started off ...
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1answer
38 views

“tracked up” verbal phrase meaning

I am getting difficulty in deducing the meaning of idiom tracked up in the given diction below, ( paragraph below is taken from the NYTimes editorials ) : ...the Boston Global to do more than ...
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5answers
208 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 ...
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0answers
118 views

Who is Charlie Hustle?

From time to time I hear the expression "he's being Charlie Hustle" or something similar, referring to a person, who, well, hustles. Haven't managed to find any reference to the origin of this phrase, ...
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3answers
514 views

Does “Hang a Shingle” refer only to lawyers starting their own business?

I guess I've only heard it used to refer to lawyers. Is the term exclusive to lawyers?
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1answer
91 views

Does the idiom “in check” come from chess? [closed]

I was recently arguing with a friend that the idiom "in check" comes from chess. With the meaning that keeping someone or something "in check" restrains its choices and limits its actions, this seems ...
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1answer
53 views

Origin of phrase “passing the trash”

In broadest terms, the phrase Passing the Trash describes dealing with corrupt individuals by giving them transfers, new job titles or even promotions. However, a quick search with Google suggests ...
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6answers
190 views

Idiom whose etymology involves misunderstanding the original meaning

I found this question on a rather fascinating (if unapologetically prescriptivist) website: Is there any idiom -- not a single word, but a full phrase -- whose meaning has changed over the years, ...
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5answers
304 views

The “wrought /wreaked havoc” misunderstanding

According to the American Heritage Dictionary: the past tense and past participle of the verb to wreak is wreaked, not wrought, which is an alternative past tense and past participle of work. ...
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1answer
42 views

To no end VS no end

I'm curious to know if my examples are right or the idioms mean the same both ways? It worries me to no end = It worries me in vain. it worries me no end = It worries me a lot.
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9answers
4k views

Is there a word or phrase for something that one might wish exists, but most certainly doesn't?

An example might be a car that is fast, luxurious, reliable, gets great gas mileage, and is very cheap. Clearly we'd all love to own such a car, but it doesn't exist, and probably never will. There's ...
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1answer
70 views

Which sentence is correct (too+adj.)? [closed]

Which sentence is correct? This object has a too low temperature. This object has too low a temperature.
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2answers
102 views

Is “Do your worst” understood to be a cheeky double entendre?

Can be said (good-natured or not) to an opponent before a match in defiance of their abilities. “Bring it on” is a similar phrase. I just realized it can be a backhanded slight. “[I hope you] do ...
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1answer
50 views

How do I understand when to use the phrase 'mad props'?

In Legally Blond the musical they use the phrase: MARGOT: Dear Elle, He's a lucky guy. I'm like gonna cry, I got tears coming out of my nose! Mad Props! He's the campus catch, You're a ...
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7answers
1k views

English Idiom 'cut the apple in half'

There is a French idiom, which translated word-for-word is Let's cut the apple in two It means both parties will benefit from 50% of the requested initial negotiated deal. Can this idiom be ...
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1answer
110 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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2answers
85 views

“Speak of the devil” neutral-sounding synonym for non-person scenario

Is there a neutral-sounding (i.e. doesn't mention the devil) synonym for the idiom "speak of the devil"? The idiom "are your ears burning" or a derivative of that wouldn't be great for this case ...
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1answer
107 views

What does “hog log” mean and where does it come from? [closed]

I recently read the following line (emphasis mine): What hog logs or sacred cows in the organization should we eliminate? I gather from the context that "hog log" probably means something like a ...
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4answers
75 views

An Idiom as a reality

Is there a word to describe when you use an idiom to describe reality ? Examples : Raining cats and dogs and it is actually raining cats and dogs, Boxed in and you are actually surrounded by boxes.
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3answers
130 views

What is the etymology of the term “form factor”?

I'm a theoretical physicist, and am doing some work on quantities called form factors. To an expert, a form factor says something about scattering particles from fields. This probably originated from ...
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1answer
102 views

Origin of 'Dutch Courage'

I was wondering if anyone could shed some more definite light on the origin of the phrase 'Dutch Courage.' I have found two, almost certainly apocryphal, origins: 1: From the Thirty Years War in ...
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1answer
60 views

What does “you’ve got cars on the brain” mean? [closed]

I was chatting with someone today and the person wrote this sentence, but I don't get the meaning of it under the context. A: I will be a little late today. My car does not start. B: You’ve got cars ...
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1answer
100 views

Using the idiom “peace of mind”

Which usage is more appropriate, or are they equal? It afforded me the luxury of travelling and the peace of mind in knowing that I could work anywhere. It afforded me the luxury of travelling and ...
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5answers
692 views

“The die were cast.”

The idiom "the die is cast" is well known. The simple past tense version of this in the indicative mood should be, "the die was cast." In the novel, The Godless, by Ben Peek, I came across the ...
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1answer
102 views

“Down by a point” meaning [closed]

What does 'The Foxes are up to bat and down by a point' mean? Does this mean the Foxes are behind their opponent by one point?
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1answer
105 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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2answers
154 views

Walls closing in

An old couple who are my friends, are so lonely that the walls are closing in/on them. Is my phrase correct to say that they start to behave oddly?
4
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1answer
56 views

Which English language groups/cultures would say “I'm going to bed now” while they were already in a bed?

I was reading a discussion on another part of the internet and many of the people involved asserted that it was common to use the phrase "go to bed" for "cease all other activity and go to sleep" even ...
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3answers
180 views

Origin and usage of “stay the course”

The popular expression stay the course means: Hold or persevere to the end, as in: "No, he's not resigning; he's going to stay the course." According the AHD this metaphoric expression, ...
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1answer
71 views

Is “piss poor” apt in this case?

My friend and I (yes, it's the same friend) were chatting the other day about how some people are too poor to afford even drinking water, so much so that they don't urinate every day. The root of the ...
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4answers
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What does “go rogue” mean in “Donald Trump goes rogue left and right”? Is “go rogue” a common idiom?

There was the following passage in the New York Times' article that came under the headline, “Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump, which could bolster him in Iowa”: “As Mrs. Palin announced her ...
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14answers
4k views

What is it called when someone attacks a person and the offender gets an even worse reputation?

What is it called when you defame someone and you happen to lose respect for doing that. For example, "George is verbally attacking John, by doing that George is losing people's respect" Thus: ...