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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2answers
77 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 ...
0
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1answer
43 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
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 ...
2
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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
85 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 ...
3
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4answers
73 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
121 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
90 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 ...
-3
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1answer
57 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
83 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 ...
6
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5answers
672 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
90 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?
0
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1answer
98 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 ...
2
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2answers
119 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
55 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 ...
6
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3answers
159 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
56 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 ...
5
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4answers
954 views

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: ...
3
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3answers
199 views

What idiom was used before “to be on the same wavelength”?

The word wavelength has the figurative usage with allusion to radio reception, implying (mutual) understanding especially in the idiomatic phrase to be on the same wavelength (as someone else). What ...
0
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2answers
76 views

What “appear to be ” means in the given sentence [closed]

Today, while reading a newspaper I came across a sentence that has been baffling me since: The woman, who identified herself as Bhavna and appeared to be in her 20s, .... What does appeared to ...
4
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1answer
119 views

Origin, meaning, and historical change (if any) of the idiom 'stem the tide'

Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, second edition (2013) has this entry for the idiom "stem the tide": stem the tide Stop the course of a trend or tendency, as in It is ...
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15answers
962 views

Opposite idiom for going with the flow

According to the Cambridge dictionary, going with the flow is defined as to do what other ​people are doing or to ​agree with other ​people because it is the ​easiest thing to do. I am writing a paper ...
0
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1answer
36 views

How do I say thanks to someone who sends me a message from my site?

I'm building my own website. I have a form that a visitor can request my CV, and I've added a label showing this line of text: "Thanks for your concern, I'll send you my CV soon." Is this sentence ...
0
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2answers
62 views

Idioms describing the entirety of something [closed]

What are some idioms that describe the full entirety of something, or the complete collection. One would be "the whole nine yards" - what else?
3
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4answers
60 views

English idiom for 'went on to kohl it, so he/she blinded it'

'He went on to kohl it [namely, rim the eye with kohl], so he/she blinded it [the eye].' This is a rough translation of the Arabic idiom, 'ذهب ليكحلها فعماها' To rim the eye with kohl is to ...
0
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1answer
73 views

Clarify an idiom in a political text

Please carefully read the text below: On 24 November, 1993, a meeting of Leftist intellectuals occurred in London under the auspices of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which ...
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1answer
43 views

“It was a litany of gratitude to put an Oscar-winner to shame.”

What is the meaning of the above sentence? It was used in "Life after Noynoy," an article appearing in the August 1, 2015, issue of The Economist. Extract: IT WAS a litany of gratitude to put ...
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2answers
104 views

Why does “one of a kind” mean “unique?”

The wording suggest the opposite. Something that is one of a kind is but one of a category of many, if you look at each word non-idiomatically. Why, then, does "one of a kind" mean "unique?"
1
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1answer
285 views

Is “save some trouble” a correct phrase?

Today a friend of mine asked me to teach her how to fix her computer. The procedure was a little too technical for a layperson so I asked her out so that I can fix it for her in person, that she can ...
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1answer
129 views

Meaning of “No cookie for the rookie”

From time to time, I listen to people (NBA narrators) saying "no cookie for the rookie", normally when there is a very good play at the game. Does someone know what it can be? There is an example in ...
3
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2answers
145 views

Term or Phrase for “Listening without Understanding”

Is there a word or a phrase that describes someone listening to somebody else speak to him without understanding what is being said while acting like he's getting it?
0
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1answer
211 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 ...
0
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1answer
84 views

What does “right round toward” mean?

Can anybody help me to describe the meaning of "right round toward", especially in the bold sentence of the context below. Context: Within two years, Deng was the most powerful man in China. Deng's ...
0
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2answers
60 views

'Holder/owner of right'

Holder/owner of right./ The right is with me. Is there a noun/or a compound noun in english? Even an idiom or smth? Examples: We fight, because right is with us/holders/owners of right, and because ...
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7answers
782 views

Fear of incrimination by inaction

During the Chinese cultural revolution, students assaulted their teachers. During the French liberation, Nazi collaborators were shaved in the streets. The perpetrators are often described as being in ...
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6answers
91 views

More compelling way to describe something as “The Next Big Thing”

What is a more compelling way to say "The next big thing in X".? It will be describing a technology company that is "disrupting" (also too much of a cliche) the industry.
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0answers
63 views

appropriate phrase for expressing close distances toward a person

Imagine this scenario: You are having a conversation with someone about a tropical fruit which you have seen the picture of it(on the internet or something) and you do know the name of it, but you ...
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0answers
50 views

the night before last

"It was the dog he'd heard the night before last." How should I change "the night before last" in reported speech? He said it had been the dog that he had heard...
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5answers
739 views

How to say it: Fleeing from responsibility

Is it common in English to use the following idiom: "He flees from responsibility"? Or is there some more common form of saying this?
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1answer
406 views

What is the meaning of “One for the kitchen, one for the soul”? [closed]

I want to know the proper meaning of this expression: One for the kitchen, one for the soul
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0answers
52 views

Is “face-off” a misnomer?

In ice hockey, the face-off is the method of starting play. The two teams line up in opposition to each other, and two opposing skaters try to gain control of the puck after it is dropped between ...
0
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1answer
39 views

What does “a curious mix of a man” mean?

Context The top-secret American operation to build and use the atom bomb would challenge the humanitarian values on which democracy is built. It was led by one of the most intriguing minds of the ...
5
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1answer
67 views

Meaning of “Banksy’s your bag”

In the article about Dismaland there is a paragraph saying: Inside the walls of a derelict seaside swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, UK, mysterious construction over the last ...
2
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1answer
53 views

'Later' of 'See you later'

See you! See you later! Is there any nuance by adding later or not?
0
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2answers
161 views

What is another way of saying “No more likely?”

A No more likely than B B No less likely than A What is a good way of saying "No more likely?"
3
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6answers
158 views

Is there a pejorative word for “poor” that can be used in a self-deprecating way?

I was trying to translate Portuguese-language expression pé-rapado into English, which literally means "grated/rasped/shaved foot", but that probably makes no sense in English. I'm not sure those ...
69
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5answers
5k views

Why “the powers that be”?

In the phrase "the powers that be," as in the sentence: It would never have occurred to the powers that be to run and supervise the National Lottery from anywhere but London. Oxford ...
2
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1answer
119 views

Etymology of ~Getting into someone's “kitchen”~

Popular in the 80s and early 90s in Black-American culture, but I doubt it made it into many books so we may be at a loss. The meaning, quite visual, is walking into someone's house and banging all ...