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
64 views

Looking for an idiom similar to sink or swim

I'm looking for an idiom - if one exists - similar to "sink or swim", but describes when someone must learn quickly (say a new job) because they are being faced with the actual experience
2
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1answer
113 views

The exact sense and origin of “to stick it to someone”

From a blogpost at BBC, Did internet kill the radio star? David Lowery, lead singer for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, tells the BBC that illegal sharing of music files is ...
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2answers
233 views

Does “shake his booty” mean “shake his butt”? And does it make it more attractive?

I seem to see the phrase "shake his booty" being used to say something is good and attractive. But does it mean "shake his butt"? And if they are the same, why does "shake his butt" seem a somewhat ...
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2answers
73 views

“Jeeez, is March National Truth Movement Dead Horse Month?”

Searching on Google for something, I found this expression new to me. Jeeez, is March National Truth Movement Dead Horse Month? As there's nothing else on the page that helps understand the ...
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3answers
7k views

Original Meaning of Blood is thicker than water, is it real?

I recently read that the phrase "Blood is thicker than water" originally derived from the phrase "the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb", implying that the ordinary meaning ...
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2answers
71 views

What's the meaning of “turning the state of the art to the state of the practice”?

What's the meaning of "turning the state of the art to the state of the practice" in the following context: "We have the resources, the professional experience and the background to deliver turnkey ...
35
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18answers
7k views

Is there a word for being so polite as to appear insincere?

I'm looking for a term in English to describe being so polite that one appears to be insincere.
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1answer
91 views

What does “cat in the hat” mean?

I have seen this idiom recently. Cat in the hat. What does it mean?
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5answers
116 views

What is the origin of the expression “legislate from the bench”?

What is the origin of the expression "legislate from the bench" used to describe "judicial activism" in the United States? Do judges have different seating arrangements from congressmen? In more ...
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2answers
489 views

Meaning of “I am for it?”

I think it means "I'm for it now," meaning said person has to face up to some sort of chastisement/consequence (as they have done something wrong and will pay the price.) Is that right? Are there ...
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7answers
340 views

Are there any English idioms to describe “futile benevolence?”

We have a word, “宋襄の仁” meaning “futile benevolence.” The word comes from a historic episode from ancient China. In Spring and Autumn era (BC 8C) in China, when Song Country fought Chu Country, Muyi, ...
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5answers
183 views

what are other idioms one can use to express getting on well with someone?

I am looking for an idiom describing a close acquaintanceship or getting on well with someone other than "like a house on fire'.
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1answer
71 views

idioms out of the word “park” or “knocks” [closed]

What does "knocks it out of the park" means? example : "All should read this book as it knocks it out of the park"
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2answers
320 views

'In order to' or 'to'

Which sentence is correct and why? What is the difference in meaning? I have already written to you, and I received your reply to submit my documents. I have already written to you, and I ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

What does “(Mitt Romney) wells up” mean?

There was the following sentence in a New York Times (January 18) article titled, “Peeling away the plastic”: “Those who have seen “Mitt” - which debuts on Netflix on Friday - are agog that ...
3
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1answer
74 views

Common Expression for Coming Together

Is there a common expression to describe a situation where everything comes together perfectly? UPDATE: The phrase that kept going through my head was "perfect storm," but that holds more of a ...
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2answers
2k views

Die hard or die heart?

I just saw someone write that they were a "die heart" fan. I always thought the term was supposed to be "die hard" but I decided to google it just in case I was wrong. Google was unable to give me a ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Why is this idiom negative, as opposed to positive?

Why is the idiom drop the other shoe negative as opposed to neutral or positive? I was looking something up when I came across this: to do the deed that completes something; to do the expected ...
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3answers
478 views

“On the other end / side” of the phone line

What's the proper way to reference somebody who're you talking with by a peer-to-peer phone line, usually if you don't know who's there exactly? Russian language, for example, has the idiom (они) на ...
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2answers
151 views

What answer is expected by “May I have your name ?”

I'm quite fuzzy about the information asked on the phone by people asking "May I have your name ?" Do they want the first/given name or the last/family name ? Please answer for both UK and US ...
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2answers
110 views

Is there a British English equivalent for the expression “X has nothing on Y?” [closed]

I'm American and I'm writing a short story, one of the characters of which is British. I'm trying not to go overboard in my attempt to replicate British English in this character's speech, but I'm ...
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1answer
114 views

“What a shame!” versus “Such a shame!” [closed]

I would like to know the difference between "What a shame!" and "Such a shame!"". When do I use one or the other? I am Brazilian, so I don't know exactly how to use them.
2
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3answers
82 views

The whys and the hows

Are apostrophes needed in this phrase? The whys and the hows I searched for duplicate questions, but the closest I found was in regard to words inside quotes.
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3answers
147 views

Use of “Just In Case”

I was writing to someone and I had below line using "just in case" "I have done blah blah blah..., just in case they need to be so and so..." I was wondering if this the right way of using it? or ...
3
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4answers
110 views

Justifying one wrong thing by comparing it its opposite which is also wrong

Is there a word or name for the phenomenon or syndrome in which people try to defend one wrong thing by comparing it something that is total opposite of it but also wrong? For example: Drone ...
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3answers
725 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 ...
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10answers
1k views

Idiom for trying and failing, falling short and being disapproved

In one of my native tongues, there's an idiomatic expression, the semi-literal translation of which is "the 'being close' of yours won't shoot the hare". In another, there's something along the lines ...
3
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4answers
139 views

What's with the apostrophe in the standard spelling of the idiom “how's about”?

A recent question on EL&U asks Is it correct to use "how's" as short for "how does"? I have a series of tangentially related questions about a fairly common (in American ...
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2answers
84 views

Meaning of “get the swing of it.” [closed]

In the film "Falling Down": Foster: Good! Good, freedom of religion. Now you get the swing of it. Feels good to exercise your rights, doesn't it? (opens fire). What is D-fens try to say?
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0answers
93 views

Is “elegance is in the eye of the beholder” an idiom in this case [closed]

If someone tells you that a certain solution of yours in not elegant and you reply with "elegance is in the eye of the beholder", does this mean that you're using an English idiom or could this be ...
1
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2answers
131 views

they point their finger(s) at the tree

What is the difference between: they point their finger at the tree. and they point their fingers at the tree. Do they have different meanings?
1
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1answer
145 views

What does “bread and butter” mean in this situation?

Boy gives girl a kiss on the cheek. They approach a lamp post. For a moment, it looks as if they will pass it on opposite sides, but boy grabs girl's hand and pulls her around to his side of the post, ...
2
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1answer
233 views

What does “You're as bad as the old Irish woman who took the two pills to be sure, to be sure…” mean?

What does "You're as bad as the old Irish woman who took the two pills to be sure, to be sure..." mean? And if you know what it means, can you also specify the origin of this phrase? To be more ...
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4answers
159 views

The expression “not so much”

I have noticed the appearance of the phrase "not so much" in the language recently.It strikes me as both grammatically incorrect and humorous when used. For example,"Jim is very smart;his ...
3
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1answer
52 views

At X's expense and of X's timber

The following string appears in Jenks, E. "The prerogative writs in English law" Yale Law Journal 32:6 (1923): ...the accused in the meanwhile [was] to be kept in one of the new gaols ...
2
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4answers
234 views

Is 'she-woman' an acceptable counterpart of 'he-man'?

If this is, as it is, a real English example, I wanted to know what role his women played in persuading him that he was this incredible he-man. can this I wanted to know what role her men ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
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1answer
108 views

What does “rock on Wayne” mean?

Could anyone tell me what does rock on Wayne mean? The context is Classes don't usually have data, but if they do, rock on Wayne.
3
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5answers
175 views

AmEng equivalent of “Shy kids get no sweets”?

In the North-East of England we have the saying: Shy bairns get nowt With a less-slang equivalent of: Shy children get no sweets. It's kind of like "Nothing ventured, nothing gained". Is ...
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2answers
431 views

What is meaning of “on the fly” in computer science? [closed]

I am not native English speakers, I often see " on the fly " in some program docs or blogs. I don't know the exact meaning of it. Is it a idiom? e.g.: Since sandman doesn't have any advanced ...
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1answer
66 views

Phraseme “THROW THE BOOK AT”. [duplicate]

I'm looking for info on how this idioms origin was documented to the USA? Can I grammatically eliminate any tie to the german book listed below. Could a latin spanish or Russian form translate well ...
1
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4answers
107 views

Meaning of “That's gonna leave one helluva scar”

What does That's gonna leave one helluva scar mean? Does helluva stand for a hell off a?
-1
votes
2answers
71 views

What is the exact usage of “the” [closed]

I've seen this word many times but I never understand what that exactly means. AFAIK it is used to refer to a known object but sometimes I see different usages. Can any one explain exact usage and ...
1
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1answer
152 views

Origin of the phrase 'put a sock in it.'

What is the etymology of the phrase, 'put a sock in it'?
2
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4answers
148 views

Is there an English equivalent of this common Maldivian Proverb meaning “to do something carelessly or perfunctorily”?

The proverb is "Amaa buneethee fara-h dhiy-un" which basically translates to "To walk along the shore (the point of which is to collect cowrie shells which were used as currency among seafarers and ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

What's the origin of the phrase “fresh off the back”?

I often come across this phrase "fresh off the back of something" and although I could never find it in a dictionary, I figured out it means "right after something" but what does it really mean "off ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Where does the idiom “root for sth” come from?

I am familiar with the idiom “to root for sth” meaning that I am hoping for something to happen or taking the side of something. But what does this have to do with roots? Does it mean that I am ...
1
vote
2answers
170 views

Is 'give a speech' idiomatic English?

Is 'give a speech' idiomatic in English? An instance I can think of would be “When that happened, my teacher gave a speech, and then said, "Now everybody wish Elbe a merry Christmas!"' As a bonus ...
1
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1answer
67 views

'Happy Christmas to all, all be epicures too.'

'Happy Christmas to all, all be epicures too.' Can anyone explain what, if any, precisely means, or adds, 'all be epicures too' after 'Happy Christmas to all'? Is it idiomatic English?
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2answers
283 views

not a moment too soon - is it fast or slow? [closed]

Is this late or early? It's a bit unclear to me. Because this question body wasn't meeting good quality standards of this site, I had to write this additional sentence.