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
210 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 ...
2
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4answers
924 views

An expression to say that someone is talking without thinking

What idiom can be used define a the situation where someone is telling something without thinking? Possibly a slang definition. Is "Don't say bullshit" a possible answer?
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9answers
7k views

What do you mean when you ask “How are you?”

I have been asked one simple question many times by Americans: "How are you?". I know this does not mean that the person I am talking to wants to know how I feel, but sometimes I see that they repeat ...
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2answers
129 views

What does 'to be maxed out' mean?

I want to understand what Chandler means when he says he's maxed out after thinking he's embarrassed by his bunny costume.
2
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1answer
225 views

The person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it

The person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it. ...anonymous quote. What does this phrase mean? It seems to suggest that if you marry for money, you will earn all of the money ...
3
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5answers
203 views

What words or idioms are there for “beneficial constructive distraction that would establish or facilitate balance”?

What words are there for beneficial constructive distraction from a task that would improve the results or establish or facilitate balance among various tasks (all being a "distraction" in that ...
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2answers
65 views

Who(m) I have left out [duplicate]

In the acknowledgments of my thesis, after a long list of names, I (also) want to thank "[...] all other supportive people who**m** I have inevitably left out". Does this look appropriate? In ...
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1answer
220 views

Does “but one” mean “only one” or “except one”? [duplicate]

Does "but one" mean "only one" or "except one"? This phrase shows up in the song "Love is an Open Door" from the movie "Frozen". The relevant line is "Our mental synchronization can have but one ...
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4answers
2k views

Can “your reputation precedes you” be used as a negative statement?

I have always considered "your reputation precedes you" as a gesture of complement and respect. However it occurred to me if it is possible to use it for a notorious person with a bad reputation? ...
2
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3answers
130 views

Origin of “to be in fat city”?

What is the origin of the phrase "to be in fat city" meaning "to do well" (financially or otherwise)? A search with an internet search engine suggests that it is of fairly recent vintage, as the two ...
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1answer
156 views

Is this the correct useage of… including; but not only,

Is this the correct useage of, "every possible accessory and trimming a body could desire to adorn their costumes with, including; but not only, brightly colored ribbons, buttons, needles of brass and ...
3
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4answers
261 views

Suitable idiom for using instead of immunize

We have water that is not drinkable, we boil it for killing the microbes, is this sentence correct “I immunize the water ” or there is an idiom for this action?
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9answers
3k views

“Teaching fish to swim”

Imagine one has to give a presentation to explain something to an audience which already knows very much about that topic. Is that correct to say in such a situation that one is teaching fish to ...
3
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2answers
137 views

Is there more than a 'double' whammy?

I have three (could grow to be more) bad reasons for a situation and I wondered if there is such a thing as a triple whammy that is an extension of the double whammy. From my research online, a triple ...
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2answers
248 views

To have all one's marbles, usage and origin

I have seen this idiom used within a negative context such as: Don't think he still has all is marbles, but could it be used correctly within a positive context? Plus, where does this saying come ...
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3answers
495 views

'Blowing Dixie double four time' and 'He can play the honky tonk like anything' meaning

in Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing" what is the meaning of these two lines: In the first verse: You get a shiver in the dark It's been raining in the park but meantime South of the ...
2
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3answers
260 views

correct idiom for if you were me

I am looking for an idiom that can be used for this like "if you were me you would have done the same thing " OR something like empathy , think from my sight, is there any idiom for such scenerio? I ...
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1answer
44 views

At the beginning of “The hands of Mr. Ottermole” by Thomas Burke, an expression 'discolored themselves', which I can't simply understand

Murder (said old Quong)—oblige me by passing my pipe—murder is one of the simplest thing in the world to do. Killing a man is a much simpler matter than killing a duck. Not always so safe, perhaps, ...
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22answers
7k views

Are there metaphoric English expressions meaning “keeping composure at a fatal moment, never panicky”?

We have a Japanese old saying, “俎板の上の鯉-manaita no ueno koi, a carp laid on a chopping block” for describing (1) a critical situation you cannot avoid, and (2) a person who is self-poised at such a ...
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1answer
43 views

Meaning of “affectionate abandon”

You should treat your book with affectionate abandon. In this sentence what does affectionate abandon mean? Is there an abandon that is affectionate?
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2answers
523 views

Meaning of “welcome distraction”

I want to know the meaning of a welcome distraction. It has no meaning when someone reads it first. I want to know the exact meaning. Is there a distraction that we can welcome?!
3
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2answers
120 views

One donkey at a time?

Has anyone heard this expression? If so, what does it mean? I use it to mean that one person should speak at a time, but there is no material whatsoever on the internet. I was trying to find its ...
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2answers
129 views
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1answer
710 views

“what's in store” vs. “what's in stall”

I think this is probably just one of those phrases people get wrong, such as "for all extensive purposes" - but I just found this on a cafe web page: This question asks the meaning of "in store" ...
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2answers
62 views

“One for,” or “one to,” or perhaps something else

Say I am a die-hard communist (I am NOT!) and I want to grudgingly admit that there's this one thing capitalists are right about. I believe I could say something like "now that's one for Adam Smith" ...
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1answer
159 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
92 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
501 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
571 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
146 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'' ...
6
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4answers
7k 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
740 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
68 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
78 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
532 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
135 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 ...
1
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2answers
106 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
195 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
101 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?
0
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1answer
88 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
107 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 ...
0
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2answers
186 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.
0
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1answer
42 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 ...
2
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1answer
1k 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? ...
0
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1answer
422 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
844 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 ...
2
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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
156 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. ...
0
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1answer
130 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 ...