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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11
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10answers
1k views

What's the word for the facial expression over an unexpected disappointment?

If your friend says something sarcastic to you unexpectedly when you are talking about something that makes you exited or your innermost feelings and makes you feel stupid. What's the most widely ...
0
votes
3answers
89 views

How do you express high proficiency in a succinct way?

I heard the following phrase in movies: -- Do you know how to use A? -- I am a f****g surgeon with A I like it a lot, but I can imagine a lot of people will not understand the meaning. I ...
1
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1answer
107 views

Where did the expression “falling down on the job” come from?

What is the origin of falling down on the job? What did it originally mean?
0
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2answers
779 views

To “take something under advisement”

Does the idiom "I'll take that under advisement" in a non-legal context always (or usually) mean "I'll ignore your advice"? i.e. is it a polite (or not-so-polite) way to snub someone? For example, ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

What does “About its lot” mean?

In Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Chapter 2, when talking about how long the Electric Monk believed silly things, the book says: How long did the Monk believe these ...
1
vote
2answers
182 views

Definition of “get a lot of mileage by”

I came across the expression "get a lot of mileage by..." in a book on creative writing. Here is the quote: (on a method the author is suggesting which is to say or write nonsensical things) ...
0
votes
2answers
152 views

Idiom for new-employee training period

There’s a certain amount of time that organizations apply to new employees who are undergoing training. What’s the idiom? I’ve heard spin-up or train-up time, but neither of those two is clicking as ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Idiom or phrase to denote unfair use of someone who is nice

I am looking for an idiom or a phrase to denote the situation where someone is unfairly taken advantage of (Ex: Gets a lot of work dumped on his lap on a Friday evening like Harold in Harold and Kumar ...
6
votes
9answers
920 views

English equivalent of saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh”?

The saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh” from my own language is typically addressed to someone who likes to provide unsolicited help by barging in on a heated conversation between two ...
1
vote
5answers
97 views

Idiom: When something is not dealt with for a long time

What idiom could express when something is not dealt with for a very long time? The reason would be that a certain issue or thing cannot be solved because you lack the necessary means/agreements to do ...
2
votes
2answers
83 views

'come rain, blood, or horse manure' American idiom?

Probably some of you, as I am, are familiar with the controversy that surrounded ABC miniseries Amerika (February 1987). ABC president response to that controversy was "we’re going to run that ...
0
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1answer
298 views

What's the phrase that is used with 'honest' to indicate sarcasm that I am being monitored [closed]

What's it that is used with 'honest' to indicate sarcasm that I am being monitored. .
1
vote
1answer
622 views

What's the origin of “this is going to come to a head”?

I have used the phrases "This is going to come to a head" or "coming to a head". I think I know what they mean, I think I'm using them correctly. So...where do these phrases come from? And, ahem, ...
1
vote
4answers
139 views

An idiom for when you do a work but the work is insufficient

I'm looking for an idiom for when you do a work in order to better a situation. However, the work you do is not sufficient, so even though your work is not entirely wasted (as it does have some ...
2
votes
5answers
202 views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
5
votes
5answers
196 views

“ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel” - a (few) simpler alternative(s)

ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel or ain’t got the sense God gave geese. I have taken a liking to this phrase, however, to my colleagues, most of who are from Latin America and SE-Asia, ...
4
votes
3answers
269 views

Idiom: to be at loggerheads

Idiom to be at loggerheads with someone over sth The meaning is to be in strong disagreement with someone struggling constantly as in The two governments are still at loggerheads over the island. ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

What did it originally mean to 'bow and scrape'?

It is said, including in the OED, to refer to bowing, and at the same time drawing back the right leg so that it made a scraping noise. I don't recall seeing anyone scraping. I lived in Japan for a ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

Charles Bukowski's “best dick” [closed]

I am reading Charles Bukowski's Pulp and as non-native English speaker I am finding decoding certain expressions challenging. For example the main character, Nicky Belane, often refers to himself ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

explain the idiom [duplicate]

I am the novice English learner. Please explain me the idiom "What are you up to" I've already google it. But i still want you people to explain this with examples. Thanks
17
votes
16answers
5k views

Is there any idiom which is exactly opposite of 'head start'?

I am searching for an idiom which means to have a disadvantage that makes your chances of winning bleak It should appropriately fit in this analogy: Head Start - Win ___ - Lose
-1
votes
1answer
74 views

“in God's name” usage in English [closed]

When people say "what in God's name are you doing?", I couldn't understand.
2
votes
2answers
780 views

What is the origin of the phrase “grease the skids”?

What is the origin or derivation of the phrase "greasing the skids?" The phrase connotes preparation, in such a way as to make the subsequent activities easier. Definitions are available various ...
3
votes
3answers
228 views

Is “take a leak” considered only masculine or is it okay if women use it too?

And if it can also be used by women, I still feel vulgar using it.
14
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12answers
2k views

Is there a suitable antonym for 'Achilles heel'?

I'm trying to juxtapose antonyms in a effort to describe something. The first draft of an excerpt reads something like this: I will tell of their triumphs and downfalls... I would like to ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

“Would-be” meaning “potential”: must it be hyphenated?

Suppose I write, "Giving exams in class thwarts would-be cheaters." Must "would-be" have a hyphen? Or would it be preferable to write it without a hyphen? (It seems easier to read with the hyphen.) ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

bottom dropped out

I heard this expression and I don't know what it means. I googled it and it was mostly financial meanings. But mine is not. I'm writing the context exactly. The bottom kind of dropped out when I ...
1
vote
1answer
346 views

Get-go attitude vs. go-getter

I want to write a recommendation for a friend in LinkedIn, and I want to emphasise that he was a real hard worker. So, does "he has a get-go attitude" means that someone is a "go-getter"?
2
votes
1answer
200 views

What does “ought to have been a wheelbarrow” mean?

My grandmother (who was of Irish descent) was born in the New England area of NSW, Australia. She used an idiom that she "ought to have been a wheelbarrow". I think it meant something about a lack of ...
-1
votes
2answers
64 views

Does “the truth is deceptive” make any sense or should it be “ truth can be deceiving”? [closed]

Does "the truth is deceptive" make any sense or should it be " truth can be deceiving" ?
1
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2answers
109 views

Is “throw guns into a hot stove” a common phrase or just one-off figurative expression?

Today, Scott Simon, the host of NPR’s Weekend Edition news program, interviews former NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder about the cease-fire between the Ukrainian government and Russian separatists, and ...
1
vote
5answers
139 views

I need an alternative for “her whole life” [closed]

In my story a young girl only understands the life of a dancer, but once her dream comes to an end she doesn't know what to do with herself. I need a better way of saying She danced all day ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

To have the world “at your fingertips”

I was watching a YouTube video about eating disorders when the American TV presenter ended a pep talk with the following words: If I had the chance today to spend six weeks somewhere, to better ...
12
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12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
0
votes
1answer
101 views

Question on “the fabric of X” in sentences

I see a lot of sentences with "the fabric of X" in them. For example, "The veteran feels trusted, respected and understood -- re-integrated into the fabric of his or her homeland." "Half a century ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

Origin of “kill the ghost”, “killing the ghost”

A British friend of mine who used to work with us came back from London for a short visit to the town.Before going back home again he showed me photographs of the town beach and hotel saying he came ...
0
votes
2answers
95 views

What does it mean to “gum the spoon”?

I recently found out about a new term. It's "gum the spoon". What does it mean? By the various contexts I found, I conjecture that it means to add saliva onto the spoon or to hold the spoon in one's ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

The quality of things you stick with

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe the quality of things we stick with. For example, if a training is well designed, people will tend to keep using it. Meanwhile, if it's not, ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

“Harry saw Luna, all eyes in her white face…” What does this line from the Deathly Hallows mean?

After rereading it for what seems to be the hundredth time, I realized that I never understood the meaning of this half a sentence. What's really tripping me up is the all eyes in her white face bit. ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “Anyone who is married” mean in “Anyone who is married should know that facts and logic are not always helpful to one’s cause”? [closed]

I’m drawn to the phrase, “anyone who is married” taken from Benn Steil's recently published book, The Battle of Bretton Woods that deals with the battle engaged by Maynard Keynes and Harry White, each ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

Is the phrase “Next waiting!” by retail staff incorrect grammar?

In Australian retail stores the phrase "Next waiting!" has become an idiom. As I understand it, it is a contraction of "Can I serve the person next waiting?". When the idiom is used, it is snapped ...
25
votes
8answers
3k views

Are there similar expressions to the Japanese saying “I want to die on a tatami mat”?

Today most people die in a hospital bed, though many would prefer to die in their own home being watched over by their loving family. We have an old saying, “to die on a tatami mat”, meaning to die ...
2
votes
3answers
285 views

An Idiom/phrase/adjective for an imaginary place where everything is perfect [closed]

A place where unrealistic and impossible things can happen. Is there an idiom/expression/phrase that connotes to such a stretch of the imagination?
0
votes
1answer
151 views

What does “when in doubt, lay out” mean? [closed]

So, what does it mean? "When in doubt, lay out." It seems to be an advice.
2
votes
7answers
978 views

Is calling someone “old school”- offensive/derogatory? [closed]

My colleague, a relatively young school teacher, prefers not to use e-mails. He is digitally absent. During a recent teacher's meeting, while I appreciated his efforts towards content ...
0
votes
1answer
271 views

The meaning and etymology of the exclamation “Lawdy me!”

What does a speaker mean if he/she exclaims "Lawdy me!"? I noticed this exclamation when I was reading a short story "the Conscience of the Court" by Zora Neale Hurston. There was one brown-skinned ...
3
votes
2answers
524 views

A fatal accident vs a fateful accident [closed]

fatal/adjective/causing death. fateful/adjective/ having far-reaching and often disastrous consequences or implications. My team-leader survived a life-threatening injury, when back to work, an ...
3
votes
2answers
95 views

Clasping arms when cold: how does one say that?

How does one say in English when, as a reaction to cold, a person crosses their arms, grabbing their own shoulders? It is a very common gesture, not shrugging as "I don't care", but to keep the cold ...
1
vote
0answers
140 views

Origin of the expression “Answer came there none” [closed]

What is the origin of the expression "Answer came there none"? Is it a quote from somewhere? Is it known when it was first used as an alternative to "there was no answer"? Or was it once a more ...
0
votes
6answers
117 views

Feeling for rejection followed by acceptance?

Is there any good word/phrase/idiom for that feeling of scorn when you're accepted by someone/something after getting rejected the first time? I remember a phrase being quoted by Nathan Fillion in ...