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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406 views

What do these two figures of speech mean? Embrace the grind and lower your shoulder

I came across these two figures of speech:(a) Embrace the grind and (b) Lower your shoulder in one of the Instagram posts of Dwayne Johnson(The Rock) Since I am not a native English speaker I just ...
5
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2answers
519 views

Do you live on a farm?

This looks like a duplicate but it's not. Here is the 2013 question: In farms or on farms? The OP only wanted to know which sentence was grammatically correct. They live the quiet life on ...
0
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2answers
99 views

“sparse on details” idiom

Is this an idiom? When you say a study is "sparse on details" could you not just as well say "sparse with details" or "sparse for details"—they all make just as much sense to me. I'm trying to ...
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2answers
422 views

“Time” versus “Time”: When is time plural?

I have difficulty in using time and times correctly. I understand that times may be used for some idiomatic purposes such as "at all times" or "of all times" or "some times", although sometimes it ...
1
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1answer
169 views

Are "out of the box“ and “(right) off the bat” interchangeable”?

I came across with two idioms associated with immediacy in different context recently: (1) Anyone who was hoping that the Watch would flop out of the box and fall short of the high standard that ...
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0answers
49 views

What does “hand up north” mean? [closed]

"Pedro Damian had been working as hand up north on a ranch" is a sentence and I need to know what this idiom means?
2
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2answers
912 views

What is the origin of the phrase “playing hooky”?

What does the word "hooky" mean in the phrase "play hooky" (skipping class/truancy) and where did it come from?
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3answers
902 views

What does “flop out of the box” mean? Is it a popular turn of phrase?

Washington Post (April 9) carries a review of now topical Apple watch under the title, “Should you buy an Apple watch?” It begins with the following statement: This is a good product with a bright ...
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1answer
73 views

Broth of a boy etymology

Could anybody explain the etymology of the phrase broth of a boy? I know the meaning but cannot understand how it happens that it means what it means.
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1answer
95 views

'If they “would have” recognised this, they would have saved themselves trouble? Correct? [duplicate]

I heard an American speaking on the BBC World at One news this lunchtime, about the Greek debt. He was arguing that the character of a lot of Greece's debt is quite different to that of other debtor ...
4
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3answers
2k views

“fine by me” vs “fine with me”

So, fine with me is the standard way to say it. But fine by me is ok, and dictionaries confirm that. The only mention that it should not be used is here: ...
0
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1answer
78 views

How to refer to something “demanding” which doesn't happen all of a sudden?

Looking for a verb to express something that requires some time and effort to evolve, like collecting. I want to express that collecting requires some time and the collection doesn't just come out ...
0
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1answer
122 views

What does “you can go about” means? [closed]

What does this mean? ...there are a number of ways that you can go about + ing e.g. there are a number of ways that you can go about analyzing there are a number of ways that you can go about ...
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2answers
294 views

What does “drone drop” mean?

There is the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Good riddance, Carrie Mathison” in April 4 New York Times: “The co-creator of “Homeland” on Showtime revealed recently that when ...
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4answers
1k views

What's an alternative for “hidden gem”?

Hidden gems is an idiom which means something which is extremely outstanding and not many people may know about; for example, Blame It on Rio by Stanley Donen is a good movie, but relatively unknown ...
1
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1answer
182 views

“In the cards”, “on the cards” origin(s)

In another question in EL&U "Positives changes on the cards" — meaning? , it came up that at least one of us AmE speakers had always heard this idiom as "in the cards" and never as "on ...
0
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1answer
67 views

To go fade out?

Those sweet memories never seem to go fade out. In trying to find a short synonym for "to become to fade out," I've come up with "to go fade out." Is this idiomatic and grammatically correct? The ...
0
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1answer
61 views

Is it correct to say “Can I enter if don't have a ticket”? [closed]

Is it correct to say "Can I come in if don't have a ticket"? or, Which is more common in ordinary life: A. Can I enter if don't have a ticket? B. Can I enter if I don't have a ticket?
2
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1answer
606 views

What is the origin/history of “you do you” (or “do you”)?

A recent New York Times Magazine piece focused on the expression "you do you" (and its variant "do you"), meaning something like a strong affirmation to "be yourself." The article associates the ...
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2answers
60 views

Words confuse- prefecture, county and shire.

How could I distinguish the usage between the prefecture and county? In my opinion, I think "shire" is smaller than a county or prefecture. Is there any problem with my concept?
0
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1answer
102 views

what's the word for a common saying? [closed]

A common saying like in Hindi "Juldi ka kaam shaitan ka" translation "Anything done in hurry has Satan's reflection in it. " Something like truism, but it's meaning on google doesn't say what I mean. ...
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1answer
81 views

Could anybody scan through my cover letter? [closed]

English is not my native language, so I could write some not idiomatic expressions which are hard to detect for me. I am writing to apply for the position of summer intern at the Boston Group. I have ...
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3answers
440 views

The history of the phrase, “to drop the ball.” [closed]

How (if at all) does the phrase "to drop the ball" relate to the Times Square dropping of the midnight ball on New Year's Eve? If they are unrelated, where does the phrase come from?
2
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3answers
141 views

Does “on earth” replace “on the earth” in modern English?

I am a non-native English speaker. Since school, I was taught "on the earth" is equal to "in the world", and "on earth"'s meaning should be "indeed". But nowadays, I find "on earth" has replaced "on ...
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2answers
106 views

It took everything within me?

In a documentary I'm watching, a teenager is missing and her car is found. In the car's truck a bag can be seen, and they suspect that she might be inside of the bag. Her father states: It took ...
12
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18answers
3k views

Uncommon Term for an Excellent Orator?

I'm looking for an uncommon term for an excellent orator that doesn’t include adjectives such as “good” or “excellent,” or the noun “orator.” I've googled this request but haven't encountered anything ...
3
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1answer
133 views

what does “to walk at grade” mean?

"John was walking at grade and slipped on a patch of ice. When John slipped he did not fall to grade as he caught himself with his right hand [...]" Does "at grade" mean "on an uneven/inclined ...
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2answers
59 views

To have ALL + adjective + noun

I am wondering whether the sentence That school has all smart students is a valid alternative to All the students of that school are smart. Is it idiomatic/grammatically sound? (Let's ...
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10answers
4k views

Are there English figurative expressions equivalent to Japanese idiom 馬耳東風 meaning a person who doesn’t listen to other’s advice?

North wind tells the arrival of spring season in Japan. And incidentally, we have an idiom, “馬耳東風,” of which literal translation is ‘the east wind to the ears of horse,’ meaning a person who doesn’t ...
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3answers
87 views

“come on as” versus “come across as”

Would you say that both sentences sound correct? On the whole, I think you came ON as sincere and credible, and your soft-spoken demeanor, laced with a dash of wry humor, was quite charming. On the ...
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1answer
60 views

wait on the laurels [closed]

I heard this in a documentary that I'm translating. Can you tell me what it means? Here's the quote: But one thing I can say, at least we tried and we didn’t sit back and wait on the laurels for ...
2
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3answers
127 views

Term for someone very good at dodging being blamed?

How do you call someone who is very good at dodging responsibility for his mistakes?
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8answers
7k views

Is there an English idiom that means “you can always find a law to convict anyone”?

There's an infamous phrase in Russian (attributed to Stalin's Chief Prosecutor Vyshinsky): "Был бы человек, а статья найдется" Translated literally, this means "if there was a man, an ...
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1answer
117 views

birthday cake times twelve

I heard this in a documentary about the Peoples Temple. The quote goes exactly: These people would be on time, they’d be polite and nice. They were a span of ages, a span of races. They were ...
32
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9answers
7k views

What does it mean to call someone a 'drink of water'?

What does it mean when you call someone a 'drink of water', like at the end of this clip from the Shawshank Redemption? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD07V7Lwacc It's intended as an insult from the ...
2
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2answers
354 views

Why do we say “be to blame”, not “be to be blamed”?

I wonder why "be to blame" is used rather than "be to be blamed"? I've googled it, and what I found is that it is considered as an idiomatic expression.
0
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1answer
84 views

What does it mean by “Window of opportunity” [closed]

What is mean by "Window of opportunity"
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2answers
3k views

“Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)”

"Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)" (idiom, used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good: OxfordLearnersDictionariesOnline) It seems to be of relatively recent origin, if there's really a ...
4
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5answers
756 views

Single word for an idiom giving advice

I'm trying to find a word referring to an idiom that gives advice (e.g. "Fake it till you make it"). "Nugget of wisdom" is kind of what I'm looking for, but I want a single word, not another idiom. ...
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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
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3answers
99 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 ...
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1answer
124 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
1k 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
132 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 ...
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2answers
237 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
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2answers
192 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
161 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 ...
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9answers
968 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 ...
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5answers
108 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
88 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 ...