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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-2
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2answers
400 views

What does 'throw the bum out' mean? [closed]

I want to know what these expressions mean. Let's throw the bum out Throw the bum out attitude
1
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2answers
124 views

Opened many doors - “for me” or “to me”? [closed]

I'm trying to say that some event in my life has made many achievements in the future possible for me. Do I say it has opened many doors for me or it has opened many doors to me ? Thanks ...
0
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0answers
19 views

What are the different meanings of “hey yourself”? [duplicate]

while I'm doing some research about the meaning of "hey yourself" I found that it means just "greet back", but does it mean something else like "don't speak this way"?
2
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3answers
87 views

“Sitting on one's head and make them work” - English counterpart?

Imagine a person who has agreed to do you a favor but he won't do it unless you are physically present in front of him/her. You couldn't expect him to do your work if you tell them once and leave them ...
1
vote
0answers
118 views

What's the meaning of the idiom “to lie flat” when applied to a document or project?

I'm encountering this idiom in a government/business context. For example, someone will say that changes to Document A affect Person X's workload, so we'd like to get that document "lying flat" for a ...
0
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1answer
21 views

His objection only takes (SOMETHING) with one aspect of the theory

I am talking about how an author notes the problem in only one aspect of a theory. I know there exists a construction on the lines of "takes notice", but is more apt here. What is that construction?
0
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2answers
110 views

Hit someone with both *BARRELS"

We hear a lot of idioms and phrases involving BARREL. The Link in "thefreedictionary.com" shows a lot of idioms using "barrel" as a noun and a verb. "Barrel" is defined in Merriam-Webster as a ...
7
votes
9answers
308 views

BrEng expressions to describe a man who is becoming stupid

I'm searching for British English expressions describing a person who starts to be stupid, crazy or foolish. I mean something like the idiom to lose one's head and epithets like: You fool! Are there ...
0
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1answer
67 views

“Communism is everyone's right to have other people's property” [closed]

I'm trying to translate a Russian idiom to English (see the title). The original was "Коммунизм это право каждого на чужое". Does it sound right? Is it understandable? Any suggestions for a better ...
5
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2answers
373 views

Spontaneous Photograph

Is there an expression for a spontaneously un-posed snapshot/photograph? The ones taken by surprise, that give that 'natural look'?
4
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1answer
314 views

grammar of “try as I might”

I understand the phrase "try as I might..." to mean "I'm trying very hard and still..." and I'm comfortable using it in the present tense. However, I don't understand the grammar of the phrase and ...
0
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2answers
136 views

Is “pride and joy” singular or plural?

Which is correct: Her pride and joy are ... Her pride and joy is ... Or does the use of 'are' or 'is' in this case depend on whether the object of the sentence is singular or plural?
0
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3answers
390 views

Phrases that mean “a really long time”? [closed]

I was telling my kids that sometimes there are many ways to say the same thing, especially with idiomatic phrases. I don't know why, but the simple phrase "a really long time" came to mind, and I ...
8
votes
1answer
179 views

Source of the phrase “call [somebody] out of name”

I was introduced today to the phrase "Call out of name" as in: She claimed the other girl called her out of name. I had to ask what it meant and the answer was "she called her a bitch". I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

What is the difference between “do more harm than good” and “has more bad to it than good”?

What is the difference between "do more harm than good" and "has more bad to it than good"? Do they literally mean "have more disadvantages than advantages"? Are they informal?
0
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2answers
115 views

What is the difference between the phrases “lose touch with reality” and “out of touch with reality”?

What is the difference between the phrases "lose touch with reality" and "out of touch with reality"? And can I use either of them to describe people who are addicted to video games?
0
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2answers
415 views

What is a “Talk to me goose” situation?

Can anybody explain me with an example for the above question? I have been hearing this lately, but whenever I get to hear it. I am quite confused of its usage. After doing some research I figured ...
0
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0answers
37 views

What does it mean “bites the dust” [duplicate]

As heard in "Another One Bites the Dust", by Queen and "Elastic Heart" by Sia.
1
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1answer
69 views

Meaning of “high in reach” regarding a training session

If an educational company described their session methodology as "high in reach" does it mean: the size of the audience the effectiveness of the training other? The original sentence in a press ...
1
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3answers
212 views

What's the origin of “strike a chord with…”

People use the phrase "x strikes a chord with me" to address enthusiasm or personal movement. I know there is another question that addresses what this idiomatic phrase means, but I'm very curious as ...
0
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2answers
71 views

Is “as it stands” used outside the UK?

Often used for presenting a tentative sports league table while games are still in play - "here's the league table as it stands..." (It kind of means "now", but implying the situation could change.) ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

{be} viewed as + ing-word

Is the expression "viewed as marking" considered idiomatic? I was wondering this because in the following SAT problem, the answer is no error. Jean Toomer was not only the author of Cane, a novel ...
1
vote
3answers
469 views

Why do we say “shame on you”?

"Shame on you" is a common expression used to reprove someone for something of which they should be ashamed. (ODO) Its usage as a set phrase appears to be from the beginning of the 19th ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

What does “pulls together a distance in dialogue” means?

It was a sociotype description: "TECHNOLOGIST (Si-ESTj) The sensory subtype is characterized by a differentiation between their internal stability and working capacity. Internally unstable, they are ...
0
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1answer
87 views

What does the idiom “to be known for” mean?

Ok, see this sentence "London is known for Big Ben". So, does the idiom "to be known for" mean "to be well-known for" or "to be famous for". Like "London is known (famous) for Big Ben"? I could not ...
0
votes
3answers
87 views

expression meaning “discerning between what is important and what is trivial”

Is there an appropriate expression for this in English? The context is a sentence about a particular worker in a company who would be a good candidate for a senior administrative position, because he ...
2
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1answer
117 views

Meaning of the phrase “Daylight coming in second”

I've come across the phrase "daylight coming in second" several times of late and am not 100% sure of the meaning. Here are several (1,2,3) examples where it appears which leads me to believe it may ...
6
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1answer
159 views

Why in Britain do we stop for a 'coffee', but a 'cup of tea'?

In polite company in Britain one asks ones guest if they have time for a coffee - usually if it is morning. But if it is afternoon one would ask them if they would like a cup of tea. Now this is not ...
0
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0answers
86 views

What is this mother doing?

I would write a dialogue piece between a mother and a son who are having a heated argument over something. The son is very angry at his mother because he is suffering from disease and frustrated with ...
2
votes
4answers
195 views

Alternatives to “Sleep in the bed you made” [duplicate]

I seem to recall one having something to do with the "hole you dug" but maybe I made that up. Either way, I'm interested in any other expressions of this form. And to clarify the expression means ...
17
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15answers
5k views

An idiom for “striking unnecessarily hard when the opponent is already weakened”

In Assamese there is an idiom that means 'striking unnecessarily hard when the opponent is already weakened'. Is there any such idiom in English that could mean the same?
1
vote
1answer
61 views

The role of preposition “out” in relation to a verb [closed]

I am already aware that a preposition after a verb turns it to a phrasal verb, which happens to almost have a completely different meaning from the verb alone. However, I noticed a very frequent usage ...
4
votes
4answers
255 views

Idiom/single word request for ignoring something wrong because it benefits one

I would like to know the idiom for ignoring something wrong because It is beneficial for one? Turn a blind eye is close, but It is not precisely about ignoring for benefit or gaining something. It is ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

“Not X so much as Y” vs. “not so much X as Y”

E.g. which don't describe an action so much as describe a state of being which don't so much describe an action as describe a state of being Are both constructions grammatically ...
-1
votes
1answer
58 views

Is the expression “we have to… follow the quick step” idiomatic?

In recent years, our country has a fast development, and we have to try hard to follow the quick step." I find the first phrase in bold type awkward, is it? Normally, I think it would be ‘our ...
4
votes
8answers
512 views

What do we call a person who cannot read people?

A person who has a low emotional IQ and is bad at reading people and decoding their expressions and body language. I don't think I need to give any statement for it. Edit: They do not have any ...
1
vote
2answers
259 views

What are other sayings or expressions for “I can't wrap my head around”?

What are other idioms or expressions for the phrase "I can't wrap my head around"?. In context: "But what I still can't wrap my head around is why she behaved like that"
-2
votes
1answer
57 views

What's the meaning of “I have a soul”?

From the TV series How I Met Your Mother. In episode 9 of season 1, titled: Mary the Paralegal, the following expression I have a soul is used. What does it mean when someone says: I have a soul? ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

The devil is in the details

Which would be a suitable alternative for the common idiom "The devil is in the details", without the use of the word "devil"? No detail is too small. or It's in the details. Alternative ...
0
votes
2answers
69 views

Meaning of: “I'll tell you something” [closed]

In the TV show, How I Met your Mother, I can't understand what the following words in bold type means Barney: How long has it been? (without sex) Ted: Fifty seven days Barney: Fifty ...
0
votes
1answer
303 views

“working fine” vs “working properly”

These two phrases have been widely used by my mates and me: My computer is working fine. My computer doesn't work properly. However, for some weird reason, it seems to me like these phrases ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

Is there an idiom for when you ask someone for help, and instead the person blames you?

You ask someone if they can help you with a problem, and instead of giving you a simple yes or no answer this individual uses the opportunity to attack you and says if you hadn't done that, or if you ...
4
votes
4answers
122 views

What would I call this 'attitude'?

A friend of mine has a bad habit of undermining people who are not the best in their respective fields. If in a car-race, player A wins out of 26 players (A,B,C...Z). He would claim 'A' to be the best ...
1
vote
2answers
196 views

Why is the idiom “the benefit of THE doubt” rather than “the benefit of doubt”?

I don't understand the use of a definitive article in this phrase. Isn't the meaning the same in both cases?
14
votes
9answers
1k views

Are there figurative English proverbs (or idioms) to mean an expert (or likely winner) makes a great mistake?

The latest news that Serena Williams lost the semi-final round of U.S. Open to an unseeded Italian player, Roberta Vinci, whom Williams had never lost in the past reminded me of Japanese proverb, ...
0
votes
2answers
119 views

What are some alternatives to the expression “take a page from”?

The sentence is "For more in depth stress-management techniques...I like to take a page from cognitive behavioral theory."
4
votes
2answers
1k views

To trust one as far as you can throw them

Does anybody know the source of this idiom or have an explanation of it's source? I know it means that the speaker does not trust the one in question, but I want to know the etymology of the idiom. ...
1
vote
5answers
163 views

phrase for when something is a benefit only if you're strong enough

I'm looking for a well-known phrase/idiom/quote/expression to express the meaning that something is good for you but only when you can handle it. For example, some medicine can cure a disease but ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Why can't synonyms be swapped out of any phrase since their meaning would be the same?

"Eye of the beholder" and "Eye of the viewer" mean the same thing because beholder and viewer are synonyms. Why can't they both be used? What about "slim chance" vs "slim possibility"? They both ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

“For most” vs “of many” Idiomatic Language

For example, which choice of idiomatic language would best serve the meaning of this particular sentence? My friend Allan is typical for most / of many programmers today in that he ponders for ...