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
82 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
145 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
997 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
110 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
238 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
132 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
890 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
220 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
511 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
94 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
116 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
113 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
301 views

Where did the expression “it's lonely at the top” come from?

Some variations of this are it's lonely at the top but you eat better and it's lonely at the top but the view is nice a look at google ngrams seems to suggest it started to pick up in the ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Rub it in on me OR Rub it in me?

I want to say this person likes to be sarcastic to me. Is it, "He always rubs it in on me" OR "He always rubs it in me"?
2
votes
4answers
536 views

What does “Screw motivation” mean? [closed]

There is an essay whose title is Screw motivation, what you need is discipline. I can understand its main idea, but can not figure out the exactly meaning of Screw motivation in the title. Could you ...
1
vote
3answers
227 views

Run by stopwatch

what's the meaning of "run by a stopwatch"? I found it in this sentence : "The pressing problem for Blackmore was making a quick adjustment to the American lifestyle that felt like it was run by a ...
1
vote
7answers
297 views

What idioms can describe a tough or difficult thing (such as a test)?

An easy test (or similar undertaking) might be described as 'a piece of cake' Are there any idioms to describe a test (etc.) that is difficult?
4
votes
2answers
379 views

What is the derivation of “peanuts” meaning “of little value”?

The phrase working for peanuts is common (at least in American English) to indicate that someone is compensated very little. The word peanuts is defined by Oxford Online as (peanuts) informal A ...
3
votes
2answers
475 views

Idiom: to be off the wall

When I come across idioms that are not transparent I try to find out what is behind such expressions. In the case of "to be off the wall" one does not see anything that might lead to the meaning ...
4
votes
4answers
207 views

“You 're telling me” - What kind of expression is this?

In normal everyday language we use hundreds, if not thousands of special formulas which are ready-made or fixed expressions and that we use in a very specific situation and that don't fit in any other ...
9
votes
13answers
1k views

Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

Synonyms for “freak show” or idioms for a “working awkwardness”

What are other expressions that describe some prepared, working awkwardness, that's is worth to show because it does work and/or is interesting, and even maybe solves some problems? Example of such ...
10
votes
1answer
980 views

“Gun an engine” vs. “Rev an engine”

The driver of the van brakes sharply at every red light or junction and guns the engine when we move off. I begin to sweat—travelling sideways isn't helping. "To gun the engine" is a new ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

“To Put the flag up the pole and see who salutes”

Is this a common expression? Is it used in an ironic way nowadays? If the latter is the case: Is there a similar phrase that is usually not used ironically?
1
vote
1answer
160 views

How to say “in the strict … of the term”?

I am not quite sure if the following expression makes sense in English: in the strict meaning of the term Is it right? Should the word meaning be replaced by sense? The meaning of the phrase ...
0
votes
1answer
274 views

“Paper never refused ink” - has any one heard a more modern/online version?

I'd imagine most of us have heard of the phrase "paper never refused ink", roughly meaning "they'll" print anything. Can anybody think of a more modern/online version?
0
votes
1answer
276 views

Meaning of 'head screwed tightly to one's shoulders' [closed]

I came across a comment on The Economist article about hardships people working on lower wages or living off disability payments face. In one of the comments, one commentator narrates a story of a ...
7
votes
7answers
589 views

The statues were unheralded for almost a century - a better idiom/phrase

British experts found two rare bronze statues crafted by Michelangelo. What idiom or phrase can describe either the state or the period for which the invaluable piece of art remained hidden from ...
3
votes
1answer
846 views

Why not “on a street”? [closed]

Why do people say "I met him on the street" instead of "on a street", even though they're talking about a street for the first time and another person doesn't know what exact street they mean?
4
votes
2answers
178 views

Is the idiom “cotton to” still heard in parts and, if so, where?

To "cotton to" is an idiom born of the cotton industry, meaning to get to know or understand something. In the textile industry, when a fiber cottons, it does a good job of blending in with other ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Super Bowl commercial

Help please! What does the boy on the bus say? Is that an idiom? https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=85114404&v=dKUy-tfrIHY
1
vote
1answer
36 views

What is the correct term in English prose for HTML page or html page?

I've seen prose referring to HTML pages and html pages. What is the correct English written description (assuming in modern English - in a written technical book) for an html page? Open the HTML ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

Etymology of “cut someone some slack”

Teenagers. All the literature tells you one thing and one thing only – that whatever they are doing, give them a break, cut them some slack, it's normal. From the novel, Apple Tree Yard I'm ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Singular or plural verbs with idioms that start with singular articles [duplicate]

I wonder which verb form, singular or plural, is grammatically correct in the following sentence: "Education and welfare is/are a matter of concern to us."
2
votes
5answers
503 views

phrase for being prepared for a potential challenge

There is a phrase in Malay that goes "prepare an umbrella before the rain", meaning one must be prudent and proactive of future challenges by making all the preparations necessary. I would like the ...
5
votes
4answers
852 views

To outstay vs. overstay one's welcome

I came across the expression "outstayed my welcome" in the following excerpt of a novel I glance around and see that the café has filled up with people ordering lunch and that a couple is queuing ...
2
votes
3answers
69 views

You can only do so many of them

I heard this one in a documentary about foot fetish. The woman who produces fetish videos says: A lot men like feet. But you can only do so many of them. What does this mean? I googled but ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

Are idioms impervious to grammatical rules?

I heard someone on the radio this morning who was talking about some interest rate say, "[such and such an interest rate] will remain at one point two percent, in other words: low." Since "low" is ...
3
votes
6answers
112 views

Long trip for small reward?

There's a German idiom (I think) for a long trip for a small reward. For example, driving from New York to Boston to buy a roast beef sandwich. Has a connotation of taking a trip for the trip's sake. ...
5
votes
11answers
2k views

Idiom for being stubborn about an opinion

Is there an idiom for the action when someone holds tightly onto his opinion? Like you keep to try convincing that person again and again but he keeps that opinion? I made some research but I ...
3
votes
4answers
97 views

Is there a name for this: an idiom that ambiguously refers to itself?

Two examples I can think of: The athlete's Achilles heel was her Achilles heel. The chef's bread and butter is his bread and butter. In both cases, the order of the idiom and the thing it ...
1
vote
3answers
68 views

What is the word or idiom equivalent to henpecked?

This is the meaning of hen-pecked from urban dictionary: When a male complies to ever single demand of his girlfriend or wife, and the female is in complete control of her man. A hen-pecked male will ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

What's the meaning of “mean” in “in the mean time”?

As I understand it "in the mean time" means "in the time between now & a specific future occurrence." What's the meaning of "mean" here? I assume it has something to do with "average" but it's ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“As for me” in the beginning of the sentence

Could I use "As for me" in the beginning of the sentence? For example, when somebody asks the whole group of people what was done, and one in that group answers what he did: "As for me, I did that ...
8
votes
3answers
920 views

“Short for” vs. “Stands for”

US stands for "the United States". US is short for "the United States". What are the subtle differences between them?
-3
votes
2answers
144 views

Idiom or phrase meaning

I can not find the meaning of this phrase: perished of fits. What does it mean? It is an idiom? Thanks for help and understanding.
0
votes
1answer
91 views

What does “to give a buck about” mean?

What does the expression to give a buck about mean? I could not find the definition of that expression in my dictionaries. I think it shows a lack of interest about something. Am I wrong?
1
vote
3answers
148 views

Idiom for: managing to solve a big problem only to be frustrated by a smaller problem

What would be an idiom for solving a massive problem and then only getting hindered by a small problem? So after solving a hard problem, getting stopped by the easy problem. It would not be: out of ...
1
vote
1answer
178 views

What is the meaning of “He's got his quiver full”?

It was part of a dialogue I read some time ago: A. "His wife is pregnant again." B. "Really? He's got his quiver full, hasn't he?" A. "He has, and I tell you, he should know better." ...