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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‘Concern of’ vs. ‘concern about’

Commercial builders downplayed ______ a bust in the superheated housing market. 1) The concern of 2) Concerns about The answer is number 2, but why does number 1 not work?
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0answers
9 views

Where can I find a good idiomatic dictionary with explanations and examples in plain text format?

I found dictionaries of this kind but in pdf format. I'm searching for one in plain text format ( well organized ) to build an app.
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3answers
102 views

Can One Jump To Good Conclusions?

Jump To Conclusions is noted in the free dictionary's entry for jump a few different ways: To form an opinion or judgment hastily: jump to conclusions. to proceed abruptly, ...
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1answer
43 views

What does it mean to wax a cross?

On the TV show Archer, the saying "get some wax for your cross" is used. What does it mean? I'm guessing from context it means that you carry around a cross so often you need wax for it.
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0answers
27 views

The Fires are up [on hold]

Can I say "The Fires are up" is this sentence correct in any way? I want to know if this statement can be used in any context possible. I have tried looking it up but found almost nothing about the ...
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0answers
25 views

i have some idiom, i want to know the meaning and if you can give example [on hold]

i have some idiom, i want to know the meaning and if you can give example To bury the hatchet To draw the long bow To mind one's p's and q's To let the cat out of the bag To ride the high horse ...
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5answers
2k views

What does “What price X?” mean?

I've come across phrases like "What price freedom?" a lot. I speak British English and it doesn't read nicely to me. It seems some words are missing. Does it mean "What is the price of X?"? Where did ...
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1answer
41 views

Origin, logic, and range of use of the verb ‘untrack’ and the phrase 'get untracked'

One of the terms that appears in Merriam-Webster’s Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) but not in the Tenth Collegiate (1993) or earlier editions of the Collegiate series is untrack: untrack vt ...
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3answers
906 views

What does “step up” mean?

Japan steps up cooling operation. This is from BBC.
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7answers
299 views

Is the idiom “what price [something]?” used here in the sense of “how about [something]?” - or not?

An excerpt from the movie 49th Parallel (1941), a dialogue between heroes. (the bulk of it by an anthropologist (A) writing about Indian tribes of Canada) (A) Yes, I've discovered some rather ...
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0answers
22 views

What does “slow and deliberate” means? [on hold]

She won the argument in a slow and deliberate way. I can grasp the overall meaning, but I'm wondering if it's an idiom or does deliberate has another meaning?
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4answers
1k views

What does “stuff one's nose into another's orifices” mean?

According to Maureen Dowd's article in New York Times (May 20) under the headline, “Remember to forget,” the European Court of Justice ruled last week that Google and other search engines can be ...
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4answers
13k views

Origin of the idiom “go south”

What's the origin of the idiom go south? Why is it go south only? Why not go southwest or go east? Are the direction-related idioms go south, go north, go east, and go west correlated? Example, go ...
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5answers
7k views

Is the valediction “see you later, alligator” used in English?

I have been reading a book about real English expressions and idioms. The first chapter deals with greetings. According to the section On departure, See you later, alligator is one of the ...
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23answers
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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2answers
296 views

What does “rock on Wayne” mean?

Could anyone tell me what does rock on Wayne mean? The context is Classes don't usually have data, but if they do, rock on Wayne.
3
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2answers
118 views

“Must of ” vs “must have”

I was browsing a completely unrelated site and came across the following interesting discussion on the ever increasing proliferation of the phrase, "must of": ... You mean "must have", btw. Or ...
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1answer
77 views

What does “Obama goes big” mean?

The article of New Yorker (November 21) begins with the following sentence under the title “Obama Goes Big on Immigration”: For a two-term President whom his critics used to call “the ...
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2answers
120 views

Origin of phrase “pulling for you”

When somebody is going through a difficult life situation, people will commonly say, "We're pulling for you." Where did this term come from? It sounds rather strange!
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3answers
437 views

“in a word” vs “in a sentence”

In a word, you are wrong! In a sentence, you are wrong! Which is more natural? I feel "in a word" is more common than "in a sentence", but "you are wrong!" consists of three words rather ...
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1answer
36 views

High and Tight Meaning

This is a quote from the movie Avatar: "Col. Quaritch: I want this mission high and tight. I wanna be home for dinner." I seem to remember hearing "high and tight" used elsewhere. But I couldn't pin ...
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2answers
50 views

Should/can the idioms “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” both support the main issue

The motivation for this question came from this Software (C#) question "Why is it faster to check if dictionary contains the key, rather than catch the exception in case it doesn't?" and ...
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6answers
9k views

Why “hoist” in “Hoist with one's own petard”?

He was hoist with his own petard is one of my father's favorite phrases. As a child I had developed a vague understanding of the idiom in which petard was a kind of flag, which is why it was hoist, ...
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2answers
89 views

Liquid Metaphors in the World of Finance

I want to use the terms in bold, to illustrate how these aquatic expressions can be used to a student of mine who is a trader. Obviously, I've exaggerated and greatly simplified the theme but I would ...
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4answers
6k views

Is it “If money were not an object” or “If money were not an option”?

The phrase "If money were not an option" is often used to mean "Don't worry about how much it would cost". However, I just noticed that the last word, option, makes it sound like saying "If spending ...
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4answers
4k views

What does “on a hiding to nothing” mean?

I watched a movie with English actors just the other day and came across this phrase in the dialogue. What does it mean, and who would typically use it? EDIT: Sorry, I'm terrible about these ghost ...
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11answers
29k views

What words can I use to indicate how hungry I am?

Besides "I'm hungry" and "I'm starving", where starving is more than hungry, are there other phrases to indicate how hungry you are (including slangs, if any)?
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0answers
31 views

Is *to see something through* a productive phrasal verb?

Some verbs in English make the use of additional particles, often called prepositions, due to the fact that they are always homophonous. I do not call them adverbs because I claim they are not always ...
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3answers
69 views

What is a possible equivalent for *not worth the paper it's written on*

What is a possible modern equivalent, in our internet, and supposedly paperless age, of the expression not worth the paper it's written on.
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3answers
699 views

What is the origin of “I calls ’em like I sees ’em”?

This expression seems to be pretty widespread, for example being in Wiktionary and Futurama. Does anyone know what the origin is? Also, what kind of dialect might I calls or I sees be?
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10answers
2k views

Etymology of “medicine” and its Native American usage

What is the etymology of the word medicine and how did it come to be used by Native Americans to describe something that does not strictly meet the denotative meaning of medicine? Or is that just a ...
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0answers
35 views

When did “down” or “down with” in the sense of approval start to be used?

Uses include: "She's down," an absent member of a group is known to think something is a good idea or wants to do it and "I'm down with that," I like that idea, I want to do that, include me in, etc. ...
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4answers
80 views

“One in a million” or “A million to one”?

Last week I took part in an English course, and the teacher was constantly saying a million to one (when he meant "an extremely small possibility"). Is this correct? Is it the same as one in a ...
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3answers
12k views

Meaning of the phrase “put down one's papers”

In India, the phrase "put down one's papers" means to submit one's resignation at a workplace. Is this usage universal? I suspect this is Indian.
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38 views

Common way to express that my guess is right [closed]

How do you say to express your guess is right? Example You guessed Yankees would beat Red socks, and actually Yankees won. How do you express that your guess was right?
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4answers
838 views

What does “There’s less to the deal than meets the eye,” mean?

There was the following passage in New Yorker’s (November 18) article that came under the title, ”Is China really going green?”: “But here was President Xi Jinping pledging that, by 2030, his ...
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3answers
163 views

Can the word “proxy” be used as a preposition?

At the end of a sentence, I want to insert the following (parentheses included): (proxy my parents, of course). E.g., I sent my brother to his room (proxy my parents, of course). But this ...
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2answers
6k views

Where does “Look yourself in the mirror” come from?

Where does "unable to look myself in the mirror" come from? related example: ...I asked her what she does if after six months or so it becomes obvious that a salesperson is not bringing in ...
3
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3answers
347 views

Does the expression, “As sound as a pound” still holds its currency?

There is the following sentence in the New York Time’s (July 24) article titled, “A Chinese gold standard?” written by its Op-Ed Contributor, Kwasi Kwarteng. “For most of the 19th century the ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “paint it black” and when to use it?

I stumbled upon the phrase "paint it black" in a tv series (Elementary) and was wondering what does it exactly mean? Also, in which situations would you use it normally? Except when you tell the ...
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3answers
45 views

“Meandered about” or “meandered around”?

Consider a person who slowly wanders through a large room. Would such a person "meander about" or "meander around" the room? John meandered _____ the hall. Since it is customary to write "walked ...
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2answers
1k views

How old is the expression “as if”?

It's a pretty simple question, but just to clarify, I am talking about the expression used by itself, not just in a sentence. So not: — Have you seen Ted? — Yes! He flew through here as if his ...
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1answer
73 views

Use of the phrase “so that”

In my current understanding, after the phrase "so that" should be the purpose of the action/incident preceding to "so that". For example: Darwinism must die so that evolution may live. However I ...
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6answers
10k views

What does “everything's gone pear-shaped” mean?

I've recently heard this phrase spoken twice on a British television show, and I assume it means something along the lines of, "everything's fallen apart," generally meaning, things are bad right now. ...
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2answers
104 views

“Jimmy did his homework and so didn't his brother” Is this correct?

Shouldn't it be "...and so did his brother"? I got confused when I read the original sentence in an American newspaper some time ago. It read something like this: "US Representative from ...
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3answers
3k views

What does “enough” mean in expressions like “Fair enough” or “Funny enough”?

As a non-native speaker, I already get used to the word enough in expressions like those below, but I sometimes still got confused of it. It makes me wonder what it actually means and where does it ...
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4answers
3k views

Describe someone who stays “True to themselves”

What's another word or phrase for "true to himself"? He remains true to himself even when his friend is murdered. In this case, let's say 'He' is some sort of activist whose friend is murdered ...
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7answers
36k views

Original Meaning of Blood is thicker than water, is it real?

I recently read that the phrase "Blood is thicker than water" originally derived from the phrase "the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb", implying that the ordinary meaning ...
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3answers
65 views

An idiom for “seen clearly” or “plainly”

I'm looking for a way to convey how multiple things are very well seen from a certain vantage point. In my native language there is a very appealing expression for that, that can be translated as ...
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3answers
32k views

What's the origin of the idiom “to cut your teeth on something”?

I understand that it means to acquire a new skill, but what does it refer to? It makes me cringe every time I read it!