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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21 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 ...
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4answers
3k views

Do 'learn by heart' & 'learn by rote' mean the same?

Here in India, both the phrases learning by heart and learning by rote are taken to have the same meaning, i.e., blind memorisation without true understanding. However, some sources say that to ...
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2answers
29 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 ...
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2answers
57 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 ...
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6answers
80 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. ...
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6answers
3k views

What does “stand to” mean in the sentence, “China’s Health Ministry stands to profit from the industry’s growth?”

I found the following sentence in an archive of the Financial Times articles dated August 29, 2007, which was titled “Chinese? Don’t get ill.” “The problems of the health system are tangled up in the ...
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11answers
1k 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 ...
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5answers
21k views

“Time is of the essence”… of what?

I'm having a hard time understanding the purpose or meaning of the definite article, the in the common phrase, Time is of the essence. My first thought is that it refers to the task that is ...
38
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2answers
79k views

Which is correct: “rack my brain” or “wrack my brain”?

Which is the correct usage: "rack my brain" or "wrack my brain"? Google turned up pages with conflicting recommendations. One argument is that to "rack a brain" comes from the torture device known ...
6
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4answers
7k views

What is this idiom: “I'm going to start taking names and…”?

There is some idiom that starts out like, "I'm going to start taking names and..." I can't remember the rest of it. What is it and when is it used?
2
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2answers
2k views

Have you a beef with me?

This is a curious idiomatic expression that I love. Is it more British or US in usage? But mostly, where does this "beef" come from?
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3answers
114k views
6
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3answers
575 views

Asking for an idiom according to literal translation

I translated a sentence into English: When the details are ignored, the whole problem will be ignored unintentionally Seems like a logical sentence that says when you don't consider all details ...
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2answers
44 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 ...
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3answers
45 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
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1answer
64 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 ...
8
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3answers
768 views

“Short for” vs. “Stands for”

A. US stands for "the United States". B. US is short for "the United States". What are the subtle differences between them?
3
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1answer
46 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 ...
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3answers
58 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 ...
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1answer
3k views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
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2answers
42 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.
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3answers
94 views

What's a good adjective or phrase to describe your feeling when confronted with absurdity? [on hold]

Say, you're supposed to be very angry at something but the situation is SO ABSURD that it becomes funny and you end up laughing at it instead. It cannot be having mixed or ambivalent feelings about ...
0
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1answer
70 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?
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3answers
268 views

“Go a long way to” + gerund vs infinitive

Which one is correct? If they all are correct, which construction is the most preferable? Why? The fund will go a long way to solving their problem. The fund will go a long way to solve their ...
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1answer
69 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." ...
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0answers
43 views
101
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17answers
13k views

Is there any English/American equivalent for the Hungarian phrase “beating the nettle with someone else's penis”?

I am trying to translate this comically vulgar Hungarian phrase, often (but not exclusively) used in a political context. It means to make someone else carry out one's rash or risky ideas, usually ...
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0answers
24 views

to criticize a lot without caring what others think?

I'm looking for an idiom, or part of an idiom, that means 'to criticize or complain a lot without caring what others think'. I vaguely remember it contains 'up' and 'down' or 'out' and'in'. Does ...
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2answers
1k views

Upset the apple cart meaning

I'm 32 and today was the first time I've heard the expression 'upset the apple cart' used. It was on reddit and the context was: "Once again, my colleague Stephen Hawking has upset the apple cart. ...
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1answer
63 views

Is “In any case, with 99.9% probability, …” correct?

I'm wondering whether the meaning of the idiom "in any case" still has a hint of "in every single case". I would like to say We expect an R² of 0.79 (in any case within 0.75 ± 0.15, with 99.9 % ...
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1answer
76 views

Come out of the closet

'Come out of the closet ' derives from the phrase 'a skeleton in the closet'. Why is it perfectly OK to say come out of the closet but not come out of the cupboard as a follow-on the British phrase ...
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5answers
18k views

“jury-rigged”, or “jerry-rigged”

As far back as I can remember, the usage went something like "Their jury was rigged, and that's how he got away." Or, "They Jerry-rigged the controller at the last moment and it worked!" I used to ...
9
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2answers
9k views

what is the origin of the phrase “a penny for your thoughts”?

Googling for the origin of "A penny for your thoughts," I have only found the origin of a likely-related phrase "my two cents" and simple dictionary entries for "a penny for your thoughts." What is ...
0
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1answer
54 views

What does it mean ?

I am learning English, but I am not familiar with idioms. Could somebody explain me in plain English what does it mean "I will need to come back to you on this request."
0
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1answer
75 views

Is there an idiom about “dying monkey”?

is there an idiom sounding like "monkey dies" or "monkeys died"? What does it mean? I've been wondering since I heard Robert Plant's song "Monkey": Tonight you will be mine | Tonight the monkey'll ...
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0answers
35 views

What does the term “coming up with something” means? [closed]

I've got a msg from a friend "did you come up with it?" That it does'nt make scene it that special dialog . Im was searching for more meaning and i just found this awesome website.
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2answers
14k views

Origin of “to have a cow”

The phrase "to have a cow" is defined as "to be very worried, upset, or angry about something" in Free Dictionary Online. Other sources also define it to mean to react very strongly and emotionally. ...
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4answers
2k views

Is the phrase “move over” an official English idiom? And if so, is it only in American English?

Is the phrase "move over" an official English idiom known worldwide? I would like to know: Is it an official English idiom (not slang or colloquial)? Is it known outside of the US (e.g. in the UK, ...
10
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4answers
8k views

“She is gone” versus “she has gone”

When should I say "She is gone", and when should I say "She has gone" (and why)? I think that when I mean "She went away and she's still there", it should be "She has gone". Are there exceptions ...
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2answers
198 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!
4
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4answers
93 views

Idiom for preparing very very thoroughly. ( take a lot of stuff for doing smth)

In Russian we have: Why did you take a lot of clothes and equipment? Are going to go to war? But what about English idiom?
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0answers
29 views

Using Idiomatic sentence [closed]

Have these items been developed based on different age groups? Is this sentence idiomatic? If not, how can I change it?
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4answers
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 ...
2
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4answers
102 views

Is there any saying or idiom equivalent to: “Hold your own hat, so the wind don’t blow it away?”

This saying refers to an individual who is not in a stable situation themselves, and worries about other people's problems. Please give me the English/American equivalent.
6
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5answers
1k views

Does the phrase “begging the question” make any sense?

I know what "begging the question" originally means, but I just can't make any sense of the idiom. The phrase really seems to have nothing to do with its own meaning. The original Latin phrase, ...
2
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4answers
10k views

Why is “bloody hell” offensive or shocking?

It seems to me that if one describes hell as 'bloody', that is simply describing one of the properties you'd expect of it. So, why is 'bloody hell' used as an offensive or shocking phrase?
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2answers
1k views

What is the source of “Long time no see,” and when did it enter U.S. English?

A question from almost two years ago asked "In which countries is that “long time no see” greeting common?" The question drew a number of answers that were squarely on point, but also a couple that ...
0
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1answer
27 views

“Contribution” correct Usage

What is the correct idiom? 1) His contributions to the field of medicine? 2) His contributions in the field of medicine? Please elaborate
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5answers
72 views

Phrases similar to “one man's trash is another man's treasure” [closed]

I'm looking for a similar phrase to: "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Any help would be appreciated.
2
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2answers
300 views

“She hasn't said but a few words to me…” or “She has said but a few words to me…”?

"She hasn't said but a few words to me since last winter." or "She has said but a few words to me since last winter." Which of these is right? I think the latter is heard more often, but ...