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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1answer
59 views

That's a lot of 'pizza'!

I've heard this expression on TV suggesting 'a lot/(too)big amount of something'. Is it just an extension of the expression that's a lot? Is it a common expression (AmE or BrE) or just a one-off ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

“Caldoniafied” In General Use in the 1980s?

I am curious about the word "Caldoniafied" meaning, roughly, hard headed, and presumably coming from the song entitled "Caldonia" ("Caldonia, Caldonia, what makes your big head so hard?". )Louis ...
3
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6answers
6k views

What is the origin of the phrase “needle in a hay stack”?

What is the origin of the phrase "needle in a hay stack"? Initially I thought it was a game once played but I haven't found any mention of it outside of it's idiomatic use.
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0answers
38 views

Is there any other way of the expression on this phrase? His breathing was becoming less labored

Or, "Eventually, the old guinea pig was unable to move and her breathing was labored." I am looking for other way of saying in an exactly same meaning.
0
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0answers
28 views

How to tell effectively, When someone just follows the existing custom or system as it is, without asking any questions [on hold]

How to tell effectively, When someone just follows the existing custom or system as it is, without asking any questions. Sometime people just follow the existing custom or systems as it is, without ...
0
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2answers
56 views

What do 'drive' and 'hard' refer to in 'drive a hard bargain'?

If I have to say that "this person(X) does very good bargaining" in a more refined way, I should ideally write "X drives a hard bargain". (I saw it in a book). I know that I have to use 'bargain' word ...
4
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3answers
4k views

What is the origin of 'common or garden'?

Why do we speak, for example, of a 'common or garden' bicycle, meaning one that simply does the job of a bicycle without alloy wheels, Sir Bradley Wiggins pedals or any other bells and whistles. ...
0
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1answer
76 views

Common word for two people who want to meet but are not acquaintances

I'm looking for a word to describe two people (instructor and student), who are trying to find time to met each other. Preferably one or two word expression.
0
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3answers
74 views

Proper response to “Do the needful”, when the “needful” might not be clearly defined

I have worked in various places where "do the needful" is quite the common idiom. However, in some situations, both parties might not be quite aligned precisely with what falls under the scope of ...
5
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4answers
695 views

English-language equivalent to the Russian idiom, 'Not let someone within firing distance near X'

I've been hard put to come up with the most appropriate English expression for a particular Russian one. In Russian, an expression that roughly translates as "To not let someone come near X within a ...
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6answers
5k views

Why are reveries sometimes called “brown” studies?

Though this idiom is by no means very common, one comes across it now and then. (I just came across it again today, which is why I'm asking this question.) Why is a "brown study" so named?
2
votes
1answer
75 views

How to understand “cat's evening wear”?

I really had a difficult time to understand this. It comes from a book I am reading, and it is used to describe a concept the author speaks highly of. Does it mean that something is very special? Or ...
0
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2answers
53 views

Looking for a phrase: a needlessly overcomplicated method of accomplishing a simple task [duplicate]

In my language, there is an expression for this - you can touch the tip of your nose normally, or you can move your hand behind your neck, across it, then touch the tip of the nose from the opposite ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

You cannot “eat your cake and have it” or “have your cake and eat it”?

Which is it? You cannot eat your cake and have it, too. meaning you can have it or you can eat it, but once it's gone there's no cake left to eat. You cannot have your cake and eat it, ...
2
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5answers
4k views

Origin of “to have an axe to grind”

Where does the idiom to have an axe to grind come from? To have personal, selfish reasons to do or say something.
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2answers
85 views

“be on holiday” and “be on camping”

A private student's story contained the cited line below, which sounded awkward and strange. “I was on camping with my family” I know you can “go on holiday”, but you can't “go on camping”. ...
2
votes
4answers
52 views

Synonyms for wondering hard

Can someone help me to identify some English synonyms/idioms meaning to "wonder so hard"? The word or phrase I'm looking for could be used in a situation where somebody tries to solve a very confusing ...
3
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6answers
8k views

Origin of “to blow your own horn”

What's the origin of the idiom "to blow your own horn"? Is there some metaphor behind it with some animal horn or whatnot?
0
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3answers
289 views

Need native expressions for “something happened but no one wants to undertake the responsibility”

Are there native expressions in oral and formal writing English about something happened - mostly negative incidents or events, but those, who should be responsible for it , don't want to undertake ...
0
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2answers
6k views

“two kinds of” or “two kind of”

In the sentence: The two methods require two different kinds of prior information a colleague of mine suggests that it should be "kind of" instead. I was quite certain that the first form was ...
7
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4answers
896 views

Better than the next?

I've heard people using this idiom, such as "each day is better than the next", or "you hope that each experience you have is better than the next" (heard this one on a TV show not long ago), ...
12
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10answers
2k views

Is there an idiom that corresponds to the Hungarian expression “fall off the other side of the horse”?

There's a Hungarian phrase that can be literally translated as something like "fall off the other side of the horse". (The literal implication is either that instead of falling off this side of the ...
1
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2answers
42 views

“I don't believe you” VS “I don't believe that you did that”

For examples, if A washed the dishes and came to B to tell him that, but B didn't believe it. Should B say: I don't believe that you washed the dishes ! Or just I don't believe you ! Is ...
0
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0answers
72 views

How to reply to the question 'make sense'? [closed]

When I ask a question to my TAs. They explain, and then sometimes ask "make sense?" I don't know how to reply to this. Should I say "yes, it makes sense"? I want to know what you guys reply to TA if ...
11
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8answers
12k views

Where did the idiom “giving a heads up” come from?

I know giving heads up means to inform someone, but how does that relate to the literal meaning i.e. giving heads up? What's the background? Where did it come from?
0
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3answers
101 views

(go) off the boil

"(go)off the boil" seems to mean "past the crisis" in British English. What is the origin/etymology of this expression? Is it used nowadays?
0
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1answer
49 views

What to use for 'first unimpressive but later better'?

I will explain a few situations : It is often the case that I listen to a song which doesn't impress me in the first minute or so but as it progresses, I like it A trained batsmen struggles in the ...
3
votes
2answers
106 views

Is “Gone to Texas” a widespread idiom?

I have just learnt an idiom Gone to Texas which "was a phrase used by Americans immigrating to Texas in the 19th century often to escape debt". I like it. But is this idiom still used? Will native ...
25
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7answers
5k views

Is 'I f*cked the dog' an actual idiom and are there alternatives

I am a non-native speaker from Germany. In German there's one idiom that goes: Sich die Eier schaukeln Literally translated, this means "to rock the eggs", where "the eggs" are testicles. This ...
3
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4answers
18k views

What does “I am all yours” mean?

In the sentence If you can change his idea, I am all yours. What does I am all yours mean?
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3answers
944 views

What does “cat in the hat” mean? [closed]

I have seen this idiom recently. Cat in the hat. What does it mean?
0
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3answers
45 views

What is the verb omitted in an idiom like “back to the drawing board?”

"Back" is used in many expressions. For example, something like "Well, it’s Monday morning. Back to the salt mines" is often said. Would the full sentence be "I'll be back the salt mines" or "I'll go ...
4
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between “Strike the match” and “Strike a match”?

In reference to my question about the meaning of “It’s one thing to dance like Fred Astaire, but Ginger did it backwards in high heels,” on the Time magazine’s article (June 29) of John Roberts’ ...
0
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1answer
38 views

What is the origin of “to leave to one's own devices”?

My father-in-law noted that when I leave my children to their own devices, nowadays it could mean that they were each playing on their own iPhone. It got me to wondering what the source of this ...
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1answer
345 views

Do I understand the phrase “due time pal” correctly?

I thanked someone really important for following me on Instagram. his reply: due time pal Does it mean that it was time to do so? thanks
0
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3answers
47 views

“It works for you” vs “it goes with you”

Example: "I like your nickname. It works for you." "I like your nickname. It goes with you." The first one has 3 hits on Google Books. The second has 1. But, still I'm a bit confused. ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Is there a word for the relationship between my cousin's family and mine?

My mother's brother is my "uncle". His son is my "cousin". His wife is my "aunt". Each of these words names a specific person based on their familial relationship to me. Together the three of them ...
0
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0answers
15 views

The converse of 1up is …? [migrated]

In videogames we usually see that extra new lives are called 1up. What would the converse of 1up be? 1 down?
3
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2answers
38k views

Die hard or die heart?

I just saw someone write that they were a "die heart" fan. I always thought the term was supposed to be "die hard" but I decided to google it just in case I was wrong. Google was unable to give me a ...
1
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5answers
8k views

Which would you use 'go for a swim' or 'going swimming'

Which would you use 'go for a swim' or 'going swimming'? I am going swimming today. I go for a swim today.
7
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4answers
2k views

“Come Hell or high water” vs “Lord willing and the creek don't rise”

Recently I've wondered about two idioms which have a strange relationship. Come Hell or high water and Lord willing and the creek don't rise Grammatical accuracy, alternative ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the origin of the phrase “fresh off the back”?

I often come across this phrase "fresh off the back of something" and although I could never find it in a dictionary, I figured out it means "right after something" but what does it really mean "off ...
0
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6answers
2k views

Pessimism idiom - opposite of rose-tinted glasses?

In Hebrew, we say "pink glasses" to mean optimistic observation, and "black glasses" for pessimism. I was trying to figure out how popular the literal translations are in English. I found "rose-tinted ...
0
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1answer
39 views

Doing this also does or causes that type of sentence

I am writing the instructions of a piece of software I am working on and I would like to remind the user that running the specified computer command will also have a secondary effect of installing ...
5
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6answers
3k views

“Best is enemy of the good” (Russian idiom/saying)

What are English equivalents for following Russian idiom: "best is enemy of the good"? In Russian it means that if you are going too much after perfection you may make things even worse instead of ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “I'll be John Brown” a common phrase?

The phrase: I'll be John Brown! is an occasionally-used term in North Carolina. Mostly thought to replace taking the Lord's name in vain (GD). Is it used elsewhere? How long has it been ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

'not fool enough to dance on the old strings', is it an idiom? This phrase is from 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells

In the book of 'The Invisible Man' by Wells, there is this sentence; "Kemp, you're not fool enough to dance on the old strings. Can't you see my position?" In this particular scene, Griffin(the ...
2
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4answers
248 views

Connotation of dislike in 'Credit where credit is due'

I am a non-native speaker and I wonder whether or not there is a connotation of disagreement in the idiom Credit where credit is due Would one say this only in a situation where a statement was ...
0
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1answer
83 views

Origin/first known use of the phrase 'I've got some good news and some bad news'

When was the idiom, "I've got some good news and some bad news" first used, or when did it become a common joke?
2
votes
4answers
480 views

What does “off the hook” mean?

I just saw this on internet and i know this is a slogan and how to use it too, but i dont know the whole meaning of this phrase.