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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3
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2answers
24 views

Alternative ways to say “I am feeling pushed to the ground”

Assume a get together where a group of friends are having chit chat over tea. Suddenly they plan to pull someone's leg together. No matter what the person in the spotlight says, people are not ...
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Whatever tickles their fancy in the US?

The delightful-sounding tickle your fancy is, I think, one of those rare idioms where the word order can be reversed and its meaning changes; the request: fancy a tickle? said with a raised eyebrow ...
3
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4answers
55 views

Is there an idiom or word or phrase for having good luck when you also had bad luck?

E.g.: He fell off a cliff, but he only broke his leg. Was he lucky or unlucky? He was unlucky he fell off a cliff but he was also lucky that he only broke his leg. So he was both! Is there a ...
2
votes
2answers
375 views

Tower of Babel, what is the meaning of the following verse?

What is the meaning of the following verse from Bernie Taupin's Tower of Babel as sung by Elton John on the album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy? Those hungry hunters Tracking down the ...
-1
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0answers
32 views

Looking for a phrase

I know there's a phrase for this I just can't remember what it is. It means basically that you don't have an opinion in an argument. What I do know is "I don't have a ____ in this fight". This is ...
7
votes
8answers
3k views

What does “too on the nose” mean?

What does "too on the nose" mean, especially as applied to art? I use the expression but struggle to explicitly articulate what I mean. My best attempt is that I use it to refer to film, music, etc. ...
2
votes
4answers
619 views

Idiom wanted for means and ends

There is a common Russian expression, literally translated as "winners are not judged". The meaning is that one can get away with cutting corners and/or employing less-than-wholesome means in pursuit ...
14
votes
7answers
10k views

How do you get from the literal meaning of “all bets are off” to the idiom?

Most everyone knows what the common turn of phrase all bets are off means: "anything can happen." But all idioms have to start from somewhere, and the question I'm wondering is how did this one start. ...
15
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16answers
2k views

Idiom meaning diverting somebody's attention from a topic which you don't want to talk on

Is there an idiom or expression which means diverting somebody's attention with profuse talk about irrelevant things and trying to change a topic which is unpleasant to you or which you just don't ...
1
vote
3answers
77 views

“Don't cut yourself on that edge”

What does the idiom don't cut yourself on that edge mean? I have seen it being used on multiple occasions, but could not find anything on the web that explains this idiom.
3
votes
1answer
50 views

Grammar of present perfect continous of sit and stand

I've often been seeing phrases like the following lately: s/he has been stood s/he has been sat used instead of the present perfect continous i.e.: s/he has been standing s/he has ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Avoiding Ignorance

Is the phrase "avoid ignorance" idiomatic? In my mind something is wrong about the combination of the verb "avoid" and the noun "ignorance".
3
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2answers
161 views

Expression meaning crying in reaction to beauty [closed]

Is there a word or phrase that means crying because of beauty or crying in reaction to beauty?
2
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1answer
105 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 ...
2
votes
8answers
98 views

Maxims that have to do with persistence?

I am looking for idiomatic expressions that convey the value of persistence, such as a long, drawn-out battle where the victor is necessarily the person who simply outlasted the other. I know there is ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Etymology of “the fix is in”

The common phrase “the fix is in” means that the outcome of an event or process has been covertly manipulated to ensure a result that would otherwise be determined by chance or a fair test of some ...
4
votes
8answers
100 views

Looking for idiom meaning “to make many serious or stupid mistakes”

I'm working on a translation with the guidelines to make it as accurate as possible, so dynamic equivalence is important. My provisional translation is "to screw up royally," but it feels a bit too ...
0
votes
2answers
28 views

“Right up one's alley?” Formal/in-formal?

Is "Right up my alley" formal enough to use in a cover letter/job application etc? If not, are there any alternative idioms? It sounded right to me and I was just about to use it in a formal ...
0
votes
1answer
103 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.
23
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11answers
3k views

Idiom for the effect that money from funding is easier to spend, as opposed to one's own savings

I am looking for an idiom in English, if it exists. In Czech it goes like "Z ciziho krev netece", literally "Someone else's property never bleeds" which was probably originally meant to describe the ...
9
votes
11answers
8k views

“You get what you deserve nothing more nothing less”

In this world we reside, what we acquire depends on what we can acquire. In other words, if we have the money to, we can buy a house; if we have the necessary educational qualifications to, we can get ...
0
votes
2answers
120 views

What does it mean to “gum the spoon”?

I recently found out about a new term. It's "gum the spoon". What does it mean? By the various contexts I found, I conjecture that it means to add saliva onto the spoon or to hold the spoon in one's ...
35
votes
14answers
6k views

Is there a word or an idiom for people who only spend their families' money and fool around?

Is there a word or an idiom for rich people who spend only their families' money and do not bother to work, just fool around?
11
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the reasoning for the idiom “in and of itself” having the meaning it has?

"In and of itself" is a phrase I find myself using all the time. But in and of itself, the phrase "in and of itself" has no meaning. That is, the individual words don't seem to contribute to the whole ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

An idiom to describe someone who thinks he/she is wiser than others

Is there an idiom in English to describe someone who thinks he/she is smarter/wiser than everyone else? In Polish, we have an idiom, which literally translated, would sound like: He/she has eaten ...
4
votes
9answers
584 views

Equivalent for the Persian idiom “Khaste Nabaashid”

We Persian speakers have a common idiom, Khaste Nabaashid, and usually say it to someone who finished a task or is in the middle of doing that. The literal translation of the idiom is something like ...
0
votes
3answers
42 views

What does I'm just out of my size mean?

What does I'M OUT OF MY SIZE mean? IN the following context. A: I don't know all about you but I can't make any sense of that at all ? B: Me too. I'm just out of my size.
0
votes
1answer
79 views

What does this vulgar expression mean?

I found several mentions, only online, and have no idea what this means. But obviously people repeat this phrase, so they mean something particular. Here is one example: It is still morning here ...
32
votes
9answers
7k views

What does it mean to call someone a 'drink of water'?

What does it mean when you call someone a 'drink of water', like at the end of this clip from the Shawshank Redemption? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD07V7Lwacc It's intended as an insult from the ...
7
votes
9answers
23k views

What is an idiom/slang for “someone who pretends to be good when they're not”?

This is not from real life, but from a movie on my local TV. A character in the movie is really bad, but when she talks with others, she pretends to be an innocent/ good woman. I want to know how to ...
0
votes
2answers
133 views

On origin and usage of 'sight unseen'

The expression sight unseen is generally used with the meaning: Without having viewed the object in question, as in He bought the horse sight unseen. The American Heritage Dictionary ...
5
votes
10answers
3k views

The meaning of “blue canoe” in the lyrics of “Where to Now, St. Peter” sung by Elton John

In his song Where to Now, St. Peter, Sir Elton John sings: I took myself a blue canoe, And I floated like a leaf Dazzling, dancing half enchanted In my Merlin sleep. Crazy was the ...
8
votes
5answers
12k views

Why does to “take a powder” mean to run away or to leave?

From Flappers to Rappers: American youth slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites "take a powder" as a 1930s expression meaning to run away or to leave. Does anyone have any ideas why taking a powder would ...
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votes
1answer
41 views

“No time” meaning [closed]

Good day all. I would like to know what exactly Cecile McLorin Salvant has in mind when saying "no time" in the song called "Nobody"? Does it mean "never"? "Nobody, I will never do nothing for ...
0
votes
2answers
50 views

Is it “involved with” or “involved in”?

In the following sentence, should "in" or "with" be used? "They are all involved ____ the program." Assuming there is one correct way to say it, is there ever a situation where the other is used, or ...
1
vote
2answers
149 views

Why does 'pine feather period' signify the period in a woman's life when she blossoms?

A book titled Flappers 2 Rappers lists youth slang from the 1920s, and one of the terms it lists is "pine feather period." "Pine feather period" is defined as a period in a woman's life when she ...
0
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4answers
67 views

Is there an Idiom where a person praises another to get his work done?

Is there a Idiom where a person praises another to get his work done ? This usually happens in my work environment. Few execs praise my work just to dump it over me and get their job done. -- ...
1
vote
4answers
83 views

What does 'Apply yourself' really mean? [on hold]

For a long long time, I thought that applying oneself meant that whatever I know, I should be able to apply that to a problem that is presented to me. For example, if I was asked something, and I ...
8
votes
5answers
7k views

Where does “on one's last legs” come from?

To be on one's last legs means to be worn out, tired, run down, and ready to die or otherwise cease working. Some examples I've found are Grandfather is on his last legs. He'll be on his way to ...
0
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5answers
5k views

Phrase or expression meaning “getting more than you bargained for”

I'm writing an article and I'd appreciate a more sophisticated phrase for the term "getting more than you bargained for". All help is greatly appreciated.
1
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3answers
625 views

What does “trigger-happy on broken windows” mean?

What does this expression mean: to be "trigger-happy on broken windows"
2
votes
5answers
7k views

Is the idiom 'burn the midnight oil' not used as much lately?

When I said 'We burnt the midnight oil.', an American guy seemed to have a tough time trying not to laugh. Is this expression so old? How about 'We did/pulled all-nighters'?
0
votes
0answers
51 views

What is the meaning of “how did you fare out”?

I was in a conversation with a person and I told them that I'm doing a wild guess (on something) to which the person replied, 'How did you fare out?' What is the meaning of this? Is this specific to ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

“Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)”

"Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)" (idiom, used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good: OxfordLearnersDictionariesOnline) It seems to be of relatively recent origin, if there's really a ...
2
votes
3answers
121 views

What does “our bone chattering” mean in this excerpt?

What does "bone chattering" mean? For example when someone says: "our bone was chattering". I am not talking about teeth chattering. After, only six Little Fish survive. Me and Siv and Kha and ...
0
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

Idioms for diffrentiating the experience of dealing with drones versus expert professionals

I'm looking for a means of expressing a type of individual (or the burden of dealing with a type of individual) that is hired/outsourced but is not autonomous, initiated nor can they deliver anything ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Is there any authoritative source from where we can find out if a phrase or figure of speech is American English or British English? [closed]

For example the figure of speech " One swallow doesn't make a summer" is British English. Similarly the figure of speech 'All hat and no cattle" is American English. Is there any source from where ...
0
votes
3answers
84 views

Another term for “middle to upper management”?

I'm trying to express a vocational range of experience. Can anyone conceive of an alternative way of articulating the following: Middle to upper management. I conducted a browser search but ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

“Writ large”, “Writ small”, and others

I have seen this used with other words besides "large" and "small". What other words can be used? Can this structure be used more generally with other adjectives?