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
15 views

“it rains something” - is it an idiom and when is it used?

I think I heard somewhere expressions like "it rains apples" or "it rains ideas" which could possibly mean there is a lot of apples and ideas, but I am not sure. Is there anything like that in ...
1
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1answer
93 views

Meaning of “high in reach” regarding a training session

If an educational company described their session methodology as "high in reach" does it mean: the size of the audience the effectiveness of the training other? The original sentence in a press ...
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3answers
46 views

Someone who exploits your feelings for them to take advantage of you

I need a word or idiom for someone who takes advantage of you because they know you like them. In relationships, I heard the word "user", as someone who uses their romantic partners for material gain. ...
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2answers
326 views

A term for “removing” goods from a warehouse

Related to inventory management or accounting. Suppose I have a warehouse, and I have some goods in it. Then I need to either sell, discard or otherwise expend them. Now I need to indicate in my ...
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6answers
352 views

An idiom for when you do a work but the work is insufficient

I'm looking for an idiom for when you do a work in order to better a situation. However, the work you do is not sufficient, so even though your work is not entirely wasted (as it does have some ...
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1answer
25 views

To be X (skinny) to hit the target [on hold]

How can we say to be skinny/small/sharpened/x to hit the target? I want to say my work is tailored/precise/x enough to do the job [prepare the cv to get the interview, bake the cake to win the ...
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3answers
4k 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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2answers
42 views

More formal phrase for “throw someone off”

Is there a more formal phrase with the same meaning of "throw someone off"? I want to use the phrase exactly how I am sure everyone is used to it being used. I want to say that something unexpected ...
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0answers
11 views

meaning of “a game of tease”

what does it mean when someone compares something or some act to "a game of tease"? I think it means like indulging in a game of seek and hide or something like that. Am I right? it is like a game ...
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8answers
19k views

Is the use of “all set” exclusive to certain regions?

I grew up in the Northeastern US where the use of the phrase "all set" to mean "ready" or "finished" is common. An example would be, "Are you all set with that?" (perhaps while pointing to an ...
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4answers
386 views

idiom for proceeding slowly and with difficulty

Is there an idiom I could use if I wanted to say that someone is doing something with a lot difficulty and slowly? I cannot think of anything. Thanks Edit from comment: For example: You have learnt ...
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14answers
9k views

Looking for idiom/expression to describe an instance where one makes something seem better than it really is

Maybe the example would help to describe the expression I am looking for: Say - a sub-par school or organization makes a promotional video, whereby they make the school look way better than it ...
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0answers
24 views

I break out my fun blazer. what does this mean?

Has he ever said anything nice to you before? No. Not even when I break out my fun blazer. This is what I can see on the script of Modern Family season 6 I know what a blazer is, But I don't ...
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4answers
55 views

Synonyms for “walking on thin ice”

It's tough to find synonyms for whole phrases as opposed to single words. I'm trying to think of at least a couple for "walking on thin ice." So far the only one I've come up with is "playing a ...
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1answer
114 views

Why is “violated” being used as future perfect with a person as the object?

On Aviation StackExchange, I've seen these: I don't think you will be violated.. He was subsequently violated... Pilot [...] may now be violated for it. ... pilots have been violated... It seems ...
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1answer
96 views

Holy holy=Holy s###?

I thought I heard the store manager (a native English speaker, mid-20's) muttered to himself like "Holy holy." That was when the store was newly opened and was so crowded with lots of customers. He ...
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4answers
65 views

Word describing the one flaw in an otherwise perfect crime, plot or plan

I am wondering if there is a noun or phrase that articulates how a crime, plot or plan was foiled. I am interested in a noun or phrase that relates to crime in particular. For example, They two ...
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2answers
75 views

A word or idiom for a car mechanic that rips you off

I'm curious if there is an English word or idiom specific for a car mechanic that rips you off. In the case of a doctor, one could use charlatan, or quack.
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2answers
48 views

What does “be (totally) on” mean?

Today I come across the headline、“Meek and Nicki are still totally on” followed by sub-headline, “Just stop asking when they're getting engaged.” in the Scene site. Does “A and B are on” mean A and B ...
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2answers
53 views

Does “the military” refer to any military?

When someone uses the term "the military" is it implied they are talking about the military of the current country they are in, or any military? For example I sometimes see on application forms "Have ...
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0answers
91 views

Meaning of “Mythical Distance”

In this sentence With the break-up of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, Europe saw India recede into a mythical distance Is mythical distance an idiom? What does it mean?
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1answer
26 views

Any difference between pleasure to us to… vs. pleasure of ours to…?

I am writing a super-formal letter (it is a semi-legal text) and I am unsure if there is any sensible difference between writing "It is a great pleasure to us to..." (26,200,000 hits on Google) ...
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2answers
129 views

Term or Phrase for “Listening without Understanding”

Is there a word or a phrase that describes someone listening to somebody else speak to him without understanding what is being said while acting like he's getting it?
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2answers
9k views

On / of one's own accord

When it comes to the idiom involving the phrase "own accord", is it considered correct to say "on one's own accord", instead of "of one's own accord"? To me, the former sounds more natural. Example: ...
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0answers
14 views

Can Fair Enough mean quantity enough?

Fair could mean quite large/big or many in quantity or degree, so can fair enough mean it's quite big enough or it's quite much/many(corret me if im wrong) enough?
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2answers
2k views

What is the origin of the “Dear John” letter?

You might receive one of these when you are getting dumped by your erstwhile partner. I don't think it is a coincidence that the a recent movie called Dear John includes a Dear John letter as one of ...
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5answers
1k 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
60 views

English idiom for keeping a lousy employee on the payroll because of his connections? [duplicate]

You know (hypothetical) Larry, the CEO's third cousin, who was hired on an important and well paid position even though he totally sucks at it, dragging the entire department down, but the CEO keeps ...
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15answers
5k views

What is the equivalent of Persian idiom “When the reed blooms”?

In Persian, we say "When the reed blooms" when we want to express that an event: Never happens. (This is only the opinion of the speaker so it's not a fact) It's very unlikely to happen. It's going ...
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6answers
15k views

Does “to err on the side of … ” indicate wrongdoing?

Does the phrase "to err on the side of ...," specifically "err on the side of caution," indicate that it is wrong to be "on the side of," the object? "Err" makes me think of "error," and is such the ...
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1answer
28 views

Personification of a Vehicle and it's sleeves

Normally, to describe something which has special abilities or something secret, we use the phrase Something up its sleeve or something similar to that. Now, if I had to say the same thing about a ...
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2answers
65 views

My coworker and I were trying to solve a problem — we both tried two different things at once that only worked because of the other's attempt

Each solution to the problem we were trying to solve would have independently failed. We were each trying many different solutions at the same time. We each happened to try a solution that worked, but ...
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2answers
55 views

What is the idiom or proverb or phrase for this “hard packing but loose knot”? [closed]

What is the idiom or proverb or phrase for this "hard packing but loose knot"? For example, you took hard preparation for the exam, but, didn't attend it.
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1answer
30 views

Demonstrate a discrepancy? [closed]

I was writing some article about scientific debate over one subject and then came to my keyboard the following : "... demonstrate large variability..." . I was wondering if I could replace ...
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1answer
52 views

“Righting wrongs” or “Writing wrongs”? [closed]

I've seen people using different forms of this phrase. "Righting some wrongs", "Righting the wrongs", "Right a wrong" "Writing some wrongs", "Writing the wrongs", "Write a wrong" It seems to be an ...
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3answers
6k views

Origin of idiom “wearing the < role > hat?”

What is the origin of the idiom "wearing the < role > hat"? Here is an example from the post Getting things done when you wear multiple hats in PookieMD's Blog: I wear many hats, and I ...
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4answers
4k views

What is the origin of the idiom 'all the rage'?

There are various expressions in English and other languages that use all, for example all right, or all dressed up and ready to go, however all the is not that common. The use of rage is even ...
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7answers
7k 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 ...
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1answer
50 views

What is the meaning of “to spite the whole world"? [closed]

I found that in this text: recently wrote on Twitter that he was willing to revise his position towards ISIL and join it “to spite the whole world" if it stopped labeling other jihadists as ...
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9answers
4k views

Derogatory word or idiom for city dwellers

I'm looking for something people from rural area would use, especially when they refer to that person's inability to adapt to the country life.
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2answers
24k views

“Hang in” vs. “hang on”

Are these two the same when used to express "keep it up" or "survive a little longer"? Also, I often hear people say "hang in there", but I rarely hear people say "hang on there".
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9answers
54k views

Origin of “More X than you can shake a stick at”

What is the origin of the phrase "more X than you can shake a stick at"? Every website I've seen on this basically says the same thing (e.g., http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-sha2.htm): Recorded ...
6
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4answers
386 views

Why do we say “it's not even funny” after something that is not funny at all?

"My head hurts so bad, it's not even funny." Why would my head hurting be funny in the first place? It's already clearly not a joking matter. Why "guard" it from being a laughing matter, then? I get ...
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7answers
3k views

What is the origin of the idiom “with all the bells and whistles”?

No major dictionary website carries the origin of this proverb. Some blogs speculate that it comes from a locomotive usage. In the days of the steam engine, engines would be equipped with bells and ...
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7answers
4k views

Does “walk back” have a meaning of ‘deny’ or 'keep distance from somebody / something.' as an idiom?

I came across the phrase walked back from time.com: a State Department spokesperson had walked back his (John Kerry’s) comments in the Time magazine’s (August 2) article titled, “Oops: John Kerry ...
2
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1answer
95 views

What is the etymology and the context of calling an unrelated woman “sister”?

For specific context, the question arose out of discussing Han Solo calling Princess Leia "sister" in "Star Wars" Episode IV. What is the etymology and context of using the term "sister" in this way? ...
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2answers
5k views

What's the meaning of “real gone”

As in the song 'Real Gone' by Sheryl Crow: "Everybody's lookin' for a way to get real gone." Does that mean something cool?
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1answer
57 views

Meaning of “off the clock”

Could you explain the meaning of the expression "off the clock"? Do I need to use hyphens as in "off-the-clock"? I have seen some explanations on the Internet, but none of them seem to be reliable.
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4answers
10k views

Origin and meaning of “from out of left field”

What is the origin of the phrase from out of left field? My understanding is that the meaning is unexpected, or odd. Is that correct? Real world examples of the phrase being used badly would be great ...
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2answers
73 views

Does “taking the heart out of something” mean to defeat it?

Does the idiom "taking the heart out of something" mean to defeat it? Context: rituals of science have taken the heart out of the rituals of religion