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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What is the meaning of “you bet!”?

I often hear the term "you bet!". What does it mean?
0
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2answers
19 views

Is there an antonym for the idiom “…remains to be seen”

I was using "...the truth remains to be seen" in a sentence when I realized I meant the opposite of this. I'm looking a phrase antithetical to this idiom, that follows the same (empirical) line of ...
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3answers
768 views

Idioms, how do they work?

So, my friend and I were chatting the other day. I, being a new father, sent him a picture of my clothesline completely full of my daughter's diapers. Then this dialogue happened: My friend: Woah, ...
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2answers
2k views

Who is the author of “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”?

I would like to know more about the proverb Absence makes the heart grow fonder. History notes The history of the proverb is proving quite interesting. In his literary work from 1650, Epistolae ...
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2answers
1k views

What does “I got a bee up my ass about you two” mean?

The context is: Just so you know, I got a bee up my ass about you two.
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2answers
111 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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1answer
33 views

Which answer is correct for each question, and why? [on hold]

He told her (to, before, in, at) her face that she was a liar. I (caught, took, made, had) sight of the boat as I got to the top of the cliff. I know you hate your job but that's no reason to (take, ...
0
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0answers
27 views

A thesaurus with prepositions [on hold]

What thesaurus contains extensive coverage of prepositions? For example, "street" may be used in the context of "in the streets" and "on the streets." So, what thesaurus explains commonly used ...
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8answers
2k views

Why does “go spare” mean “get angry”?

I don't know whether the phrase "go spare" is used in the US, but it is very common in the UK. e.g. You're an hour late. Mum's going spare upstairs! I would like to know where the phrase comes ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Where does “Let's roll!” come from?

Where does the idiom "Let's roll!" come from?
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1answer
57 views

saying thanks to someone answering your email ASAP who is important for you [on hold]

Which of these sentences sounds more american? and which sounds more polite against who is important for you like a professor or boss? first: Thanks for your prompt response second: Thanks ...
0
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2answers
42 views

“Can't help but” vs “can't help” [duplicate]

What's the difference between "can't help but" and "can't help" Consider two examples: I can't help thinking about you. I can't help but think about you. Do the two sentences mean same, or is ...
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3answers
44 views

is it correct that some individual use the idiom “so to speak ” repeatedly [on hold]

is it correct that some individuals use the idiom "so to speak " repeatedly? do they want to fill up the gap between their sentences?.
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11answers
1k views

Idiom for someone who forgets their roots

I am having difficulty finding English idiom(s) for these situations: A person who was previously poor then becomes arrogant because she/he is rich now. A person who has been helped (because she/he ...
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6answers
27k 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 ...
2
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1answer
56 views

“Rule the Roast” and “Rule the Roost”

John Ayto, Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (2009) has this entry for "rule the roost": rule the roost be in complete control The original expression was rule the roast, which was common ...
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6answers
912 views

What's the origin of “rob someone blind”?

To rob someone blind either means to steal freely from them, or to overcharge them: Fig. to steal freely from someone. Her maid was robbing her blind. I don't want them to rob me blind. Keep an ...
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3answers
835 views

Who is Jack Robinson?

I was reading my dictionary and I came across this phrase: "Before you can say Jack Robinson", meaning almost instantaneously to be used as follows: Before you can say Jack Robinson, I took the ...
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2answers
32 views

American products, first, last, and foremost

I have a survey and I need to translate it into another language. There is a question in the survey - "American products, first, last, and foremost.". Users have to answer using scale from 1 to 7, ...
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2answers
87 views

“To bury someone twice”

Does anyone know what the expression to bury someone twice means and where it comes from?
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3answers
142 views

different versions of “take into account”

The Free Dictionary collates a number of definitions for "take into account." take someone or something into account and take into account someone or something to remember to consider someone ...
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28answers
8k views

Is there an American English equivalent of the British idiom “carrying coals to Newcastle”?

I'm an American living in the Netherlands who is learning Dutch. There's an idiom in Dutch that describes performing a needless/futile activity, "water naar de zee dragen," which literally translates ...
2
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2answers
51 views

Idiom help: If beauty is her Yin, then intelligence is her Yang

I've always assumed that the phrase If X is her Yin, then Y is her Yang meant two positive traits, X and Y, that were not extensions of each other, but rather opposites that complemented each other. ...
3
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1answer
68 views

Does the “elbow-handshake” have any relation to the phrase “rubbing elbows”?

This is probably answerable with a general reference (or a pair of such references), but I have not been able to find one. Etymology Online does not cover the origin of "rubbing-elbows" as meaning ...
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2answers
68 views

“I'm no more hungry” or “I'm no longer hungry” or “I'm hungry no more.” [closed]

I'm no more hungry I don't think I've heard the first one very often, but wasn't sure about the last two. I'm no longer hungry and I'm hungry no more Which of these three sentences ...
5
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1answer
79 views

Why “on the books”, not “in the books”

On the books means "part of the law". These changes would add little to the civil rights laws now on the books. I know the meaning of this idiom, and idioms are used as they are, but idioms ...
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4answers
7k views

What does “no love lost” mean and where does it come from?

I have trouble with the idiom "no love lost". I understand that it is used when people are at odds or don't get along, but I don't understand why. Interpreted literally it sounds like there should be ...
2
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1answer
255 views

Is the usage “God only knows” correct?

I was watching a movie last night and a character, when asked a question, replies, "God only knows". Is that the correct usage? It sounds to me as if God just knows stuff and can't do anything about ...
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11answers
2k views

Idiom request: Putting too much effort, but the return is so low that it was not worth the effort

I am looking for an idiom. You put too much effort, but there is so little gain that it would not be worth the effort. Update: More specifically, some guy wants to save money and gas, thus he skips ...
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5answers
7k views

Who were the 'pros from Dover'?

I was reading Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy this morning, and he compares his characters to the 'pros from Dover'. This was a phrase that I also remember hearing in the movie M*A*S*H - so it seems to be ...
2
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2answers
68 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “picking up friction”?

Earlier today, I used the phrase "picking up friction" thinking it was a common saying. Later intrigued by the possible history of the phrase, a Google search turned up pretty much no results for the ...
3
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3answers
1k views

How to understand “It takes a little bit of getting used to the idea…”?

The following sentence is from a mathematical lecture note here: It takes a little bit of getting used to the idea of a function that cannot actually be evaluated at any specific point, but with ...
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1answer
87 views

Dull as ditchwater (not dishwater) … specific questions thereon

(1) who specifically, or at least when specifically, did originate the phrase? {Example answer - "that was one of Shakespeare's!"} (2) why? (3) when first did someone screw up and use ...
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2answers
68 views

Is “far from the end” correct?

Is it right to say far from the end in the following example? Researches on the exploitation of the DAS method are far from the end.
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1answer
55 views

Idiom/expression for “responsible for what happened.”

Example: I doubt the kids are responsible for what happened. What idiom/expression can I use to replace the responsible for what happened part? Something that isn't as straight forward as the ...
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10answers
3k views

phrases: “marry a guy and he'll provide”

Trying to find a similar phrase to this Chinese phrase: 嫁汉嫁汉,穿衣吃饭 which basically means if a woman marries a guy, then the guy will provide food and clothing. I can't think of anything off the top ...
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2answers
3k views

Meaning/origin of “You bet” as a response to “Thank you”

In a radio show (such as APM Marketplace), when a host interviews a guest, the conversation ends with the host saying "Thank you" and the guest saying something similar in response. Usually it is ...
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6answers
43k views

Origin of the idiom “falling off the wagon”

I often hear the idiom "falling off the wagon", as in "Has Robert Downey Jr. fallen off the wagon?" (i.e. Is he drinking alcohol again?). Where did the phrase originate? What wagon? And why is being ...
3
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2answers
65 views

Is “Starts out/off well” an idiomatic expression?

In the context of a greeting card, would it be idiomatic to say, "Hope [noun] starts out/off well," or is this awkward?
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3answers
740 views

Why is it “have someone wrapped around your LITTLE finger”?

I just had occasion to write she's got him wrapped around her finger (under complete control). I'd never really thought about this one before, but my guess would have been the idiom had some ...
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1answer
31 views

Is “or so they say” idiomatic?

Icame across a long sentence followed by elipses and the phrase "or so they say", is it idiomatic?
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8answers
5k views

What phrase is less idiomatic than “softball question”?

In the US, a "softball question" is asked because it would be intentionally easy to answer. It's not an intellectual judgement, just a question formulated to be intentionally easy for that particular ...
4
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3answers
12k views

Where does the phrase “fit to be tied” come from? Has its meaning become diluted?

While looking into an answer for "Sick and tied" and "sick and tired", I stumbled across the idiom fit to be tied which according to thefreedictionary means angry and agitated. (As ...
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5answers
3k views

Is there a better phrase that means “non-zero–sum game?”

A "zero-sum game" is a reasonably well understood phrase, though often incorrectly used as "zero sum gain." The opposite of this is a "non-zero–sum game," which I find rather unwieldy. Is there a ...
4
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2answers
2k views

History and meaning of the expression “gave at the office”?

I recently heard somebody say that they "gave at the office" in response to a request from some charity. It also seems to have a more general usage when refusing a request for help of any kind. What ...
6
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5answers
3k views

In what way is “are us” used?

In what way is "are us" used? Like: what does "toys are us" mean.. Or what does "heavy weights are us" mean? Does "are us" always refer to several people? Or can one also use it when referring just ...
13
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3answers
26k 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!
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4answers
103 views

Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
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4answers
151 views

Expressions to describe having immediately understood someone's personality

What words could I use to describe the event of having successfully and completely "read" or understood someone's personality, upon first meeting that someone?
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1answer
87 views

What does “straight out of [person]” mean?

I know the meaning of the straight out. But what does it mean with of? For example: It’s straight out of Alice Miller.