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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“Meandered about” or “meandered around”?

Consider a person who slowly wanders through a large room. Would such a person "meander about" or "meander around" the room? John meandered _____ the hall. Since it is customary to write "walked ...
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The quality of things you stick with

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe the quality of things we stick with. For example, if a training is well designed, people will tend to keep using it. Meanwhile, if it's not, ...
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44 views

Idiom: When something is not dealt with for a long time

What idiom could express when something is not dealt with for a very long time? The reason would be that a certain issue or thing cannot be solved because you lack the necessary means/agreements to do ...
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57 views

Is this usage of “account for” correct?

Can "account for" mean "take into consideration", such as in the sentence "I forgot to account for the time it would take to drive here, so I'm late"? Oddly, I couldn't find such usage in any ...
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1answer
148 views

What does “ought to have been a wheelbarrow” mean?

My grandmother (who was of Irish descent) was born in the New England area of NSW, Australia. She used an idiom that she "ought to have been a wheelbarrow". I think it meant something about a lack of ...
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54 views

birthday cake times twelve

I heard this in a documentary about the Peoples Temple. The quote goes exactly: These people would be on time, they’d be polite and nice. They were a span of ages, a span of races. They were ...
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1answer
69 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 ...
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1answer
87 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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506 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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1answer
71 views

Without vs before

In order to answer a question I have to take a look at a document that is not with me by the time that question was raised. Which of the below sentences is more suitable to express that idea? I ...
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196 views

Do I understand this 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
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61 views

Origin of “kill the ghost”, “killing the ghost”

A British friend of mine who used to work with us came back from London for a short visit to the town.Before going back home again he showed me photographs of the town beach and hotel saying he came ...
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0answers
145 views

Looking for an Equivalent to the AWL for Academic Idioms

Coxhead developed and evaluated something called the "Academic Word List" for English Language Learners. This is a list of (supposedly) the most common "academic" terms to be used by students from ...
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87 views

“Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)”

"Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)" (idiom, used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good) It seems to be of relatively recent origin, if there's really a sound origin, that is. Main Q: What ...
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76 views

Is *to see something through* a productive phrasal verb?

Some verbs in English make the use of additional particles, often called prepositions, due to the fact that they are always homophonous. I do not call them adverbs because I claim they are not always ...
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49 views

Idiom for “even if we can't be together, I'd like us to do this at the same time”

For example, in a long distance relationship one might say "I am headed to bed and you are welcome to join me, if only (what to say here? 'In spirit'?)" The implication being he wishes the two of ...
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96 views

When/where/why did “Look who it ain't/isn't” appear?

It seems to me that... "Well! Look who it ain't!" ...is/was normally used quite dismissively, referring to a newly-arrived person of low social status, who the speaker would often then proceed ...
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54 views

What is the difference among “at the outset”, “from the beginning”, and “at the beginning”?

Let me tell you at the outset that <-- sounds right Let me tell you from the beginning that <-- doesn't sound right Let me tell you at the beginning that <-- doesn't sound as right as #1 ...