9
votes
2answers
1k views

Phrasal verb “be a thing”

I’m looking for the origin of the phrasal verb “to be a thing”. It means roughly “exist” or more specifically “be recognised” or “be a phenomenon”. I first noticed it around 2008–2009. Is ...
3
votes
1answer
288 views

Origin of phrasal verb “love on”

Lately I've been hearing friends talk about loving on people. Here's an example of the sort of thing they'll say: We should be working in the streets and loving on the homeless. Forge ...
2
votes
2answers
400 views

Why are prepositions out of place with many phrasal verbs?

Please, restrict your answers to etymological info. I browsed some other questions and found some good info here: Is it correct to change the common structure in these phrasal verbs?, which is more ...
4
votes
1answer
521 views

What are the origins of “take you up on it”

A common English idiom "take you up on it" is apparently used to indicate a general willingness or predisposition to accept something that is offered or granted. For example, If you make an offer ...
4
votes
4answers
32k views

What exactly does “sweep me off my feet” mean? (And why?)

Although the phrase "sweep me off my feet" probably means, "make me fall in love with you in a short time", what does it exactly mean, because "sweeping" can be difficult to be associated with "love". ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the origin and earliest recorded usage of 'cock-up'

In informal British English, the expression 'cock-up' (c.f. the US English 'fuck-up') is used to indicate an error or problem in a situation. What is the origin of this expression and its etymology? ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Stabbing and running, how are they related?

When you literally run through some where, e.g. I have run through the streets of London it is quite clear what is meant. At a slightly more figurative level one might say, I will run ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

“Cover off” meaning “cover”

I've noticed that some business people (generally management types) have started to use the expression "cover off" to mean "cover". E.g. Can you cover off agenda item 3 for me? or Not ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Etymology of “end up” and “wind up”

What is the etymology of the phrase "end up", and of the meaning of "wind up" that means essentially the same thing? To clarify, I mean the specific meaning of "wind up" that means the same as "end ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the origin of the phrase “turns out”?

What is the origin of "turns out" as it appears in the phrases below: It turns out As it turns out Let me know how it turns out What is turning, what is coming out, and from where? I can't find ...
2
votes
1answer
607 views

The phrase “Check out”

"Check out this article" Where did this term come from and why those choice of words? I understand it perfectly semantically, but when you think about it it doesn't make sense, check out seems to ...