70
votes
15answers
10k views

“Soccer mom”: why soccer?

...why not football mom, baseball mom, or basketball mom? Soccer mom, as far as I can tell, is an American term made popular during the 1996 presidential elections, used to describe a key demographic ...
0
votes
2answers
823 views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Is “raises question marks over” a correct and common phrase?

Is a sentence like Dynamic method invocation raises question marks over the way existing instances should be handled. correct in a technical paper (computer science)? (I think it is in the ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Phrase: “Colder than a witch’s kiss!”

The following was used in a radio broadcast (The Adventures of Harry Lime, 14th December 1951, episode 20 “An Old Moorish Custom”) as Harry was hit on the back of his head with a rifle butt by a giant ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

Corner Gas sitcom episode I, witness [closed]

In the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas episode 7, season 4 "I, witness", the dialogue among Brent, Wanda, and Oscar about Lacey know it all. Wanda said something "She is xxx know it all". xxx sounded ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Helping with a book?

I have been reading a book about programming and i came across a sentence which says: but if you don’t reuse some of what you’re doing, you’ll eventually wear your fingers down to painful ...
0
votes
2answers
7k views

Is it awkward to start an email with “I am [my name]. I am writing to ask you…”?

I saw a job announcement (faculty position), which usually says "questions regarding this position should be addressed to [name and email.]. I want to ask a few questions about the position, and ...
-1
votes
2answers
567 views

To work under the advisory of?

I want to describe my current research-assistant position saying that "I work under the advisory of John Green". Is this the correct way of saying that my advisor is John Green? If not, what is the ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What does “period” mean at the end of the American phrase?

What does period mean at the end of a sentence? For example: The stronger your core the easier your YRG(yoga) is gonna get period I didn't heard the sentence clearly because of the speaker's ...
0
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the usual form of “Please do the needful”? [duplicate]

I was browsing the internet, and found that "Please do the needful" is not an appropriate sentence to use or write. According to this link, this sentence used to get used in South Asia. What would be ...
2
votes
8answers
10k views

What do you call a person who motivates or inspires?

My choices so far: motivational source inspirational source source of motivation source of inspiration Being a non-native speaker, I don't know which one to use. What I want to say is that ...
20
votes
9answers
3k views

Is the phrase “I just sucked it out of my thumb” used in American English?

I was born and raised in South Africa. We frequently used the term "to suck out of one's thumb", implying that an answer was just a wild guess or the notion had no evidence but was rather just ...
-3
votes
1answer
462 views

Is it correct to say, “I strive for quality” [closed]

I'm trying to apply to a software engineer job, and I'm trying to write a phrase something like: I always strive for quality. I try to improve and find a different way for every program that I ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this formal enough? “Should I expect to get a call from you sometime this week?”

I'm contacting HR person from a company after an interview. She told me she will contact me right after the interview, but she sent me an e-mail she will contact me at a later time. So I'm trying to ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the connection between motherhood and apple pie?

I know the idiom motherhood and apple pie is used to denote some principles with which few disagree. But what is the connection between motherhood and apple pie? I am not very familiar with American ...
2
votes
3answers
302 views

Is “I'm not racist, but …” more common in Australian English than other dialects? [closed]

Is the phrase "I'm not racist, but ..." more common in Australian English than other dialects? The phrase is used as a prefix to something that's likely to be interpreted as racist, probably because ...
1
vote
2answers
589 views

Is there a difference between British English phrases and American phrases? [closed]

My goal is to learn British English because I'm going to study there. I've found a good book about English phrases. However, the book is originally from the US. Is there a difference between ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of “odds and ends”?

There's already a question (and answer) for "bits and bobs", which I believe is a Britishism, but what is the origin of "odds and ends"? "Odds" I have some reckoning for (as in, "odd items", meaning ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the equivalent phrase in the UK for “I plead the fifth”?

In the United States, a person under examination on the witness stand may "plead the fifth" to avoid self-incrimination. In other words, a person asserts his or her Fifth Amendment right. Citizens of ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the difference between “Yours sincerely” and “Sincerely yours”?

I have read online that "Yours sincerely" is British English and "Sincerely yours" is American English. Is this true? Or is the difference in formality? I think the first one is more formal and the ...
1
vote
2answers
693 views

Is “shvisle” a real or made up word? [closed]

I've come across the word in this captchart: "Yo, my nizzle, can you pass me that shvisle?". Is it supposed to mean something? I've easly found the meaning of nizzle, but I'm at a loss with shvisle. ...
4
votes
4answers
38k views

Does the phrase “who's in?” or “I'm in!” exist in (informal) English?

I really think I've heard it in some American sitcom/sitcoms, meaning something like participating in. "I want to play football. Who's in?" — "Great idea, I'm in!" Does it really exist, or am I wrong? ...
9
votes
6answers
8k views

History of “have a good one”

I used to work at a grocery store. When bidding farewell to customers, my coworkers would often use phrases such as "Have a nice day," "Enjoy your day," and the like. One particular phrase that ...
4
votes
8answers
6k views

Why is it called an “Indian file”?

I recently came across a US phrase, Indian file. This is utterly unheard of in the UK, and probably outside North America; at least I’ve certainly never heard of it. The phrase would be expressed in ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” mean?

I read it here. The New Jersey guy said that the Unix solution was right because the design philosophy of Unix was simplicity and that the right thing was too complex. Besides, programmers could ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

What does “Without padding one’s end zone” mean?

In the following sentence of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy in New York Times (Feb.1) contributed by columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget, I found the following sentence: You can work up Super Bowl Sunday ...
3
votes
4answers
269 views

What is the origin of “cross country skiing”?

I was speaking of skiing when I was in USA, and I discovered that one type of ski is called cross country skiing. What is the origin of that phrase, which is not really referring to skiing through ...
3
votes
1answer
276 views

How popular is 'brefass' in modern American vocabulary?

This is an abbreviation of 'breakfast' that I have found myself paying extra attention to recently. In fact I have even heard my mother use it on a regular basis. Is this common in modern spoken ...
20
votes
5answers
26k views

What is the origin of the phrase “I'll take a raincheck”?

What is the origin of the phrase I'll take a raincheck?
4
votes
3answers
14k views

Usage of “shall we?”

What does it mean and where would I use it?