A phrase is a group of words that make a unit of syntax with a single grammatical function.

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19k views

What does “Nothing like anything” mean?

What does the phrase "Nothing like anything" mean? Literally it doesn't make sense to me and also I do not know its figurative meaning either.
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1answer
50 views

Is there any difference between “told to” and “told to do so”

I will release a new version when I'm told to. I will release a new version when I'm told to do so. Is there any difference in the meaning of the two sentences and which one would I use in an ...
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6answers
19k views

Origin of the phrases “third time’s the charm” and “third time lucky”?

What would the origin of the saying “Third time’s the charm”? I’ve also heard “third time lucky” used as well. Are these two expressions related to each other?
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1answer
71 views

Question/Matter of definition?

A "Definitionsfråga", as it is called in Swedish, is for instance if you talk about what's good and bad, you can remark that it depends on what you mean by good and bad. You could might as well remark ...
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2answers
40 views

“choice of ride” or “ride of choice”

When asking someone what brand of motorcycle he chooses to ride, which of the following two sentences is correct? What is your ride of choice? What is your choice of ride?
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4answers
106 views

Is this usage of “Just as well” correct?

Is it okay to use "just as well" in the next scenario: Person 1: When I'm mad I can be stubborn as hell. Person 2: And when you're not, just as well!
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2answers
59 views

what's the English phrase for the Chinese one “Destination at south, heading to north”?

There's a famous Chinese fable:   Once a man wanted to go to the south, but his carriage was heading north. A passer-by asked him: "If you are going to south, why is your chariot heading north?"The ...
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6answers
10k views

Where and when did “Bucket List” come to mean what it does today?

I'm not sure I had even heard the term "bucket list" until the movie came out. I get the feeling though that the term long predates the movie. Can anyone identify how "bucket list" came to mean what ...
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7answers
5k views

Feminine version of “gentleman and a scholar”

Although I've often heard use of the phrase: You are a gentleman and a scholar I have never heard a version appropriate for the fairer sex. I guess you could say a lady and a scholar?
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2answers
75 views
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2answers
60 views

“The other side” to refer to the afterlife

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to "the other side." Now you can take this one of two ways. Either the chicken simply wants to arrive on the other side of the road, or he is suicidal and ...
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3answers
6k views

Meanings of “take it easy”

The phrase “take it easy” has several different meanings, and it's not always easy to tell between them from context. I'm referring specifically to the standalone phrase (grammatically, an ...
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1answer
238 views

Which phrase shall I choose, “take part in the project of or process of”?

Although it was compelled to enter the modern world by the Western countries, now China is taking part in the project of modernization more actively and has completed many great achievements in the ...
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2answers
93 views

“Ronnie's wife keeps his social calendar where she keeps his balls: in her purse.”

What does it mean? "Ronnie's wife keeps his social calendar where she keeps his balls: in her purse." I guess it means Ronnie's wife is on top of Ronnie's social life and he is under her control.
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0answers
30 views

Is it common to use the phrase “come with” without specifying with whom [duplicate]

We’re going to the pub. Want to come with?” I have heard this from an American colleague. Though this sounds odd to the majority of us, however, since I am not sure of the usage, I am asking how ...
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5answers
3k views

Does “Turtles all the way down” mean endless continuation / exercise of something like ‘peeling onions,’’ or it represents for sophism?

I learned the phrase “Turtles all the way down,” popularized by Stephen Hawking in an answer to my latest question asking the meaning of the phrase, “Mercy within mercy within mercy." Jmereno ...
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2answers
60 views

punctuation after beginning sentence with “In summary”, “Summing up” or “Last but not least”

I am often wondering if there is a comma needed after starting a sentence with in summary, summing up or last but not least. Here are two examples: Summing up, both children returned home safe. ...
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1answer
32 views

Can I say “when it comes to the stage of…”?

As a result, the two of us who started off being very poor in programming wound up writing and designing the main structure of a website called “team work”. I continued to be in charge of technology ...
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2answers
80 views

Winter is gone and spring is come [duplicate]

I understand "He is gone" or "Winter is gone" is the common usage. But is "She is come" or "Spring is come" as common?
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2answers
514 views

Origin of the phrase “social justice warrior”

What is the origin of the phrase "social justice warrior"? RationalWiki says that the phrase "social justice" (without warrior) originated in the 1840s. Searching twitter for top tweets about ...
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1answer
166 views

Origin of “you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide”?

What is the origin of the phrase You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. I see it occasionally bounced around, sometimes as an authoritarian slogan. Brief research indicates some ...
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8answers
43k 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 ...
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3answers
500 views

Take this question with a grain of salt

Where did this ubiquitous phrase come from? Usually it is used in conjunction with either disputable of downright dubious information but I can't think of how salt helps the situation. The only thing ...
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3answers
3k views

What/who are “toy soldiers”? [closed]

There is a song called Toy Soldiers by Martika of which a part of the lyrics goes: Step by step Heart to heart Left, right, left We all fall down Like toy soldiers Bit by bit Torn ...
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2answers
915 views
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7answers
536 views

“Aaron is a genius boy”

I wonder whether can we call someone a genius boy? I've been using this term to describe my cousin until someone told me that the correct usage should be boy genius. The question is: Can we say Aaron ...
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1answer
38 views

Which one is correct to show that “the fan” in not the only one? [closed]

Which one is correct? a big fan of yours in millions or a big fan in millions of yours Tanx
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1answer
63 views

Is it just me or is “I can't tell them apart” odd? [closed]

As I understand it, "tell" usually refers to talking or explaining something to someone. If you "can't tell", it means you don't have enough information to determine what to say. However, this ...
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2answers
95 views

Should I use “such that,” “so that,” or “in a way that”?

I'm trying to edit a user guide in which the word such is used frequently to describe the way things have to be done. For example: Step 1: Position the frame on the cone using the sliding bar, ...
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6answers
700 views

Is “straight from Kafka” an idiom?

I am working as a translator and in one of my projects, which was about strategic management , I came across this sentence: " In scenarios that come straight from Kafka, the simplest problems take ...
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2answers
66 views
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10answers
3k views

What's the word for 'busting the myth'?

Suppose, I want to say that you need to bust the myth that girls are not good at sports or any other stereotype for that matter..What's the word to prove wrong an old, established stereotype? Is it ...
2
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2answers
232 views

Is “I'll be John Brown” a common phrase?

The phrase: I'll be John Brown! is an occasionally-used term in North Carolina. Mostly thought to replace taking the Lord's name in vain (GD). Is it used elsewhere? How long has it been ...
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1answer
61 views

what does 'live up to the buzz' stand for?

I recently read an article about honey As I was reflecting on all the health benefits of honey, it suddenly occurred to me: I don't think I've ever seen a sick bee. Coincidence? Probably. But ...
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4answers
1k views

What is the meaning of the phrase: “N weeks ago tomorrow”?

Please explain to me the meaning of the phrase: Two weeks ago tomorrow. It seems to be in the past (ago) but with a link to the future (tomorrow).
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7answers
12k views

Origin and meaning of “The eagle flies at midnight”

The eagle flies at midnight. What's the origin and meaning of this idiom?
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4answers
91 views

Up Hill vs. Down Hill [duplicate]

The expression "It's all up hill from here!" and "It's all down hill from here!" mean that things will only get better or things will only get worst. Metaphorically going uphill can provide for a ...
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1answer
97 views

“Let it will be” [closed]

"Let it be" is an easy phrase to understand and to use. It's widely used and it's a set phrase, so it's hard to make mistake here. Why would a native speaker say "Let it will be"? Is it the same ...
2
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5answers
125 views

A word for extreme care, attention, dedication towards words or a language

I'm looking for a word or a phrase which suggests the treatment of words or a language with extreme care, attention, and devotion -- like on StackExchange for example. I thought of pamper e.g. words ...
2
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4answers
80 views

What's a word or phrase to describe literature that builds upon topics discussed earlier?

If I were teaching a class, how do I say that the topics currently being discussed build upon the topics that were discussed in earlier classes? I'm looking for colloquialisms but if you know about ...
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10answers
103 views

Phrase for something that isn't as good as it once was [closed]

Specifically a relationship which fell apart as time wore on.
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3answers
203 views

A saying that means “our best friends are those we have known for a long time”

We don't yet know what our new friends are like, and our best friends are those we have known for a long time. I am looking for a phrase, traditional saying or idiom that expresses this idea.
2
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1answer
101 views

Meaning of “hound” [closed]

I came across this sentence: "He believed that whatever he planned to do was hound to end in failure." I looked up the meaning of the word "hound" in my dictionary. But either the word in this ...
6
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1answer
125 views

A frog in the throat

While the French refer to the temporary hoarseness caused by phlegm in the back of the throat as having a cat in the throat, the English version of the expression is to have a frog in the throat. I ...
3
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6answers
293 views

Is there a phrase in English for moving your forefinger close to someone's face in a bossy way?

This picture shows clearly what I'm looking for. Is there a phrase for that? In French there is a phrase for it, with the French word for finger, "un doigt remuant" Is there any in BrE and in AmE? ...
4
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4answers
1k views

Is “since I'm” now an acceptable alternative to “since I was”?

In a recent episode of the television show Entourage, Ari Gold (a 40 year old man) says: I've known her since I'm 19. In an episode of Sex and the City, a character, who is 15, tells Carrie: ...
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3answers
72 views

What do “leaps of faith” and “get the best of somebody” mean? [closed]

I came across these two phrases when reading The Da Vinci Code. Why not-if we're assuming the Church was able to uncover the identities of the Priory members, then certainly they could have ...
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4answers
3k views

“Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” meaning and etymology

In my experience, referring to someone in an organization as "chief cook and bottle washer" has multiple possible meanings: person has a wide variety of duties in the organization person is very, ...
5
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1answer
13k views

“personal issue”, “private issue”, “personal affair”, or “personal business”?

I need to send my boss mail explaining that because of a personal issue I need to handle, I can’t attend the conference. Which of these phrases would best express that I have my own business to deal ...
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4answers
93 views

Where does the expression “at a crack” come from?

The phrase at a crack is sometimes used to mean at one time. For example §§: Companies that have had generations of employees growing up under a no-layoff policy are now dumping 10,000 ...