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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

29
votes
9answers
6k views

Is there a word/term for a question where the asker knows he'll criticise any answer?

What do you call it when a person asks somebody a question when they know they'll criticise any answer regardless? For instance, a man asks you something like "If you were recruiting staff would you ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

What does “people of the concrete steppes” mean?

I read this on an economics blog (http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/02/in_the_1930s_it.html) and tried to google it, but the results seem to just be people using it, no one explaining it. ...
3
votes
2answers
359 views

What is the origin of the phrase “zero, zip, zilch, nada”?

In the TV show Batman: The Animated Series, the character of Joker said the phrase "zero, zip, zilch, nada". Looking at Google results for that phrase, it seems to be more widely used, so I assume the ...
4
votes
3answers
107 views

What is another way to describe an action based on a previous action?

In a turn-based game, each player's turn is based upon the turn their opponent took before them. You could say that each action taken in the game is an action based upon the previous action taken in ...
2
votes
2answers
164 views

“Would agree” vs “would have agreed”

Did I really believe she would agree? and Did I really believe she would have agreed? What's the difference between the two? Is one more common/grammatically correct than the other?
0
votes
3answers
93 views

Does “code of conduct” mean the same as “code of ethics”?

I have tried with many dictionaries to search for a synonym of the phrase “code of conduct”. I wonder if it has the same meaning as “code of ethics”. Your help is much appreciated.
-1
votes
2answers
72 views

Where can I find a list of common phrases? [closed]

I'm not so good at english, and I would ask if someone knows a website that lists the most used english ways to say, like for example, "eat the bullet" or "with a grain of salt". I've done some ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

“cleared from” vs “cleared up from” vs “cleared away from”

I always have problem deciding which one to use. Example: After understanding that, the darkness finally [...] from my eyes. Should I use cleared from, cleared up from, or cleared away from?
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Term for 'Short frame of time'

I have sent a document for review by a peer, and I know he has a very short time in which to complete the review. What is the formal way of telling him that I am sending the document at the last ...
6
votes
9answers
1k views

Is there a single word which means "turned out to be''?

I am trying to shorten a sentence which is somewhat structured as follows: {something} turned out to be {something} Is there a single word that could replace turned out to be? (example): I ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

difference between “get along” “get by” and “get on”

I cannot really understand the difference (if there's a difference) between : He gets along fine with it and He gets by fine with it And what about "get on" ?
4
votes
4answers
195 views

Usage of the word “ascetic”

Is the sentence "You have to be ascetic about eating junk food" correct? Ascetic: Practicing severe self-denial
8
votes
1answer
277 views

Did the slang term “The Bomb” meaning “Very Cool” come from the American Jazz scene?

Searching Google for the history of the slang term "the bomb" (as in "That song is the bomb") yields a number of results in 40s/50s jazz glossaries, but they tend to at best give an artificial example ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

What's the meaning of “should we be interested”?

I contacted someone and he replied: ... I've passed your information along and someone will get back to you should we be interested. After sending him another message he replied: ... ...
2
votes
4answers
322 views

“Replace with” versus “replace by”

I often see "replace with" and "replace by" used interchangeably, but this doesn't sound right to me: I replaced that component by this one. I would use "with" in such a sentence. "By" only ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Usage of “walking out clean”

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? "I just hope he walks out clean from the probe" If not, what is the correct form? EDIT: The context of the above sentence is a situation where you ...
1
vote
3answers
139 views

Love in a hating way

Is there a word (or a phrase at least) that means to love in a hating way (hatefully, execrably) ? There is "Love–hate relationship" but it is more like a psychological term. I'm looking for a "noun" ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

Reserve or book tickets?

In an app I am writing the user can book/reserve tickets for riding a bus. Which of the following terms does fit this process best? 'Reserve Tickets' or 'Book Tickets' Also, in some cases the user ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

“I, for one, don't know ”

I am curious about the precise meaning of for one in the expression "I, for one, don't know." This came up in a discussion about the amount of social efforts society should be willing to put in ...
1
vote
2answers
158 views

English idiom similar to “grab one, hit the other”

In my native language there is an idiom which literally says "grab one, hit the other". It is used to express that a group of people possesses the same negative personal traits, habits, vice, etc. and ...
2
votes
3answers
65 views

Is the term “indignant with rage” acceptable?

A google search provided a plethora of instances in which the term was used, but isn't it kind of repetitious? Can you be indignant with something besides rage?
2
votes
2answers
115 views

“At the least” to start a sentence seems right but

The sentence I am trying to construct will be read with the assumption that finding that a bug exists in unfortunate. This is what I want to say, paraphrased: We found a bug in the code. At the ...
0
votes
1answer
167 views

'Sometime back' or 'Sometimes back'?

How should I decide between "sometime back" and "sometimes back"? Sometime back I received a call from Mr. X Sometimes back I received a call from Mr. X Which sentence is correct?
-1
votes
1answer
25 views

' when we hold': usage

The daily judge assignments are posted on the Clerk of Court site – see side bar. I have an attorney going tomorrow to research the records for the name of the judge responsible on February 5 ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

Which is more grammatically correct - “performance in” or “performance on”?

Which of the following is more grammatically correct? a. John's performance on the test shocked the teacher. (or) b. John's performance in the test shocked the teacher.
1
vote
3answers
86 views

Can I say “I have been nourishing my passions”?

Can I say "I have been nourishing my passions"? Or something similar to express the figurative fact that "I have been developing and nourishing them"?
3
votes
1answer
109 views

'Complete a confusion' — expression or confusion?

Is complete someone's confusion a popular expression that makes sense? This expression pops up so often I wonder I am missing something here. Does complete here mean to 'resolve'/ 'clarify'? ...
2
votes
1answer
678 views

What does “never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter” quote mean? [closed]

What does the following quote mean? Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.
0
votes
2answers
85 views

Can we say “The student can do still better”- with the same meaning as “The student can do better ?” [closed]

A teacher remarked in progress report of a student that she "can do still better" to say that she can do better than what she did now. Is it correct?
1
vote
3answers
341 views

“Died in an accident” or “killed in an accident”?

When speaking of someone who lost their life as a result of accidental circumstances are the two phrases below interchangeable? He was killed in an accident.   She died in an accident. ...
0
votes
2answers
132 views

How did the phrase “hear you out” or “hear me out” come about?

How did the phrase "hear you out" or "hear me out" come about? The phrase means "listen to whatever I have to say before you pass judgment on me," or "tell me whatever you want; I don't mind and ...
0
votes
1answer
253 views

“Butt in line” vs “cut in line” vs “bud in line”?

What's the proper term to use if you want to talk about trying to move up in the lineup or switch up?
4
votes
2answers
238 views

What is the context in which 'ice breaking' is a good thing?

If you are on a frozen lake and the ice breaks you basically plunge into cold water. That could end badly. What is the explanation for 'getting to know everyone', or 'getting the conversation ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Is “at all” necessary in the following sentence?

My body was totally anesthetized at the time. It was a miracle I had managed to get an erection at all. Is the at all at the end neccesary?
0
votes
1answer
53 views

A word that refers to a previously mentioned action [closed]

I am trying to refer back to the action "act swiftly" mentioned previously, but I am not sure if I am in the right direction. I thought of a few possible solutions as follows. An entire rephrasing of ...
5
votes
3answers
748 views

“Rome was not built in a day” [closed]

I always heard this phrase from school, but never understood the actual meaning of it or how this phrase originated. What does this actually mean, and why was it Rome and not any other city? ...
2
votes
3answers
99 views

told vs have told in a sentence [closed]

How do you say the next sentence? 1) I told him to stay on the path while he was hiking, but he wandered off into the forest and was bitten by a snake 2) I told him to stay on the path while he was ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Agenda going from bold to bite-sized

What does "one's agenda going from bold to bite-sized" mean?
1
vote
2answers
157 views

Meaning of “run flat out”

What does "I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking" mean? It was said in The Bourne Identity. I am not a native English speaker. I know the meaning of the individual words, ...
4
votes
2answers
669 views

Opposite words with the same meaning

Is there a term for the phenomenon when you can replace one word in a sentence with a typically opposing meaning word and maintain the meaning of the sentence? Examples: I'm down for that! I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

Why does the *dirty* in *dirty mind* refer to sex instead of any type of immoral thought?

Why does the dirty in dirty mind refer to sexual-related thoughts instead of any type of immoral thought (including ill will or malice against another)?
-2
votes
1answer
138 views

Choose the proper variant to complete the sentence:

... misses the kisses, ... kisses the misses. A) An rejected lover, a accepted lover B) An accepted lover, a rejected lover C) A rejected lover, an accepted lover
1
vote
3answers
501 views

What's wrong with “within this week?”

If I want finish a task by the end of this week, is it correct to say "I want to finish it within this week?"
0
votes
1answer
139 views

Where did “doggy dog world” come from?

This Ngram shows that people were happily saying "dog eat dog world" until the 1980s, when "doggy dog world" abruptly came into use. What might have accounted for this? (It was well before Snoop ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “spam in a can” mean?

From Planet 51: I never had the right stuff. I'm a button pusher, Spam in a can. I don't even fly the ship. It's all automatic. I only got this far on charm and my rugged good looks. Is ...
1
vote
2answers
186 views

Is there any difference between “clear conscience” and “clean conscience”?

I want to have a clear conscience so that I know to judge clearly what is right or wrong. vs. I want to have a clean conscience, therefore I will not do such an ugly thing. The ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

WHat would be a proper alternative word or phrase for “Social Network” but have the same impact or meaning as it? [closed]

What people normally first think in my opinion when they hear "social network". What else could you say apart from social network.
5
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
157 views

English Syntax Rules Based on Word Choice

I was reading the Wikipedia article on Animacy and came across something I found to be very interesting: The higher animacy a referent has, the less preferable it is to use the preposition of for ...
3
votes
7answers
339 views

Are there any English idioms to describe “futile benevolence?”

We have a word, “宋襄の仁” meaning “futile benevolence.” The word comes from a historic episode from ancient China. In Spring and Autumn era (BC 8C) in China, when Song Country fought Chu Country, Muyi, ...