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

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2answers
43 views

Usage of the phrase “over his lifetime”

Is it appropriate to use the phrase "over his lifetime" for in introducing someone if the person is still alive, i.e. "...his dedication to music over his lifetime..."
2
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7answers
514 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 ...
0
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1answer
23 views

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

Which one is correct? a big fan of yours in millions or a big fan in millions of yours Tanx
0
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1answer
49 views

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

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 ...
2
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2answers
72 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, ...
6
votes
6answers
668 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 ...
0
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1answer
91 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
0
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1answer
34 views

Synoyms: one-time-purchase (business model) / one-shot deal businesses

What phrases describe a one-time purchase business plan or a one-shot business deal? For instance: a restaurant is in Times Square, the food is atrocious but it doesn't matter because there are ...
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2answers
45 views

What's the meaning of “When you rock the boat, there will be waves”?

Does this phrase mean "When you cause a problem, people get upset."?
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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 ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Come out of the closet

'Come out of the closet ' derives from the phrase 'a skeleton in the closet'. Why is it perfectly OK to say come out of the closet but not come out of the cupboard as a follow-on the British phrase ...
2
votes
2answers
75 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 ...
1
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1answer
62 views

“all the virtues in the calendar”

Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "all the virtues in the calendar"? Doing a phrase search (with quotes) gives many example usages. Questions: 1. Is there an actual calendar of virtues ...
1
vote
1answer
47 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 ...
4
votes
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).
5
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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?
2
votes
4answers
66 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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votes
1answer
72 views

“Let it will be” [on hold]

"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
votes
5answers
95 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 ...
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0answers
36 views

Send me your address so that i can send u my laptop ? Is it correct statement? [on hold]

Send me your address so that i can send u my laptop ? Is it correct statement ?
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4answers
61 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 ...
2
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2answers
159 views

Origin of phrase “pulling for you”

When somebody is going through a difficult life situation, people will commonly say, "We're pulling for you." Where did this term come from? It sounds rather strange!
5
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10answers
94 views

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

Specifically a relationship which fell apart as time wore on.
6
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3answers
150 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
91 views

Meaning of “hound” [on hold]

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
votes
1answer
115 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
votes
6answers
271 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? ...
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4answers
991 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
62 views

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

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 ...
6
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4answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
12k 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 ...
1
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4answers
75 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
613 views

What does “Empedocles’ sandal” mean in terms of English usage?

I first heard the expression “Empedocles’ sandal” a long time ago without knowing what it referred to. It seems to derive from the legend of the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles (who was ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

I’m looking for a word or phrase that describes the feeling that something very bad or catastrophic is about to happen

It may be something that will happen to the person who is having the feeling but it may also be to several persons, as might occur with a highly destructive earthquake, for instance. The word or ...
1
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1answer
97 views

Is there a slang word or phrase for a middle-aged woman who serially dates much younger men? [closed]

Such practice is observed more often in the artistic world and among socialites. Is there a slang word or frase for these ladies?
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1answer
54 views

mistakes in set phrases; “…you have to celebrate the victory of your spoils…”

Is there a word for mistaken use of a set phrase? For example, I heard an interview with an athlete in which he said "...you have to celebrate the victory of your spoils." Of course, this is not how ...
9
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2answers
5k views
1
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0answers
37 views

Witty ways of saying Happy Birthday [closed]

Not sure if this is entirely relevant, but can anyone out there suggest any witty, pithy, humourous birthday wishes. I'm utterly hopeless with birthday cards and end up trotting out the same droll ...
4
votes
3answers
246 views

What does “talk to the hand” mean?

I saw the phrase "talk to the hand" on many funny stickers which seems like expressing the idea that you want to stop the topic or conversation which you feel uncomfortable or not interested in. But ...
2
votes
4answers
54 views

Informal phrase for finally doing something pending - very specific

What would be an informal saying of phrase for finally doing some chore or running some errand that was pending for some time? It maybe something you are avoiding, or something you forget all the ...
16
votes
11answers
2k views

Antonym for 'preaching to the choir'

I'm looking for a phrase which essentially means questioning a belief you share with someone, but that other person has an almost unshakable faith in that belief, so your misgivings fall on deaf ears ...
11
votes
2answers
8k views

Why can something be “touch and go”?

When a situation is risky or one isn't sure whether things are going to be OK, one might say that a situation is "touch and go". What is the origin of this phrase?
3
votes
2answers
141 views

meaning of “fallen little short of a mother in affection” in Jane Austen's Emma, Chapter I

She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father; ad had, in consequence of her sister's marriage, been mistress of his house from a very early peroid. Her mother ...
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votes
1answer
40 views

What is the meaning of “gassed for”? [closed]

I was reading a comment on ELU and it is... ... when you've been gassed for your oral surgery. Is it an idiomatic thing to say "gassed for or gassed up"?
2
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the difference between “Whatever/What ever happened to Sandra?” and “What happened to Sandra?”

Sandra's been missing for a while, so we ask: Whatever/What ever happened to Sandra? What happened to Sandra? Is there any difference between these two questions and the situation to ask them in?
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votes
1answer
44 views

Is it correct/idiomatic to say “got informed there?”

I thought the phrase was common/idiomatic. So I was surprised when I got 0 results on Google Books. The school was filled with gossip. So Anna probably got informed there (about someone's ...
8
votes
1answer
265 views

Who originated “Merry Christmas”?

The first reference I can find in the OED to "Merry Christmas" is from 1534. This date very roughly corresponds with the English Reformation and Henry VIII's breach with Rome. From that time the ...
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0answers
41 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 ...
0
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1answer
35 views

What's the meaning of “off to an early start” in this context? [closed]

The context as below: but violent clashes between riot police and students at the end of September got the action off to an early start
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0answers
49 views

Help understanding a sentence/reference

The introductory paragraph of the book An Introduction to Mathematics, written for general audience by the great British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead goes like this: Chapter 1: THE ...