Tagged Questions

A saying is something that is said, notable in one respect or another, to be "a pithy expression of wisdom or truth."

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Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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3answers
48 views

Saying about good and bad [duplicate]

Is there a saying or a quote, when something good happen thanks to something bad ? Like you meet someone because you've lost someone else ?
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3answers
413 views

English proverb or saying on “you can't have too many friends”

I'm curious if there's an English proverb or saying that has the meaning "you can't have too many friends". The matter is, we have such a saying in Russian ("Друзей много не бывает"). In other words, ...
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1answer
115 views

Meaning of: “The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right”

This is a Mark Twain aphorism: The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. This is apparently intended to be easily understood, but the ...
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0answers
27 views

Is there a saying/aphorism/proverb for the following

Is there a saying or proverb for when a person or group of people act politely and with respect towards a certain member of a group in front of a person of respect or elder, and then acts with ...
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1answer
83 views

“Rule the Roast” and “Rule the Roost”

John Ayto, Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (2009) has this entry for "rule the roost": rule the roost be in complete control The original expression was rule the roast, which was common ...
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6answers
885 views

Saying that refers to not going overboard in solving a problem when a simple solution exists

So I know I've heard this saying in American English before but I just can't quite find the original. I have come up with several made up variations like: I don't send the Navy (or whole army, or a ...
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9answers
635 views

What's the English idiom/saying to describe that the chosen word is not correct?

I mean that the word used is too light or too subtle to describe the gravity of the situation? For example (an artificial example): the tsunami starts, the incredibly big waves are coming to the ...
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4answers
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Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
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2answers
51 views

Looking for a folk saying or proverb that reflects “the closer, higher the competition”

I am looking for an American or UK folk saying or proverb that reflects the following idea: the closer are the players, the higher is the competition or the more level the playing field, the more ...
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0answers
36 views

What’s the original version of “I see, said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw”? [duplicate]

What is the original saying of I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.
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2answers
169 views

What is a proper response to a joke about visiting dentist at 2:30/tooth hurty?

I advised my client that I would be unavailable on a particular day because I have an appointment with the dentist to remove a tooth. The client responded What time is the appointment? 2:30? The ...
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12answers
4k views

An expression or saying meaning “don't celebrate too early”

I am looking for a saying or common expression to say that it is not advisable to anticipate or celebrate something before you know the actual outcome. I am thinking about political elections or ...
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11answers
4k views

Is it correct to say “You are a path shower” [closed]

First of all, I am not a native English speaker and not very good in English too. I had a technical problem in my software project and thus took help of somebody. She helped me to find the right way ...
3
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3answers
85 views

Saying for having an argument in public that should be private

Isn't their a saying when a couple fights where everyone can hear and they say things like nobody can hear? Something like, "Arguing behind a screen door" or "fighting with the screen door open."
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12answers
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Are there English equivalents to the Japanese saying, “There’s a god who puts you down as well as a god who picks you up”?

There is an old Japanese saying, “捨てる神あれば、拾う神あり-Suterukami areba hirou kami ari,” meaning “There’s a god who puts you down as well as a god who picks up you.” In other words, “In this world, some ...
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2answers
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Why does this “Ladies First” saying exist?

I've been wondering. Where did the saying "Ladies first" originate? Did it originally appeared in English countries, or? And is this always expressed in a positive/polite tune of meaning? I mean, I ...
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5answers
381 views

What is the English equivalent for the Spanish saying “God gives bread to those who have no teeth”?

There is an interesting popular saying in southern European countries, that in Spanish, for instance, says: "Dios da pan a quien no tiene dientes". Literally, "God gives bread to those who have no ...
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11answers
3k views

It never rains but it pours

This popular saying meaning: When troubles come they come together, (especially if you are unfortunate). has a clear negative connotation. I am looking for a saying or expression that convey just ...
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1answer
193 views

No sex please, we are British!

This well-renowned saying was celebrated in the 70's and 80's in London West End. But what is its origin? What roots in popular culture has this phrase?
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5answers
3k views

A word that represents a group of people working to achieve a common goal or dream

I am working on a project that involves bringing people together who share common goals or dreams. Is there a word or phrase to describe groups of people who are working together to accomplish these ...
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33answers
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What's the English equivalent of “Drilling one's head”?

In Arabic (Specifically, north-western Levantine), there's a saying that goes like He drilled my head about/with that lunch meeting (بخشلي راسي باجتماع الغدا) Which means something along the ...
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3answers
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Is there a similar proverb in English as of malayalam

In Malayalam, there is a proverb "Either the leaf falls on a thorn or a thorn on a leaf, it harms the leaf." Can you suggest an English saying similar to this?
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11answers
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[S]he has the ears of a …?

Often, when overheard from far away, I find myself saying/thinking: [S]he has the ears of a hawk! Which doesn't really make sense as hawks aren't particularly well known for their sense of ...
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1answer
176 views

What does “to be the lowest common denominator” mean? [duplicate]

I'm not English and I never encountered this saying: In almost all cases, it is possible and within reason to write completely portable code. In practice, this means that you shouldn’t ...
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2answers
134 views

Saying for not doing something because it is futile [duplicate]

Is there such a saying? Futile may be either because it will fail or because it is unnecessary / already taken care of. I considered: too many chefs spoil the broth and It's like carrying coals to ...
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0answers
195 views

Meaning of the saying “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” [closed]

Please, I would like the explation of the saying: Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. I translated it to my native language, but ...
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2answers
106 views

The penny dropped slowly

In Germany we have the saying "der Groschen ist gefallen", which exists in the English language, too: The penny dropped. But there is also a variation for slower thinking, "der Groschen fällt ...
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2answers
260 views

“… gets my goat”. What's my goat and why does it get it?

To get someone's goat is make them annoyed or irritated. But what is the goat and why does getting it annoy them? When and where does the phrase come from? What's the first known use?
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14answers
898 views

An expression for trying to futilely apply old methods that once worked

We are looking for an expression that captures this idea: When someone tries to adapt an old way of doing something, holding on to the original core of their process, in a futile way, instead of ...
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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 ...
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1answer
2k views

Why do you say “square” in “Be there or be square”? [closed]

I've known the saying Be there or be square! for a long time, but never really understood - why "square"? Where does that come from? Why not Be there or be rectangular! :-)
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1answer
148 views

Good expressions to signify extensive analysis

I am looking for a way to communicate in a business context that I am carrying out extensive analysis to get to the bottom of something by synthesizing info and insights from various sources to come ...
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1answer
471 views

Flog meaning to sell in “Flogging a dead horse”

I saw an article recently where the author used the term "flogging a dead horse" where the term flogging was meant in the UK slang sense of "to sell".It was accompanied by a drawing of a stuffed horse ...
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3answers
763 views

Is there an English saying like “cut to the chase”, but with a negative connotation?

If I say: "You really cut to the chase there." I think it's not clear whether I'm expressing approval or disapproval. I'm wondering if there's a similar saying which would express the sentiment ...
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1answer
970 views

Difference between tomorrow never comes and tomorrow will never come

What is the difference between tomorrow never comes and tomorrow will never come? A friend said that Tomorrow never comes is a saying. Then Why is the latter not a saying too? Are their meanings the ...
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6answers
365 views

“Soldier sleeps - the service continues” (Russian idiom/saying)

What are English equivalents for following Russian idiom: "soldier sleeps - the service continues"? In Russian it means that "you have a rest, but your work is still being done". UPD from comments: ...
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1answer
161 views

Who translated “He's a muddled fool, full of lucid intervals.” [closed]

I have revised herein my question of Aug 18 and update my research based on the most helpful suggestions of Peter Schor and tchrist of Aug 18, 2013. I'm not a Cervantista and don't speak Spanish. ...
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4answers
260 views

English equivalent of Greek saying

My Greek friend has told me a Greek saying, which roughly translates to: The thief screams to frighten the landlord Effectively it means: You are only making a fuss so that nobody accuses you, ...
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2answers
346 views

Is there English version of French army cliché, “A friend when you’re lieutenant, companion when captain, … the enemy when you’re general"?

I found a French army cliché; “A friend when you’ re a first lieutenant, a companion when you’re captain, a colleague when you’re major, a rival when you’re colonel, the enemy when you’re general” ...
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3answers
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Why is karma a bitch?

I came across this saying "karma is a bitch" a few times while reading some comments online recently. I understand karma as a religious concept to mean "what goes around, comes around". I also ...
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4answers
2k views

Where did the adage, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” come from?

In connection with my questions about the meaning of Pope Francis’s, remarks - 'Who am I to judge?' / 'You can add more water to the beans'. I found the following statement in a New York Times (July ...
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5answers
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What does Pope Francis’s remark, “You can always add more water to the beans,” mean?

In connection with my question about Pope Francis’s remark I posted today, there was the following statement in the same article of New York Times (July 29): “In contrast, Francis spoke on the ...
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0answers
27 views

“I am yet to see” versus “I have yet to see” [duplicate]

What is the difference between I am yet to see X and I have yet to see X and in which situations would each be preferred?
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1answer
130 views

Source for the Adage: “The first liar is always believed most.”

In a couple of books and articles I've come across an adage, “the first liar is always believed most”: Now, I talked to the captain first, but I want you to know that great old saying, “The ...
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3answers
406 views

Is there great difference between “Make a mountain out of a molehill” and “Much ado about nothing”?

I came across two approximate sayings “Making a mountain out of a molehill” and “Much ado about nothing” coincidentally in tandem in the home page of today’s (June 7) New York Times. Making a ...
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4answers
5k views

What's the origin of the saying “know your onions”?

In French, there's the expression occupez-vous de vos oignons which means "mind your own business" in English but can be literally translated as "take care of your onions". Know your onions however ...
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2answers
174 views

An idiom for “going with the most likely option”

What's an idiom for the action of going for the most likely / most appropriate option? I had been saying "placing my bets with _" but it turns out that doesn't exist :D Must have got it from "hedge ...
0
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1answer
184 views

Which is correct? “not to” or “to not” [duplicate]

I was writing a blog post just now and I couldn't help but hesitate at the following snippet: "...causing this to not work as expected" And I couldn't decide if that's correct or if I should use ...
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4answers
743 views

Is there an English equivalent for the Swedish expression “the droplet that caused the beaker to overflow”?

In Swedish, the expression "det var droppen som fick bägaren att rinna över", directly translated to "the droplet that caused the beaker to overflow", is used to express that enough is enough. Is ...