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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Springtime is when

I heard the saying below, and don't understand what it means. I heard it in a concert, but it is also recorded in an american book of proverbs linked below. (b) In spring a young man's fancy turns ...
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2answers
274 views

How did an “arm” become a “mile”?

The common saying "give an inch and they'll take a mile" means: Make a small concession and they'll take advantage of you. For example, I told her she could borrow the car for one day and ...
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2answers
63 views

What is the origin of the British English saying: “It's got bits missing”?

I know someone from England who says this, in such a way that she assumes I have heard it, and that many people she knows say it... I find it amusing because it contrasts its Got with Missing. (She ...
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1answer
269 views

What is the origin of “Act your age, not your shoe size”?

I have been thinking about this saying a lot in the past week (and yes I saw Prince in concert 30 years ago, and the Ramones the same night), but I have heard it since I was a child. I guess I find it ...
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16 views

'come off/out hale' correct usage

Is saying 'Come off/out (feeling) hale/better' to someone who is ill right. I know it isn't used. But can it be right? If not can anyone suggest anything akin?
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3answers
81 views

To pretend that a mistake was intentionally done so as to save face

I am looking for a expression, phrase or word that describes a person or behavior that pretends a mistake made was intentionally done so as to save face. There is a phrase in my language saying "To ...
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1answer
55 views

Hammer a nail into my chin if

Hammer a nail into my chin, if it ever happened. Informally they say, Spit on my grave if it ever happened. Someone who is so confident that his following statement is irrefutable and cannot be ...
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2answers
118 views

'one's chest has straitened, yet he doth not utter'

This is a rough translation of a line in Arabic poetry and I can't seem to find a good equivalent to it. 'Ones chest/bosom has straitened/has narrowed so much/distressed/heavied (no more room in his ...
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2answers
67 views

quote/phrase for “more likely to use something if it is right there”

I am looking for a saying/quote/phrase that says that people are more likely to use something if it is right there and ready for use than if they need to put in effort to do so. A simple example ...
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1answer
89 views

Translation of most used sayings and proverbs [closed]

I know that some sayings or proverbs are different in some languages. So is the Dutch proverb "Een vis op het droge" in correct English A fish out of water. If you translate the Dutch proverb ...
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3answers
61 views

'Gargle with rose water before you dare speak of/about'

'Rinse your mouth/gargle with (rose/blossom water or Zamzam water or in case of culture differences Pierian spring water), before you dare speak of/about..'. This is an Arabic saying. This is used ...
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4answers
60 views

Is 'We are for it' correct usage? [closed]

If war—or anything, for that matter—was impending, people might say "We are up for it," to hearten the spirits of everyone and to ready them for the coming conflict. 1: It looks like it is war. ...
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91 views

Are there other well-known examples of the type “Illigitimi non carborundum”?

Illegitimi non carborundum, mock-Latin for "don't let the bastards grind you down", dates to early WWII, and later in the war was adopted by Gen."Vinegar" Joe Stillwell as his motto. For more, ...
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1answer
44 views

No harm be upon you

This is used to comfort the ill in Arabic, among other sayings. This however is very common. It is however also used to inquire about something that might be wrong before it is said, but by just ...
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2answers
53 views

Is there a saying “to fight x with x”? [closed]

I remember something like "fighting fire with fire", but I'm not sure if it's a common saying in English, or in my native language. Are there any other sayings that explain this kind of siutation? ...
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1answer
60 views

What is said to check on a planned date?

When you have preplanned a date for something with a friend or a group of people and you want to ask if they are still committed to it and it's sort of a reminder Are on date? That doesn't seem ...
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2answers
129 views

Is there an English equivalent of the Korean expression: “If the rice cake looks good, then it tastes good”?

This Korean saying is essentially the direct opposite of "never judge a book by its cover."
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3answers
174 views

Does English have an equivalent to the Arabic “Far away from you”?

Arabic has an idiomatic expression which translates as "Far away from you". Is there something similar in English? If something low or contemptible is cited the expression usually immediately follows ...
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5answers
239 views

“From hands, I pray, will never bereave”

When someone dear serves you a drink or a cup of tea/coffee, the recipient may offer this polite saying. It's very difficult to translate it to English. It should be something like: "From hands that I ...
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3answers
89 views

Anything similar to Arabic “O' Peace”?

The best way to go about an explanation is an example. Imagine if the times would go back, when we were living in Baghdad, when all was quiet and mellow. "Ooo Peace! O God O God. If only ...
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1answer
264 views

Is the proverb “never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut” used and understood?

The saying “never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut” means “don’t ask a person about their own activity, because they are in a conflict of interest and can only answer in one way”. Thus, it ...
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2answers
34 views

Saying on motivation for work

I'm trying to recall a saying I recently read. It was about motivation and went something like this: "Don't complain about how complex something is, but wish you were smarter." Does someone know what ...
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3answers
77 views

Delayed gratification reward expression

Is there a saying that means delayed gratification increases the eventual gratification?
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4answers
78 views

Saying for using an overly powerful tool to fix a minor problem

I found "A sledgehammer to crack a nut" as one example. What are some others?
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3answers
62 views

What is the origin of the term “ages”

I understand obviously that an "age" is a measurement of time, but can someone specify for me the earliest known use of "ages" as a slang term? An example would be the following use: The drive to ...
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2answers
62 views

Word to describe an action that divide groups

Greeting, I am looking for a word that I can use to describe a method that divides a single group into similar smaller groups (not opposing groups). Something like "schismatic", but without the ...
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1answer
255 views

What does “neither fish nor fowl” mean? [closed]

I read this once somewhere in a story and I want to be sure about the meaning and the usage of it. Can you provide some examples, please?
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30 views

Armor glistening like glass in Chapman's Homer

I am trying to recover a lovely phrase that I only dimly remember. I think that it's in Chapman's Homer. I think that it's a simile: someone's armor or shield (perhaps Agamemnon's) "glistens like ...
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3answers
95 views

Antonym of Elder

After looking up the antonym of "Elder" and only finding "Younger," I'm wondering how to better say the opposite of: Respect your elders as Respect your youngers seems kind of strange to me. ...
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1answer
58 views

What does it mean? [closed]

What does it mean? Watch her family. If you believe that she is the apple that fell far from the tree, life will teach you to consider. Thanks
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4answers
270 views

What's the name of this literary device?

Suddenly, the theater became silent. Just like the breathless spectators. I'm very much interested in how this rhetorical device would be classified. At first, "the theater" is a totum pro parte ...
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2answers
199 views

The devil is in the details

Which would be a suitable alternative for the common idiom "The devil is in the details", without the use of the word "devil"? No detail is too small. or It's in the details. Alternative ...
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3answers
150 views

Term for a phrase that has an alternative meaning [closed]

Is there a term to describe the following types of phrases that have alternative meanings. "We were trying to boil the ocean" = we were trying to do too much "Eating the elephant one bite at a time" ...
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3answers
223 views

To convince someone to do something that they do anyways (idiom)

In my native language we have an ironic saying: "It is hard to convince a fish to jump into water", which is used when we convince for example an alcoholic to take a drink or an athlete to go jogging. ...
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8answers
366 views

Maxims that have to do with persistence? [closed]

I am looking for idiomatic expressions that convey the value of persistence, such as a long, drawn-out battle where the victor is necessarily the person who simply outlasted the other. I know there is ...
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2answers
136 views

I've been working “in Linux” or “on Linux”?

I have this question, how should I say: I been working in linux. I been working on linux. I know that "in" implies something is inside another thing, and "on" is like something is over the other ...
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0answers
70 views

What does it mean to say “The tie has got quite a lot”

Today, when I was making some tea for myself in the staff room, my colleague told me something that I didn't really understand. I would like to know what does this saying mean. I filled half my glass ...
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2answers
229 views

Looking for a phrase: a needlessly overcomplicated method of accomplishing a simple task [duplicate]

In my language, there is an expression for this - you can touch the tip of your nose normally, or you can move your hand behind your neck, across it, then touch the tip of the nose from the opposite ...
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2answers
194 views

Do you remember the English expression “content is better than…” which means “real inside content is better than superficial outside appearance”?

I remember that once upon a time I heard the expression "content is better than...", which means that real inside content is better than superficial outside appearance. But I couldn't remember the ...
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2answers
243 views

Is there a saying or proverb for “an inventor being killed by his own invention”?

There is long list of inventors whose death was somehow related to the product, process or procedure they invented. To cite just a few, Marie Curie (1867–1934) invented the process to isolate ...
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4answers
129 views

A similar saying to 'In confirmation to your saying'?

If in a discussion, one were to say something correct and you were to further confirm the truthfulness of that statement and back him up, we say in my mother tongue 'in confirmation to your saying/ or ...
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5answers
188 views

Idiom meaning “If it should be (x), it would be (x)”?

Is there some kind of saying or idiom in English with the meaning if it were supposed to be like that, it would be (like that) Something like if it should be, it would be
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1answer
90 views

A sentence from Oliver Twist and its meaning

Saw this in his book a few days, would someone help me find clarity in its meaning? "brass can do better than the gold what has stood the fire" Here is the full context: The man ran upstairs. ...
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2answers
159 views

What does the expression “Ring the bell for lemons” mean? [closed]

Google search doesn't tell me - it occurs in two George Eliot novels, from context I think it means "act cheerful in a disappointing circumstance" - does anyone have a dictionary of phrases/sayings ...
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10answers
4k views

Is there any saying or idiom to describe the opposite of “blessing in disguise”?

Something that looks like a good thing at first, but has unforeseen bad consequences. For instance, while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne ...
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9answers
2k views

Word meaning “someone who does all the work” [closed]

Is there a word for someone who does all of the work? Or for the person who is exploited when someone else steals the credit?
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2answers
2k views

what is the origin of “weighing the pig doesn't make it fatter”

What is the origin of "weighing the pig doesn't make it fatter"
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9answers
1k views

English equivalent of saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh”?

The saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh” from my own language is typically addressed to someone who likes to provide unsolicited help by barging in on a heated conversation between two ...
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1answer
104 views

Correct usage of “to find oneself at daggers drawn with sb.”

I am looking into the usage of the phrase to find oneself at daggers drawn with sb. It seems to require a person at the end of the phrase, but I would like to use it in the following way: ...
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4answers
470 views

Source and meaning of the proverb “Milk says to wine, Welcome friend”

While investigating an unrelated expression, I came across the following proverb in George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum ; or Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, Etc., second edition (1651): Milk says to ...