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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278 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
356 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
54k views

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 ...
12
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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 ...
2
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5answers
850 views

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
28 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
133 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
489 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
6k 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
192 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
211 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
803 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

Is there an idiom beginning “when a dog is cornered”?

Is there any saying in a complete sentence including “a dog which is cornered”? I have tried to find a complete one, but there seems to be no one. Actually, what I want to know is how to explain the ...
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7answers
744 views

Idiom/word/saying request: Accepting a situation out of desperation

How can I say for example: Individual retailers run out of business when a big fish came to town. So they had accepted that they cannot compete and closed their stores. In the novel To Kill A ...
3
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3answers
298 views

Phrase for someone taking over business when you skip for humanity

Is there a witty or general saying of indicating the act of taking over a business when a person, business or country skips an opportunity for general benevolence? Examples: If I don't sell weapons ...
0
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1answer
542 views

What is the saying to express a certain situation? It is like, you will find nails everywhere when you have got a hammer [closed]

I am looking for a saying to express a situation that one is apt to apply anything instantly when it is at hand. I do not remember the saying. It seems to be that 'you will find nails everywhere when ...
53
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11answers
3k views

Phrase for overusing just-learned skills?

Is there a saying or word for indicating the overuse of something you just newly learned? Say you were happy with a hammer and a nail and then somebody taught you the virtues of a screw and ...
4
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5answers
2k views

What is a more politically correct way to call something a “Red-Headed Step-Child”?

I can't use the phrase "second-class citizen" either. This is for a professional blog post, so I'd rather stay away from "red-headed step-child". I can't use "second-class citizen" because I'm ...
4
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5answers
2k views

“Best is enemy of the good” (Russian idiom/saying)

What are English equivalents for following Russian idiom: "best is enemy of the good"? In Russian it means that if you are going too much after perfection you may make things even worse instead of ...
11
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1answer
318 views

Meaning of “match Greek with Greek”

From Christmas Storms and Sunshine by Elizabeth Gaskell (4th paragraph): Jenkins had his wife too. Wives were wanting to finish the completeness of the quarrel, which existed one memorable ...
36
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10answers
5k views

“To shoot out of cannon into sparrows”

In Russian we have idiom/saying "To shoot out of cannon into sparrows" (literal translation) which is used to convey an idea of applying too drastic measures to small problems. I believe there should ...
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8answers
260 views

Non-offensive equivalent to KISS [closed]

Is there a non-offensive way to tell someone: is better to (k)eep (i)t (s)imple, (s)... Update Let's say someone came with his part of the homework done, then it turns out to be a rather ...
1
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1answer
602 views

Origin of the phrase “That is how it is” [closed]

Where does this come from? That is how it is.
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4answers
244 views

Is there a saying like “Plum trees bloom most beautifully as they stand and overcome the cold severe winter.”? [closed]

Is there a saying like "Plum trees bloom most beautifully as they stand and overcome the cold severe winter."? It is a part of Japanese poem translated into English. It basically means a great ...
3
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4answers
15k views

What is the origin of “wake up and smell the roses”

Where did this saying come from, and what is its true meaning?
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5answers
6k views

Is there a saying like 'those who find faults with other people tend to be blind to their own faults'?

Is there a saying that could be explained as 'those who find faults with other people tend to be blind to their own faults?' As with people who are picky; their criticism of others often applies to ...
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2answers
1k views

Expression for “someone who's clueless of their surroundings”?

What is an expression or saying you could use to describe someone that is totally clueless of their surroundings?
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3answers
4k views

Lost in the Midst vs Mists of Time [closed]

Which of the following is more correct, and why? My attempts at Googling haven't produced a definitive answer, and all seem as sensible as each other going from base definitions. Lost in the mists ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth” mean? [closed]

I found this quote by George Bernard Shaw: When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. Can anyone please explain the meaning of this sentence?
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2answers
1k views

How long is “in a second”? [closed]

When someone says "give me a second", or "one second please", how long do they actually mean? Do they mean "will give you a response as soon as I can", or "in a short time, around 5 minutes"
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2answers
581 views

How to pronounce 3:1 ratio? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do I pronounce “ratio 1:1”? What is the correct pronunciation of 3:1 (as a ratio)? I know this might be simple enough to be answered by any native ...
5
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7answers
19k views

What is the origin of the phrase “two nations divided by a common language”?

What is the origin of the phrase "two nations divided by a common language"? I have seen it attributed to Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and even Winston Churchill. The most likely looking source ...
3
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1answer
2k views

What does “I'll kill that cat” in the play Dinner for One mean?

In the play Dinner for One, James the butler says, "I'll kill that cat," at time 14:05. What does this mean? Is he referring to the tiger rug which keeps tripping him, or is it a saying or ...
13
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5answers
16k views

Is it “a tough row to hoe?”, or “a tough road to hold?”

Is it an old farming metaphor, or a military saying? Where did this(these) saying(s) originate?
5
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2answers
9k views

What is the origin of “A cat in hell's chance”

What is the origin of the phrase: "A cat in hell's chance"? I understand it to mean "not a chance", but it seems a very curious saying and I wonder how it originated. e.g. Bob: Do you ...
1
vote
6answers
646 views

A phrase for ignoring the disparity at a low level, while seeking commonality at a high level

I'm having a hard time describing the phrase I'm looking for, so I think the best way to ask the question is to simply present the problem. At work I've been tasked with merging the guidelines (the ...
4
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2answers
11k views

Why is the term “double-edged sword” used for something that can be favorable and unfavorable?

When something can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences, the term double-edged sword is often used to describe it. Why? Does a double-edged sword have unfavorable consequences? Are ...
1
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1answer
288 views

Is the [blank] worth the shake? [closed]

I remember someone once telling me a saying in the form: "Is the [blank] worth the shake?" The meaning was similar to the saying, "Is the end worth the means?" I can't remember what the [blank] word ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Strike gold” but without the implication of searching?

Whenever I hear the phrase I struck gold the fact the person had to have done a certain search is implied to me. Is this correct? For example, if I say: Janet loves sex so much! I've struck gold ...
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votes
4answers
3k views

Why “Speak of the devil”?

Why is the expression "Speak of the devil" and not "Speaking of the devil"? For me, the -ing would make more sense because you're currently talking about someone, when he/she appears. For example, if ...
0
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6answers
689 views

“Through difficult to defeat” [closed]

There is a saying that when translated from my language is Through difficult to defeat. Is it correct to say it this way? I know that the correct saying is To stars through difficulties. It is very ...
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2answers
1k views

What does “USA intellectualism: a mile wide, an inch deep” mean? [closed]

I read "USA intellectualism: a mile wide, an inch deep", what's the meaning?
6
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2answers
7k views

Meaning of “take the lead out”

What is the meaning of the saying take the lead out? I ask because I was watching this video from the 1960's show What's My Line and Groucho Marx writes this on a blackboard (where he's supposed to ...
7
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3answers
2k views

A saying indicating how some professionals don't apply their skills for themselves

Some made-up examples: Architect's house is always crooked. Mechanic's car is leaking Chef's breakfast is as plain as boiled eggs Is there an established saying for these situations?
3
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2answers
6k views

“What to do when you live in a shoe”

Where does the phrase "what to do when you live in a shoe" come from? I was asked today why I use slow internet and responded, "What to do when you live in a shoe" as though my internet limitation(s) ...
4
votes
6answers
457 views

How to say “I must nothing” on a t-shirt

My son has a t-shirt that says, in Polish, "Nic nie muszę". It translates literally as "Nothing (I do) not must", meaning something like I do not have to do anything. How would you express this in ...
2
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2answers
267 views

looking for a certain quote/saying about winning, luck and practicing

I'm not sure if this the correct forum, but I can't seem to be able to google it so you guys are my only hope. I know there is a saying that means something like "you have to be lucky to win, but ...
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8answers
1k views

What is a better way to name “The Wrong Question”?

On StackOverflow.com I often find that people ask questions about problems that arise due to poor design choices (typically due to a lack of knowledge about the particular programming language). For ...
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3answers
7k views

Talking out of the side of your mouth

Talking out of the side of your mouth This means one is lying, right? Or something else?
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14answers
6k views

Phrase for focusing on unimportant details

I'm looking for an idiom or saying that I could use when people are focusing too much on small details and not seeing the big picture. A couple that come to mind are "being penny-wise and pound ...