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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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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871 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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448 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 ...
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340 views

Analogy for arising difficulties

I'm looking for a metaphor or analogy for experiencing more and more difficulties (after getting more familiar with a certain teaching or art). I think I have seen a few in the past but I can't think ...
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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 ...
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“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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8k 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 ...
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17k views

More idioms like “needle in a haystack” relevant to hidden/hard to find items? [closed]

Are there more idioms, sayings or phrases similar to "needle in a haystack" that are relevant to hidden objects, or difficult to find items? Also interested in similar nouns relevant to the somewhat ...
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2k views

Meaning and origin of “belt and braces” [closed]

What does the phrase belt and braces mean and where did it come from? I have a rough idea but would like to see if anyone has a proper definition for this phrase.
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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 ...
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336 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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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 ...
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449 views

What is “dook dook” called in English?

I've noticed that there are some sounds like: Animal sounds nature sounds e.g. raining sound what are these called in English?
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1answer
187 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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13k 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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261 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
5k 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) ...
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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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What are some old-world alternatives or precursors to 'WTF' (expressions of frustration or surprise)? [closed]

Such as 'what on Earth' or 'what in the world', etc. I'm trying to come up with a list of witty alternatives. Note: I'm not looking for alternatives to the letters W, T, and F. I'm looking for ...
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786 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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3answers
1k views

Dropped the pen and threw up the sponge

This was said by one of my mates while retelling a story. The story runs that there was a court being held, and there was a recording-clerk as well. But this was a humor story, and the story continued ...
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492 views

“Par for the course”

From your personal experience, is "par for the course" widely understood, or would you recommend using a less technical term? I am particularly interested in differences between American, British, ...
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2answers
260 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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4k views

“They know not of what they speak.”

Is this phrase wrong? Shouldn't it be, they know naught of what they speak?
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591 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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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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2k views

What does “gleaning the cube” mean?

If you also know the origin, please, share.
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99 views

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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3k views

Sayings similar to “a picture is worth a thousand words”

I' m looking for a common saying or catchphrase that has the same meaning as "a picture is worth a thousand words". I need this as a title for an article that illustrates that point in a specific ...
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329 views

Ways to ruin a hobby

Variations The best way to ruin a hobby is to make it a career. The fastest way to ruin a hobby is to try to make money with it. The quickest way to ruin a hobby is to make it a job. What's the ...
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2answers
106 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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4answers
250 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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863 views

Idiomatic expression related to “cat-putting” [closed]

I lived in a scholarship house for all of one year when I was in college (in the US). At the end of every year, they held an event that they called "The Cat-Putting" in which a few residents would ...
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1answer
32 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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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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228 views

Meaning of a saying about the difference between L.A. and New York [closed]

What is the meaning of the following? The difference between L.A. and New York is that in New York when you get robbed, you see the gun... UPD: Below is a part of the original discussion: ...
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Put two and two together…and got five?

I know the phrase "put two and two together", and in fact someone has already asked a question regarding its origin. However, I recently heard someone say the phrase with an addition of the humorous ...
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1answer
1k 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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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 ...
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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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1k 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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46 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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6answers
550 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 ...
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1answer
140 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
94 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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1answer
424 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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125 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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1k 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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1answer
544 views

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

Where does this come from? That is how it is.