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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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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1answer
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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5answers
1k 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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1answer
103 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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3answers
242 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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3answers
11k 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 ...
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2answers
6k 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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2answers
419 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?
3
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3answers
205 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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4answers
10k 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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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
4k 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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10answers
3k views

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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5answers
677 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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3answers
454 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, ...
2
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2answers
247 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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5answers
3k 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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3answers
257 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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5answers
106 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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3answers
1k views

What does “gleaning the cube” mean?

If you also know the origin, please, share.
2
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2answers
324 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 ...
2
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1answer
59 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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4answers
208 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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1answer
737 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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3answers
25k 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 ...
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2answers
201 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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2answers
2k views

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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4answers
188 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 ...
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2answers
764 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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4answers
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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1answer
454 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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3answers
2k 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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6answers
475 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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2answers
78 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
310 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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1answer
97 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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2answers
764 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
465 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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2answers
2k views

“The crying baby gets the milk”

Where does the saying "The crying baby gets the milk" come from? I don't think it's from English.
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2answers
159 views

“Maybe I have colored it too much”

Is that understandable in English? Or maybe there is a better way to illustrate what I want to say. What I want to say is that maybe I have exaggerated. For example, God is always good. He ...
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1answer
135 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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1answer
243 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 ...
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2answers
59 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
69 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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1answer
404 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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0answers
26 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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6answers
538 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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4answers
773 views

What is the meaning of “Set us up the [noun]”?

Why would someone frequently say "Someone set us up the (thing)" when referring to things done to or for them. For example: "Someone set us up the breakfast." "Someone set us up the ...
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2answers
132 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 ...