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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“… 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?
0
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1answer
84 views

Biting butter and crumbs

In a song by The Last Shadow Puppets there is this line: "Can't you see I'm the ghost in the wrong coat Biting butter and crumbs" Is the "Biting butter and crumbs" an actual saying, or just a ...
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2answers
3k views

Good Things Come In Threes - has a definite positive connotation.

From fairytales to hollywood blockbusters, “the rule of three” (Latin-"omne trium perfectum") principle suggests things that come in threes are inherently more humorous, satisfying and effective ...
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11answers
4k 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 conveys ...
1
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1answer
46 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. ...
0
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2answers
58 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 ...
2
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3answers
2k 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 ...
7
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10answers
789 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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4answers
2k 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 ...
6
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9answers
842 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 ...
0
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2answers
177 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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2answers
115 views

Is there a set phrase for being polite to a person only when they are present?

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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4answers
19k 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 ...
2
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9answers
246 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?
15
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5answers
515 views

“The whole nine yards”

What is the origin of the phrase "the whole nine yards"? Is it a reference to some game of sports I am not familiar with (as a continental European)?
2
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3answers
4k 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 ...
4
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5answers
325 views

What do call individuals who express their opinions as if they were facts?

We all know some individuals who don’t express their opinions as: I think this is going to happen... Instead, they express it as if it were fact or news, e.g.: Next month the price of ...
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5answers
387 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, ...
4
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2answers
588 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 ...
2
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5answers
2k 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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1answer
55 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: ...
9
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4answers
304 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 ...
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4answers
26k views

Which is the correct idiom: “First thing's first” or “First things first”?

I've gotten into a debate over which usage of an apostrophe in the phrase "first thing(')s first" is correct. My thinking is that one would take the first thing and give it priority, hence the first ...
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8answers
3k views

Are there similar expressions to the Japanese saying “I want to die on a tatami mat”?

Today most people die in a hospital bed, though many would prefer to die in their own home being watched over by their loving family. We have an old saying, “to die on a tatami mat”, meaning to die ...
7
votes
1answer
390 views

Why does a Cheshire cat grin, and how long has it been doing so?

Most people are familiar with the expression "grin like a Cheshire cat" from Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (1865), which goes so far as to provide a glimpse of the grin without the cat. But the ...
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3answers
370 views

Is “haha” a sarcastic phrase? [closed]

So, is that "fake" funny? Is there any difference beetween "hehe", "haha", "huh", "heh", "hahaha", "ha", and so on and so forth?
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4answers
130 views

Are there historic sayings in English equvalent to Japanese “It’s up to you how you comment . But it’s me who take the action after all.”

There is a popular Japanese saying “It’s up to you how you comment. But it’s me who take action after all.” The line came from the answer of Katsu Kaishu (勝海舟-1823-1829), who was the leading figure ...
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5answers
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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 ...
28
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4answers
5k views

I don't have a ___ in this ___ (saying)

Earlier this evening, I was trying to tell someone, "I don't care who wins the Superbowl this year. I don't have a-" I could't remember how to complete this saying (to mean I don't have a personal ...
4
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5answers
578 views

Sayings about “the first one is the biggest sinner”

What are some ways to say that the first one who does something bad is the "biggest sinner" as the other ones just followed along and thereby their action is not as bad? Examples: The one who ...
7
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4answers
3k 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?
2
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4answers
234 views

Is there any saying or idiom equivalent to: “Hold your own hat, so the wind don’t blow it away?”

This saying refers to an individual who is not in a stable situation themselves, and worries about other people's problems. Please give me the English/American equivalent.
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2answers
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Why do so many groups of people (marketers, UX, finance) use a 'funnel' as a metaphor [closed]

The concept of a funnel is invariably used as an explanation of a flow where you start with a large base group of something (usually customers) and end up at the end with a much smaller subset that is ...
1
vote
5answers
428 views

Saying or idiom that means learning a lesson from the bad or good experience

We usually get advice from a friend or books or social media or else, and it only becomes a part of our information, we might learn from it and remember it or not, but if we experience it ourselves, ...
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3answers
261 views

Equivalent to “stay tuned”, but not for TV or radio?

I need to advertise that new hours will be announced in the future, in a simple way that sounds professional. "Stay tuned" would be perfect, except the fact that this is for print, not for TV or ...
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3answers
1k views

A term describing the replacement of a specific word in a saying with one that ryhmes

I understand this is quite a complicated title, however I have failed to discover a word (or a few words) to adequately describe the creative language used when changing a saying (or well-known ...
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4answers
259 views

Is there a saying or idiom for “trying to get the truth from someone by lying”?

context Mary-Ann got home late from school. Asked where she had been, she said she had spent the afternoon at the library. Her father thinks she is lying and says: "I know you haven’t been there ...
0
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4answers
297 views

What is the saying or idiom or word that means when “friends” don’t need you anymore it seems like they don’t know you anymore

there are some people who are your friend in the time of need,and they ignore you the other times,so what do you call them? a poet calls them "flies around a sweetmeat".
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21answers
7k views

Is there a saying or proverb for a situation where the weakest party will always lose?

Context - One might use it in the following situations: "An employee has an argument with her boss and a dispute follows." (she gets fired a few weeks later) "A student having an argument with his ...
0
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4answers
62 views

A saying that means a bad judgment often is reduced by understanding the reason of somebody's behavior or words.

There could be several reasons for somebody’s behavior or words, Understanding those reasons are essential to make a correct judgment (good or bad), having incomplete or incorrect information results ...
5
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5answers
215 views

A proverb or idiom in English for people who pick up a new language very quickly

There's a proverb in my language which goes like --he/she spent just one night with the hen and ended up clucking the following morning. This saying can be used either positively or negatively. I'm ...
6
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1answer
251 views

A frog in the throat

While the French refer to the temporary hoarseness caused by phlegm in the back of the throat as having a cat in the throat, the English version of the expression is to have a frog in the throat. I ...
0
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1answer
82 views

Is there a saying or proverb for a situation where the weakest party will always lose? [duplicate]

Yes this a repeat of a previous question, but I could not figure out how to post this answer, so I shall try to re-ask the question and answer it myself: THE HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR By ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of “X need not apply”?

I've seen this a bunch of times before, largely in TV/movies, where someone will be looking at a job posting and it will say "X need not apply". Does this mean as in "there is no reason for X to ...
0
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1answer
65 views

Saying involving “Spurring an old horse”

Is there a saying like that? I'm thinking it's something along the lines of working something too hard. I don't want to attempt to word it because I'll most likely butcher it horribly.
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5answers
1k views

What is a saying for someone who does good in the street, but is bad at home?

In Spanish there is this saying "Candil de la calle, oscuridad de tu casa". Which is basically said to people who do good outside, e.g. at work or school, but does nothing good at home for his or her ...
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2answers
16k views

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 ...
2
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1answer
363 views

English folk saying or proverb involving the number four (of people)?

We have: "it takes two to tango", "two is company; three is a crowd", etc... Are there any similar sayings that refer to four people?
2
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1answer
744 views

Is “the best thing since sliced bread” supposed to be taken sarcastically?

On one day my boss said that a tool I had created to speed up my work was “probably the best thing since sliced bread”. Neither one of us is a native english speaker and we don’t also have any similar ...
3
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2answers
364 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?