Tag Info

New answers tagged

0

Inhabitants of a number of other U.S. cities and towns with famous foreign counterparts have adopted pronunciations at variance with their more famous namesakes. For example: Cairo, Illinois (pronounced Kay-ro) Lima, Ohio (pronounced Lie-muh) Palestine, Texas (pronounced Pal-uh-steen) Weimar, Texas (pronounced Wie-mur) The same goes for ...


0

The other answers here refer to the drug taking aspect of it, but I've often heard my Irish father say "doing a line" in reference to dating. It's no longer commonly used in Ireland any more, but most Irish people would know exactly what you meant if you said you were "doing a line" with someone. This site has a section on Irish Sayings for St Patrick's Day ...


1

The opposite of an epiphany is a brain fart, of course. While the meaning should be pretty obvious from the name, we have a little help below. Wikipedia: A brain fart (may be jocularly derived from "brainstorm")1 is slang for a special kind of abnormal brain activity which results in human error while performing a repetitive task,[2][3] or more ...


12

Make as in car make is not a recent innovation derived from the verb, as one is tempted to believe, but is based on the definition "the manner in which a thing is made". The OED's earliest attestation for this use of make is dated 1375.


7

No, the term make as a noun is not unique to automotive industry. In fact, the definition says: the manufacturer or trade name of a product. Even though it is often heard when speaking about cars, the word make can refer to any type of product. Consider: There are many different makes and models of reel, which can be used for this type of zander ...


0

This is a poignant song about hard times, dead end places and wasted lives. A young man, idle and dreaming of better, is so practiced rolling joints that he can do so with one paper and is so good at it he is nick-named for the skill. We know it is pot, not tobacco, because after death there are "no Camels"... a commercial brand of cigarette implying that ...


0

In computer systems usability design, we jokingly refer to that as an onosecond - it's the amount of time that elapses between the time you click on the wrong thing, and the time you realize you can't undo the damage.


0

I tend to agree with oerkelens, and add this source as additional information on the issue: SYLLABUS: (now thought to be a misprint of Greek syttyba) might be a scrambled cognate of SPELL or from S(H)iB(H)eeYL (path, course). The equally problematic etymology given for SYLLABLE suggests that we see SYLLABLE as a SPELLING term, recalling that each ...


2

etymonline to the rescue: syllabus (n.) 1650s, "table of contents of a series of lectures, etc.," from Late Latin syllabus "list," ultimately a misreading of Greek sittybos "parchment label, table of contents," of unknown origin. The misprint appeared in a 15c. edition of Cicero's "Ad Atticum" (see OED). Had it been a real word, the proper plural ...


4

A sinking feeling or a stomach drop is what comes to mind. I had a sinking feeling as I realised that I hadn't confirmed the bookings for the flight we were heading toward. My stomach dropped when I realised that I'd accidently deleted all my work.


3

My guess is that before movies and TVs people acted in plays, on a stage. Plays became movies and the TV became a sort of small personal stage we have in our houses. We turn it on with a switch, and while it's running we refer to it as being on. It seems to follow naturally that we would say "What's on TV tonight?" "Saturday Night Live is on." On the other ...


1

Perhaps this is because TV shows are ongoing, and movies aren't. Movies were made once and that's it, while a TV show is continuously being produced. This seems to be similar to how you would refer to being in a train. If the train is moving, you are on the train. If the train is stationary, you are in a train. Just a thought.


2

Sense 2b of buster in the online OED is: b. A form of address to (or occas. a term for) a person, esp. a man, variously expressing affection, familiarity, disrespect, or hostility. Formerly freq. in old buster. First quoted: 1838 New Yorker 24 Mar. 4/1 That's generous, old buster. Sense 2a, dating from 1833, is: A person who or thing ...


2

I think perhaps the word you're looking for is: "peripeteia" "a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances, especially in reference to fictional narrative." It strikes me as a little odd that an experience that has such a universal applicability has no more familiar word. Who hasn't experienced that feeling of "Oh no, something really ...


4

A generic word or phrase, like sudden realization, will do quite nicely. You can also get physical and refer to the pit of your stomach. If you are looking for a cutesy or humorous term, Douglas Adams defines the following in The Meaning of Liff: ELY (n.) — The first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong. ...


1

"Epiphany" means "sudden revelation" or "upon manifestation" when I look at the roots, so there is no direct positive connotation in the roots. I think you're looking for a specific word meaning "impending disaster" or "anxiety". I would also think of things like "sinking feeling" and "deflation" as opposites of "epiphany"


35

Epiphany has nothing to do with phones—it is etymologically an ‘out-showing’ or manifestation, and until recently was used primarily for the manifestation of a divine being: most often, as in the Feast of the Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the world at large. The modern sense derives primarily from the work of James Joyce (though he had ...


5

Looking up names like Steele and others with the e at the end reveals that before anything was standardized, there were many variations of every name, just as there were for every word. And that they still exist. Changes in spelling of names, as well as words, were effected by all of English's transformations, as well as its influences from many other ...


2

All of these words are often spelt with final -e in pre-modern English when used as common nouns or adjectives. As family names they have simply retained their older spelling.


21

Disillusion (v.): to make someone realize that something which they thought was true or good is not really true or good: I hate to disillusion you, but I don't think she's coming back. Disenchantment (n.) [uncountable]: disappointment with someone or something, and no longer believing that they are good: Voters expressed growing ...


2

Considering the meaning of Epiphany you are suggesting (Eureka Moment), I think a fiasco can convey the idea of the opposite reaction: a complete failure, esp one that is ignominious or humiliating Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Fiasco


11

Verbmall has an interesting creation on the opposite of epiphany: So, let me approach the question from an etymological perspective. An epiphany leads a person to a burst of internal light. We need a term to metaphorically express leading a person to a dark cave. Let’s save the epi-, meaning to, and let’s add the combining form -calyptry, from the Greek ...


0

Why, that's what it means! It doesn't actually transform the sentence into a question; the question mark does that (see also: French). We've just gotten used to always seeing it at the start of a question, but it's really there to draw attention.


-1

just a suggestion We English have words that are considered unsuitable in polite company and make last second alterations to the word ending to avoid offence. eg hell becomes heck what the devil becomes what the dickens shit becomes sugar Could shtook be another example - a last second substitution for shit


-1

Please allow a foreign amateur to propose a slightly different angle to the problem - timing. To me co-operation and co-laboration tastes like: Laboration = 'work', is short term, while Operation = business as usual, is ongoing and long term. That would lead to cooperation being linked to "partnering" (for common long-term benefits), while collaboration ...


2

Years ago I read in an old volume (early 20th century) the expression "cute as a button quail". It was a children's book originating in the United Kingdom, an anthology of prose, written in a more Victorian dialect. I can't remember the name for the life of me, sorry. I don't know if this usage is related to the "cute as a button" etymologically, but ...


0

In medieval times, castle gates were usually raised or “hoisted” by ropes and pulleys to allow passage. It seems logical to apply the term hoist to the wartime practice of making a passage through the gate with a petard, raising the gate by use of explosive force, so to speak.


1

The Online Etymology Dictionary says that "poor man's something" is from 1854.


-2

It's a colloquialism, and a verbal usage. It's not considered Standard English. So saying it is fine, but writing it in an essay, report, or speech is not.


0

Has anybody ever considered this as an explanation: Le Mans car race in France features cars that must run for 24 hours continuously in order to complete the race. Many cars break down and stop running during the race due to malfunction from over-heating or breaking parts. I can image that when a car was not able to complete the race due to being an ...


0

It appears there is no agreement on the origin of this expression. Here is what I have found: Pull your finger out: When you tell someone to pull your finger out, you are telling them to hurry up or to complete a task quicker. This term derives from when artillerymen would push gunpowder into the ignition chamber of their guns with their ...


2

I have been told it is originally British RAF slang, meaning "pull your finger out of your ass". I believe it refers to the fact that if you have your finger 'up your ass', you can't be doing what you are supposed to be doing, so should remove your finger and begin to act. I would say it is synonymous with "stop procrastinating!"


2

Pass away - I agree that this is a more formally used phrase Kick the bucket - This one is used quite commonly as a colloquial dysphemism (making it sound harsher than it is - avoid this at a funeral it may offend someone. Meet one's end sounds more philosophical to me, sort of like implying one's death was part of their destiny. Depart this life seems ...


1

You could get away with 'mare if you are facing a syllable constraint, at the risk of sounding forced.


1

I think bad refers to the (risky) reason why you are throwing (investing) money which is likely to make you lose it. Don't throw good money after bad: To spend more and more money on something that will never be successful Investors in the project began to pull out as they realised they were simply throwing good money after bad. The idiom to ...


0

First I think we can establish with some certainty that Gertrude Stein's use was not the beginning of this metaphor. Consider the similarities between Stein's "As a Wife Has a Cow: A Love Story" and the Greek fable of IO, who was loved by Zeus and turned into a cow when Zeus's wife, Hera, discovered them. Hera later sent a gadfly to infect IO in cow form, ...


1

Ngram shows that the expression love to bits is quite recent: Love to bits: love somebody/something to bits (informal) to like or to love someone or something a lot. Clive's the nicest person I know. I love him to bits. 'Do you like your new bike, then?' 'Oh, I love it to bits!' Source: Cambridge Idioms Dictionary. but the expression ...


3

It may come from the older expression "(all) to pieces: to a great degree, completely, through and through. Now colloq." (OED) Doesn't help directly with the etymology, but the first citation, from 1788, is "It beats Pinetti's conjuring all to pieces", suggesting an extension from literally beating into pieces, to "he beat me to pieces at chess", to "I love ...


3

A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English gives thrilled to bits "since late 1940s, perhaps ob[solete] by 1970", though a search of Google Books gives references in the 1930s. "Chuffed to bits" also depends on the prevalence of "chuffed", of course; I was able to find one example as early as 1979. Nowhere have I found any authoritative reference to ...


2

According to this page, the word was created as part of a competition by The Washinton Post, where people were asked to alter a word by changing only one letter from an already existing word or phrase. Looking through the comments, however, I found Narcholeptic given as a (possible) source. The comment also said that the rules have changed, so probably the ...


2

It looks just like a portemanteau of: arachno[phobia] (spider) and [epi]-leptic (falling). I would guess the idea being that one behaves as one would during an epileptic episode, but now cause by a spider(web) - or probably, because of the fear of spiders that the web invokes.


4

While 'Knocked Up' doesn't usually refer to 'Made Tired/Worn Out', this might be somewhat relevant to what you're looking for- "primary meaning of Knocked Up". As you will see, the phrase 'Knocked Up' has different primary meanings over different geographical areas. In short, other than the primary meaning we all know, here are the other(relatively less ...


-4

It only means to be made pregnant, at least in modern usage. It is possible that "knocked out" means tired/worn out, but I haven't really heard that used. Also, knocked about means to have gone through a tough, difficult or stressful time. About here means "here and there" not "in regards to".


4

I have no good answer for 'next night', but I commend to you 'yestreen' -- a word meaning 'yesterday's evening', which was still in (possibly affected) use in the 19th century. That may be Scottish; a more English version is 'yester-even'. See also 'forenight'. The first use of 'yestreen' noted in the OED was 1400 -- not necessarily Old English, but ...


0

There is some dispute about the underlying sense of the phrase "straight from the horse's mouth." John Ayto, The Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms, Third Edition (2009) agrees with Stan Gipple's assertion (above) that the term comes from horse racing: (straight) from the horse's mouth from the person directly concerned or another authoritative source. ...


2

I know the question has been answered, but here are some additional ideas. On moonrise or tofnung (to as in tomorrow, fnung from ǣfnung, Old English for evening)


3

Irredentist(n.) 1882, member of Italian political party which (after 1878) demanded the annexation of neighboring Italian-speaking regions (Trieste, S. Tyrol, Nice, Corsica, etc.), from Italian Irredentista, from (Italia) irredenta "unredeemed (Italy)." Related: Irredentism. Source: Etymonline.com Actually, the expression was coined by the Italian ...


0

This source dates it from the 1500s and says: Fly in the face of The first version, from the 1550s, was to fly in a person’s face and its literal meaning was of a dog that attacked by springing at a person. Very early on, it acquired the figurative sense of verbally attacking someone who disagreed with your opinions or your actions, decidedly ...


5

According to the following source, the expression fly in the face of comes from falconry: go against accepted wisdom, knowledge or common practice An expression in use from the 19th century and probably even earlier, from falconry, where the allusion is to a falcon or other bird of prey flying at the face of its master instead of settling on the ...


1

There are two closely connected idioms here that compare an upper and a lower body part in an allitterative manner, originally switching their locations to indicate the notion of falling or tumbling: one uses head and heels, the other top and tail. Obviously, head and top are supposed to be above/over heels and tail in any normal situation. The original ...



Top 50 recent answers are included