New answers tagged

1

Fly too close to the sun, (and you'll burn) Fly too close to the ocean, (and you'll drown) These are quotes borrowed and changed accordingly from the story of Icarus. The day they were to leave, Daedalus lectured Icarus one last time, “Now son, remember, you must be cautious when we fly. Fly too close to the ocean and your wings will become too heavy ...


1

flirt with danger/disaster To do something that you know you should not do and that may cause you serious trouble. McMillan Dictionary walk on eggshells (idiomatic) To be overly careful in dealing with a person or situation because they get angry or offended very easily; to try very hard not to upset someone or something. (idiomatic) To ...


1

Consider tempt fate or tempt the devil. Also, "tempt the fates": Take a severe risk, as in It's tempting fate to start up that mountain so late in the day, or Patrice thought driving that old car was tempting the fates; it was sure to break down. This expression uses tempt in the sense of “test in a way that involves risk or danger.” ...


2

Perhaps this from the OED Online 'fire' definition: P2. With a verb. .... g. to play (also mess) with fire: to take unnecessary or foolish risks; to invite trouble. Often paired with to get burned, expressing inevitability that trouble will result from a particular action.


0

Holy holy is a substitute swear OR you could possibly have misheard him say holy moley - this features in comic books, I believe


2

Perhaps Achilles' heel (with or without the apostrophe) An Achilles heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common. Wikipedia


2

Consider, chink [in the armor] : a weak spot that may leave one vulnerable. M-W fly in the ointment A detrimental circumstance or detail; a drawback. American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language wrench in the works a spanner (or North American monkey wrench) in the works A person or thing that prevents the ...


0

Two possibilities, hitch or catch. To illustrate the first, recall that the German plan to defeat the French in 1914 required the Germany army to overcome resistance in the Low Countries quickly. Unexpected Belgian resistance on 5 August required the Germans to spend 11 days to capture the defenses at Liège. From Leadership In Conflict by M Hughes and M ...


0

Dead giveaway something that reveals a fact or an intention completely. "The car in the driveway was a dead giveaway that someone was at home."


1

The term "totally on" is lingo commonly used by magazines such as Seventeen, Redbook, or Tiger beat. It means that the two people are still dating, or still "an item". In this case it is referring to rappers Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj. Meek and Nicki are still dating now.


5

Its not an idiom. The "the" here is not synonymous with "any". "The" is the definite article. It refers to a specific military. Which one in particular will have to be determined by context. Generally it would be the military of the country you are in, but it may also be the military of the country you are talking about. For instance Americans in ...


-1

"The military" is synonymous with "any military", or "the armed forces", which when viewed this way, would include all of the world's different armed forces. "Military" can be a plural noun, meaning "all the militaries" ("all the armed forces"), or an adjective, meaning "belonging or relating to an armed force". This isn't an idiom. You would say ...


0

The google reports (1) "great pleasure to us to" 7130K hits (2) "great pleasure to us" 321K hits (3) "great pleasure for us to" 199K hits (4) "great pleasure of ours to" 21.5K It's hard to explain the stats for (1) and (2). The Ngram viewer finds that before about 1945 (1) was more popular than (3), but after 1945 their positions switched. The ...


4

This sense of violate is perhaps best known in the context of the parole system: trans. U.S. slang. To return (a prisoner on parole) to prison for breaking the conditions of his or her parole; to report (a prisoner) for a parole violation. [OED] This (not alas linkable to general public) was the only definition I found for this sense. By ...


1

Mickey Mouse adj. : not deserving to be taken seriously : having little value or importance M-W Substandard, poorly executed or organized. Amateurish. Who's in charge of this mickey mouse operation, anyway? Urban Dictionary Elkhart Lake — A racing school is a fantasy land business that leaves no room for Mickey Mouse ...


0

My mother used to tell me: "There's a difference between hearing and listening. If you're just using your ears, you're hearing the person, but not what they're saying. If you're listening: then you're hearing them, but also paying attention to what they have to say. So to be a good conversationalist, you should also be a good listener." A really ...


7

Bodger UK informal A person who makes or repairs something badly or clumsily. Cowboy UK informal a dishonest or careless person in business, especially an unqualified one. "cowboy coach firms are alleged to have flouted safety rules" This article on The Guardian is an example of its usage: Round up cowboy mechanics, demands ...


1

Early in Anthony Trollope's 1864 novel "Can you Forgive Her?" the heroine, Alice Vavasor, writes a letter that is central to the novel's plot development. She breaks off her (second) engagement by writing a letter, addressing her fiancee "Dear John" and then repeating this same greeting several times throughout her letter. So I imagine this very popular ...


0

Another example is to beg the question. It was properly a philosophical term of art that meant "to take more than one should from the question", to assume the truth of some part of the issue under discussion without proof or explanation. That's still the only definition offered by the proper OED entry but Oxford Dictionaries Online now gives the more ...


1

One of the more notorious expressions (the OP asked for a phrase) which was considered absolutely incorrect in its infancy, but has today become so widespread that many speakers are unaware that it is, semantically speaking, contradictory is could care less Wiktionary offers a descriptivist's approach could care less (idiomatic, US) Lacking ...


2

It used to be that people said "I had rather do this" (contracted to "I'd rather"). Nowadays, this sounds incredibly old-fashioned. People say "I would rather" (contracted to "I'd rather"). Of course, they're identical when they're contracted, which is probably responsible for the shift.


0

It has to do with increasing the likelihood of success or safety. Merriam-Webster gives the following as an example: "We chose to err on the side of caution [=to be very cautious] when planning our investments." I despise this usage because it reduces "err" to "being on the side of", which is redundant. Why not just say, "we chose to be cautious"? That's ...


2

I'm hard-pressed to think of an actual vehicle system that somehow functions like a shirt sleeve and could also conceal unexpected abilities, though no doubt someone could devise a humorous version. But if you used the sentence, 'This car has a few tricks up its sleeve', I'm guessing you would be understood. The idiom is now almost entirely dissociated from ...


0

You could broadly call this teamwork: cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause. but a word that you used in the question (albeit misspelled) provides a more specific description of what happened: the other person's actions complemented yours: complement: ...


2

Synergistic inadvertent catalytic relationship. synergy, noun: the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. inadvertent, adjective: not resulting from or achieved through deliberate planning. catalyst, noun a person or ...


1

Not exactly what you're asking, but you could say that all of your hard work was in vain. http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/in+vain


2

Discrepancy is a lack of compatibility or similarity between two or more facts. Divergence or disagreement, as between facts or claims; difference... A discrepancy is a difference between things that should correspond or match: a discrepancy between his words and his actions. A synonym for discrepancy is difference, not variability. Difference is the ...


5

To right a wrong would be to correct it. To write a wrong would be to make a written record of it. I've not seen the phrase "write a wrong" written down before but it would make a rather nice pun.


2

You could say that it was all for naught: without achievement or result I spent a long time preparing for my test, but it was all for naught. [The Free Dictionary]


1

I'm not familiar with this particular use of "being on", but it appears to me to be a small extension of a use that is familiar to me: Are we still on for 3:00? Which is informal and abbreviated of: Are we still planning to X at 3:00? Where X is most likely some kind of meeting, which in turn is most likely an informal meal. The question is most ...


-1

It may or may not be the original source of this usage of the term, but in a 1965 article on administration, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote: HAT: Slang for the title and work of a post in an org. Taken from the fact that in many professions such as railroading the type of hat worn is the badge for the job. The article is a policy letter ...


2

When people discover a traditional but unusually formed expression they sometimes try to rationalize it by reforming it into what amounts to an eggcorn. "All the rage" is definitely traditional, not "all the rave." The latter is probably influenced by expressions like "raving about," meaning "enthusiastically praising." "He couldn't stop raving about his new ...


0

Without thinking about it, I always felt it had to do with rope, because it was a common saying in the Navy around 1968. I meant "give me a break- ease up on me."


-3

It's an incorrectly heard form of "all the rave", which is used to describe a topic that is "raved" about by the masses. A loose example: "Stark raving mad" or "raving mad" is commonly used to describe an individual who is yelling nonsensically. All the rage is nonsensical as "All intensive purposes" vs. "All intents and purposes", or "Eggcorn" vs ...


1

The verb "spite" means to hate or disrespect or even to show contempt or despise and also to offend, disregard, defy. Lots of definitions there. I think one of these will make you understand the meaning.


1

Another long shot, since the best picks are already taken, but 'burger', in its original meaning could be used in derogatory sense. This kind of use originated from XIX century Russian literature, so is more likely to be recognized in countries whose history has been influenced by Russia than others.


-1

This phrase or idea likely predates English, but its English source may have been derived separately. It is probably from those who used sticks in counting. See counting sticks or tally sticks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tally_marks If you are counting more items than your counting stick can manage, there are quite literally more X than you can count ...


0

This is purely conjecture - I can find no hard evidence for it. In England I grew up with a similar, though more specific phrase: More than you can shake a shitty stick at. This, I believe (though I cannot substantiate it) comes from the practice of spreading manure over a small field using a stick (typically blackthorn) by throwing it from the end. ...


1

In Cornwall, UK they are often referred to as grockles, though this refers more to 'tourists' than specifically town dwellers (after all, there are some towns in Cornwall...)


2

In the early 20 century, battery operated electric clocks were developed known as master clocks. A single master clock in a school or factory could run dozens of slave clocks through the building. The clocks also rang bells for lunch or break times and blew whistles for end of day. The bells and whistles where extra options that not every system had. If ...


0

As others have written here, walk back does have a hint of retraction in its meaning, but it is not really a full retraction when described that way. As someone commented on another site asking about the term: It seems a recent coinage, and I can't think of any real synonym. "Retract" doesn't get it. "Walking back" really describes a non-retraction ...


3

Toonser In the North East of Scotland at least. I don't think I've ever heard of it used in anything other than a derogatory manner. Awa an wash yersel, ya toonser mink. Away and wash yourself you dirty town dweller. http://www.doricdictionary.com/toonser-noun-urbanite/


4

Kind of an obscure one, and I don't believe it's an official word, so the only definition available might be urban dictionary, but I have heard it used before. From Urban Dictionary: cidiot Noun, adjective. Derived from City+idiot. Someone from the city who's utterly crippled by an inability to survive outside city limits or comprehend any merit or ...


7

You might call the person a yuppie: A yuppie (/ˈjʌpi/; short for "young urban professional" or "young upwardly-mobile professional") is defined by one source as being "a young college-educated adult who has a job that pays a lot of money and who lives and works in or near a large city".


0

The Beats were into Buddhism and it seems that I remember Burroughs, Kerouac, and Ginsberg writing about people who were "real gone cats" and people with "Buddha eyes" meaning the same thing. I always associated this with the concept of the Tathagata in Buddhism, a term the Buddha often used to identify himself. It refers to an enlightened one and the ...


2

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/off_the_clock Not at work. Not being paid for working. Relaxing. Most commonly it is used to mean that you currently not working. For example, if your work shift is over and you're heading home, and a customer asks you to help them, you may tell them 'Sorry, I'm off the clock, go speak to someone at the till'. ...


1

In Chicago Il the old sight of West Side Field bound by Wood.Damen, Taylor, and Polk I believe home of the Cubs in the early 1900's where Cook County Hospital was there was a psychiatric ward "way out in left field" and when a ball was hit really far, at the time there were no home run fences,the phrase was coined by some ballplayer. There is still a ...


5

(D**ned) urbanites. Or if the rural area happens to be hilly or mountainous, flatlanders.


15

Townie is the obvious answer, but tourist or tripper often carry overtones of scorn and 'urban, squat and full of guile'. (I knew a young girl who, left in a car for half an hour, hid under the seat because she was afraid of the trippers.)


12

I'd suggest, [city] dude dude (hist. & dial.) a city dweller unfamiliar with life on the range; especially : an Easterner in the West M-W dude: a person who tries to dress like and talk like a cowboy, but really is a city person. Transparent Language They appeared to be dudes. Tenderfoots from back east. In the clear ...



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