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E.g. hammer and anvil, and part and parcel. Unlike a normal cliche all of these would make sense if you switched the word order, but no one ever does. I remember seeing a name for this, but can't remember what it was.

marked as duplicate by sumelic, Edwin Ashworth, Community Aug 1 '16 at 13:32

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    There are many names for different varieties of these. One is freeze, because they're frozen in that order. They're all idioms, of course, but that just says they've got their own rules and meanings. Freezes are discussed here, and a bit more thoroughly here. – John Lawler Jul 31 '16 at 14:37
  • @sumelic, I'd have preferred creating binomials as the tag. Isn't "freezes" an old fashioned term? – Mari-Lou A Jun 28 '17 at 19:48
  • @Mari-LouA: Hmm, I wanted a tag that also covers lists like this with more than two elements (like "red, white and blue"). I don't know if "freezes" is old-fashioned or not; it was an existing tag so I just expanded it a bit as I tagged questions with the new tag "list-order". – sumelic Jun 28 '17 at 19:51
  • @sumelic not sure if I agree that two words which are always paired together are a list, "husband and wife" is a list in your opinion? – Mari-Lou A Jun 28 '17 at 19:53
  • @Mari-LouA: I think of it as a list of two elements ... I guess. I see how it is not a typical example of a list, but I find it even harder to apply the word "binominal" to expressions with more than two coordinated elements ... I wish I knew an established cover term, because it doesn't make sense to me to have separate tags for binominals and lists involving three or more words. – sumelic Jun 28 '17 at 19:55
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idiom

noun noun: idiom; plural noun: idioms

  • a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light ). synonyms: language, mode of expression, turn of phrase, style, speech, locution, diction, usage, phraseology, phrasing, phrase, vocabulary, terminology, parlance, jargon, argot, cant, patter, tongue, vernacular; informallingo "these musicians all work in the gospel idiom"

  • a form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people. "he had a feeling for phrase and idiom" synonyms: language, mode of expression, turn of phrase, style, speech, locution, diction, usage, phraseology, phrasing, phrase, vocabulary, terminology, parlance, jargon, argot, cant, patter, tongue, vernacular; informallingo "these musicians all work in the gospel idiom" the dialect of a people or part of a country.

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The idioms and phrases are our cultural heritage. Interfering with them would tantamount to blasphemy. So, never contemplate doing that. Though,Tom Dick and Harry shall mean same as Dick Harry and Tom. Why don't we make an attempt to straighten the leaning tower of Pisa ? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa. Though we poets do take such liberties as I did with one of my latest poems posted at allpoetry.com. I used the idiom "at the nick of time" as " at the time nick.Kindly see below ( For rhyme) "I had to be home as dear mom was sick Thank God, I could reach at the time nick.''

  • This is not an answer to the question within the terms of tis site. – Colin Fine Jul 31 '16 at 14:09
  • The idiom is in the nick of time. And as Colin says, this is not an answer at all, but a confused rambling. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 31 '16 at 15:49
  • Ignore it please if you are confused. I am not. – Abhilaaj Aug 1 '16 at 4:48

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