Questions tagged [catch-phrases]

A well-known sentence or phrase, typically one that is associated with a particular famous person.

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Looking for idiom or phrase similar to "for dummies" [duplicate]

I'm looking for a short commonly used phrase with meaning "very simple, straightforward, without unnecessary details, with basic terminology" in context of explanation of some idea or ...
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2 answers
66 views

What is a clever saying that means, 'It's impossible to stop natural phenomena? [closed]

What is a popular-refrain that means it is pointless to try and stop a naturally occuring phenomenon?
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5 votes
1 answer
682 views

Who ruled first, “girls” or “boys”?

A recent ELL question contains a catchphrase which is utterly novel to me. Boys rule, girls drool Wanting to know more, I searched online and found a female variant. Girls rule and boys drool ...
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2 votes
5 answers
166 views

A catchphrase to describe an over-protective subordinate

Is there a catchphrase to describe a subordinate whose knee-jerk reaction is to aggressively verbally defend their boss from any perceived slight sometimes without actually understanding the issue or ...
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13 votes
3 answers
3k views

“and I'm the Queen of Sheba”

According to Longman Dictionary the droll comeback... and I’m the Queen of Sheba (humor) used as a reply when someone claims that they are famous or that they have done something impressive, but ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Catchy phrase: looking at something from several different perspectives

What is the catchy phrase or an aphorism, or a buzzword, or an idiom with the meaning of looking at something from several different perspectives? In particular, I am looking for something that is ...
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11 votes
4 answers
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There's a product described as "Omaha Steaks Burgers" is this proper English? [closed]

There is a commercial that has the description, Omaha Steaks Burgers, it drives me crazy. It sounds wrong, when I read it, it looks wrong. It seems improper to me. Old-fashioned burgers just ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Catch phrase/idiom/slang for every bad thing happens for a good reason [duplicate]

Is there any catch-phrase/idiom/slang I can use to express that every bad thing happens for a good reason? (or that bad things could lead to good consequences eventually)?
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19 votes
5 answers
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Who started the expression "fake news"?

Who started the expression "fake news"? Who or what historical episode made it popular?
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10 votes
1 answer
21k views

Origin of "All right, what's all this, then?!"

Wonder where is the origin of this phrase? I first heard it on Monty Python. Typical scenario being, a sort of clueless Scotland yard cop enters the scene and asks "alright... what's all this then?" ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What would be a good alternative to the phrase "tip-top"? [closed]

I have a friend who is writing a story and he has thus far come up with unique catch-phrases that each of his characters uses throughout the story. For example: keep it ominous and you're so ...
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2 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is a gift called that is given to you to possess and keep but can be taken back at any time?

I have this gift that was given to me as a present for my birthday, but was informed that is not mine permanently but to keep until my friend wants it back. What is that kind of gift called?
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1 vote
2 answers
696 views

Is an iconic phrase a catchphrase? [closed]

Generally I think of a catchphrase as being a phrase that is regularly repeated by a character or person to the point that it becomes an immediately recognizable part of their identity. The ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the meaning of phrase "for fun and profit"?

What's the meaning of phrase “for fun and profit”? Previous question only ask about origin, not meaning, and I cannot find it in dictionary: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/fun+and+profit
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1 vote
6 answers
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Catchphrase or word for overcrowded

I am trying to think of catchwords or phrases related to a place being too busy. Something catchy. Examples I've found on the internet: packed, crammed, jammed, packed-like-sardines, choc-full, etc.. ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Etymology of "And the Three Bears"

"And the three bears" is a catch-phrase used to express disbelief:- This new investment will allow the Government to save taxpayers' money! And the three bears. Does anyone know how this ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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what does ranger redhead mean for Australians?

I heard this reference on the Bravo TV show "Watch What Happens : Live" when Andy was speaking to the Housewives of Melbourne. They were giving phrases to the guests that were things Australians say, ...
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24 votes
2 answers
9k views

Did ‘alakazam’ magically appear out of the thin air?

I doubt it. But when did alakazam enter English, where did it come from, and who first used it? I vaguely recall the TV magic show The Magic Land of Allakazam (1960–1964) from my Texas childhood, and ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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Batman vs. Maxwell Smart. Who said, "Good thinking, ...!" first?

Recently, I've come across the catchphrase, "Good thinking, [name/noun]!" three times on ELU. The first was in a question referring to Terry Pratchett's catchphrase "Good thinking, that man!" 1 The ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to use a catch-phrase for a validated result when presented before an examining committee?

Imagine, that someone is preparing for a PhD defense. The thesis that he is going to defend is by far against the norm. That is, it uncovers deep-seated beliefs that led to 30 years of malpractice. So ...
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4 votes
2 answers
357 views

How to say this using catch-phrases: "Test A requires a lot of tissue samples, whereas test B doesn't."?

I am about to prepare a talk that would compare two tests in the medical field. The old test requires 5 different sites of the organ to be sampled in order to have a result. The other test (which is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to say "not affected whether we use A or B" in a short and elegant way?

I want to say: Whether we use site A or site B in the analysis, we will get the same results. Both A and B are anatomical sites (or topographies) in the human body. So the results of the test will be ...
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4 votes
2 answers
787 views

What is the context in which 'ice breaking' is a good thing?

If you are on a frozen lake and the ice breaks you basically plunge into cold water. That could end badly. What is the explanation for 'getting to know everyone', or 'getting the conversation ...
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3 votes
2 answers
4k views

Where did the phrase “put a sock in it” come from?

What are the origin and history of the phrase put a sock in it?
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0 votes
1 answer
976 views

Who is watching the watchdog?

I am looking for an expression that conveys the meaning Who is watching the watchdog?
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0 votes
2 answers
251 views

Searching for a synonym or an alternate Phrase

I am looking for a synonym or a phrase that means, that after reading a particular thought my perspective / way to look at life has changed in a good manner. Basically this is for my new blog name,...
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4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Where does the phrase “neat but not gaudy” come from?

What is the origin of the phrase neat but not gaudy? I’m thinking that it might possibly be from Samuel Wesley or Dorothy Sayers — or, just possibly, from Josephine Tey.
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3 votes
4 answers
11k views

"it's all in the wrist"

What is the meaning and origin of this idiom? Internet searches are confounded by the many headlines and jokes that allude to the phrase superficially (e.g., “repetitive strain injury – it's all in ...
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

"Make it so!" - where does it come from, how does it "feel" for native speakers?

The catchphrase from Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard "Make it so!" was first used in "Encounter At Farpoint" (28 September 1987) and thereafter in many episodes and films, instructing a crew ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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Synonyms for the phrase "stop at nothing"

I am writing a report about someone and would like to convey the sense that he was desperate for success and overly ambitious. I've used phrases like "stop at nothing" to capture the ambition and the ...
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0 votes
3 answers
197 views

How can dictionaries be tyrants? [closed]

Sometimes you might hear the phrase, tyranny of the dictionary Is there a way to express succinctly just what that means?
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1 vote
2 answers
10k views

How to use the expression "you love it" [closed]

This question builds off of another question (Meaning of fck you) but my question pertains to the expression "you love it". Here are three examples of its usage. 1] From Youth in Revolt (Youth in ...
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10 votes
2 answers
225k views

Origin of "I see, said the blind man, as he waved his wooden leg"

"I see", said the blind man, as he waved his wooden leg. is an expression used by someone on whom comprehension has just dawned, or a catch-phrase addressed to that person. Sometimes it can be ...
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13 votes
6 answers
28k views

Origin of "they don't know they're born"?

Practising today for my forthcoming role as radgie gadgie, I was having a little rant about modern youth: "they don't know they're born!" This seems to me rather a strange phrase to describe someone ...
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7 votes
5 answers
104k views

Word for seeing both sides of an argument

This feeling can often be paralyzing in that you see valid points on either side; makes you not able to choose a side. Seeing can also be understanding, supporting, taking active part in. I'm ...
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8 votes
4 answers
2k views

phrase origin: "sent packing"

What is the origin of the phrase "sent packing," which is used when someone gets the boot? I have seen it used a lot but would like to know where it originally came from.
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the origin of the meme "and so can you"? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Please explain “I Am America (And So Can You!)” Stephen's Colbert book is titled "I am America, and so can you." I think the phrase "and so can you" is a reference ...
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13 votes
7 answers
8k views

When did we start talking about "going viral"?

I am trying to determine when the phrase "going viral" was first used. Similarly, when did the phrases "viral video" and "viral marketing" get their start? I have looked online at various sites, but ...
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8 votes
2 answers
37k views

What does the phrase "You're out of your element" mean?

I heard it in The Big Lebowski movie, when Walter yells at Donny, "shut the fuck up, Donny"; then he exclaims, "You're out of your element!".
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9 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why does one "laugh to see a pudding crawl"?

You'd laugh to see a pudding crawl is a catch-phrase aimed at someone who is easily amused or is suffering a fit of uncontrollable hilarity. Does anyone know how this phrase came into being? I'm not ...
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9 votes
2 answers
14k views

What is "o-matic"? [closed]

I found "o-matic" in my dashboard of wordpress.com. There is "Read-o-Matic". And there are some news from staff. What does it mean? I feel it's "recommended to read", isn't it?
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10 votes
2 answers
58k views

Why does one "stand there like a lemon"?

I was standing around like a lemon the other day (meaning, standing doing nothing when I ought to have been a little more active) when it occurred to me to wonder, why does one stand there like a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Origin of "Everybody is smarter than anybody"?

Who said this: Everybody is smarter than anybody. I have been trying to find the origin of this phrase with no success. I think I first heard it from a speaker on an IT subject (but I am not sure ...
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5 votes
5 answers
15k views

What is the story behind the phrase 'as it were'? Where did it come from?

This is a question my High School English teacher could not answer 20-odd years ago and every time I encounter it, it bugs me. I only know what it means in terms of other phrases such as 'per se'. I ...
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18 votes
7 answers
128k views

Where did the expression 'playing the world's smallest violin' come from?

Where did the expression 'playing the world's smallest violin' come from?
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9 votes
6 answers
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Why did this Brit say "took a punt"?

Recently listening to a podcast, I heard someone (of unknown British origin) use 'take a punt' in the sense of 'take a chance.' Perhaps this is due to punting in American English referring to American ...
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1 vote
5 answers
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Are "zugzwang", "catch-22" and "catch-33" synonyms?

Are these words synonyms? zugzwang — a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer to pass and make no move catch-22 — a logical paradox ...
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5 votes
3 answers
18k views

Why "off to hell in a handcart"?

I can understand the meaning of the phrase off to hell..., but I was wondering why, of all the possible vehicles that may have been chosen, it came to be in a handcart?
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

What other expressions and sayings do you have as an alternative to ‘Rip Van Winkle meets Facebook.’?

In today’s (Feb.10) article titled Out of Touch, Out of Time written by Thomas L. Friedman, I found a really cool phrase, this is Rip Van Winkle meets Facebook, which I understand describes Hosni ...
9 votes
3 answers
664 views

What do “The great whatever this is,” “It can’t double dip if it never comes back up.”mean?

The surreal world in the New York Times article depicted by a seasoned editor at Harper’s Magazine who was laid off recently and experiencing bitter world, under the title, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to ...
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