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Questions tagged [colloquialisms]

A colloquialism is a word or phrase used in everyday conversation, but generally avoided in formal speech and writing.

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What is the abbreviation on “ohkay”? [duplicate]

The abbreviation of the colloquial expression ohkay seems not to be o.k., but one of: OK Ok ok Maybe it is in itself an abbreviation of words that are only used in abbreviated form. ...
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58 views

Can “I'm passing today” colloquially mean “I'm going to refrain (from doing this) today”?

There's this colloquial expression "I'll pass (on that)" which means "I'll refrain (from doing this)". I'm curious if by saying "I'm passing today" as in "I'm going to pass today" one could convey ...
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Yes-no question with the adjective comprehensible

I constructed a question that I thought was grammatically correct, but I have gotten confused after being told that the sentence was ambiguous. Is (verb) what is meant (in the sentence) (Subject) ...
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24 views

Is “to come up with smth.” considered colloquial?

In my opinion, a sentence such as "Therefore, one should come up with another solution." too informal for something like a technical report or scientific article. Is it indeed usually considered ...
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“Oh for cute” - grammatical interpretation?

So I'm from Minnesota, and while most of our English is fine, we're known for a few -- shall we call them -- adaptations. One of these is the phrase "oh for <insert adjective here>". It's used as ...
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What is a “demi” (in a university setting)

My university computer science department recently sent out a letter asking for "students to demi for our first-year modules". The letter makes mention of it several times, such as "demis must have ...
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2answers
80 views

A word that means “presenting something without context”

I think there is a word that means something is presented or said without context, like a statement that appears random. "Leftfield statement" comes close, but I think there's something more concise. ...
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1answer
42 views

Slang word for amputee [closed]

How do you refer (informally) to someone that is missing (1) one eye (2) a leg / foot or an arm / hand. ?? Am looking for something that I can use in a translated expression... For example... We ...
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A replacement exclamation for “Gee” or “Man”? [closed]

Sometimes, I might say 'Man', as the precursor to a statement as in this recent example I said to myself after reading something: "Man, to give anything a label will always technically be reductive, ...
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5answers
343 views

How infrequent is “a non-zero chance”?

I misinterpreted the expression “a non-zero chance” as an emphatic way to stress that there was no possibility or likelihood of something happening. there is a non-zero chance that they will pay ...
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5answers
90 views

Different way to say “You are in charge of it now”

I read a foreign manga and in it there's a circumstance where a boss gave one of his subordinates a job/task, and said something like "You are in charge of it now."or"It's your job now." Is there any ...
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What is a “work wife”?

While watching the following video by Buzzfeed, entitled $1 Sushi Vs. $133 Sushi • Japan, one of the guests invited on the culinary road trip, a Japanese woman, used the expression “work wife”. ...
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On The Formality Of The Usage Of The Word “Their”

Is using "their" in a phrase "Everyone has their reasons for doing something" informal? This reason I'm asking this is because a test book I'm using claims that using their in the situation above is ...
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2answers
349 views

“I turn 31 tomorrow” vs “I’m going to turn 31 tomorrow,” vs “I’ll turn 31 tomorrow”

I was reading an article about changes in the English language, and I stumbled upon an example the author used to make an argument, referring to these subtleties that English native speakers learn ...
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1answer
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What does the colloquialisms 'chav' and 'scouse' mean? [closed]

I have been watching channel 4's Countdown with Jimmy Carr on youtube recently and have heard them mention these two particular colloquialisms/slang and was wondering what exactly they meant?
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3answers
227 views

“that threshold is vast”

I've encountered this expression in DBZ Abridged, and I haven't encountered it anywhere else, save for occasional use on some forums. The context is the following: "For God's sake, I bet even your ...
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2answers
507 views

“to go missing” versus “to turn up missing” versus “to take missing”

I have heard all three of these expressions in various parts of the US to describe the disappearance of things. All three expressions appear to be readily understood. Are some more common in certain ...
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2answers
102 views

Is the origin of the term `gut check` from boxing?

It is such a common colloquialism that discussions of its origin is hard to find. But I assume that its a reference to how when boxing there is a tendency to protect the face leaving one's abdomen ...
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2answers
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English equivalent for new Brazilian Portuguese slang term “desaplaudido”?

I read in Twitter in Spanish, translation mine: In Portuguese from Brazil there is a word for those people who always try to get attention but cannot achieve that because, in fact, they are not ...
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3answers
707 views

How did 'stump up' compound to signify 'pay up money'?

How did 'stump' compound with 'up' in stump something up, to signify: pay a sum of money[?] ‘a buyer would have to stump up at least £8.5 million for the site’ Etymonline for 'stump' didn't help ...
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Is it correct to say “That needs fixed” rather than “That needs to be fixed?” [duplicate]

A person I know often drops the "to be" which would normally be before the verb in a sentence. He'll say things like: That needs fixed. It needs upgraded. They need looked at. rather than That ...
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164 views

Formal version of “one off”

In an academic paper, while describing an organization being not the only example of its kind, I used a sentence like: This organization was not a one-off. However, I feel like it sounds too ...
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2answers
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Can the word “go” be used as a helping verb?

For instance: “Go eat your dinner.” It appears that the word “go” is being used as a helping verb. Is it being used a helping verb? If so, can “go” only be used as a helping verb in imperative ...
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Is “top-of-the-line” or specific forms of compound adjective colloquial? Any general rule?

I am asking this question in the context of writing an academic paper. I am thinking if there exists a general rule regards to judging whether a compound adjective is colloquial, and, in this instance,...
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2answers
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Origin of “You're nicked, sunshine!”

As pretty much anyone who's ever watched an English police procedural can attest to, English policemen use the phrase "you're nicked, sunshine!" whenever they apprehend a suspect. However, anyone ...
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1answer
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What does the term “tropical girl” mean? [closed]

I was chatting with some people online during my friend's radio talk show, and the question came up when my friend mentioned "hot tropical girls". What exactly do we mean when we say "tropical girls"?...
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1answer
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“Bad friends” colloquialism

I watched an old "Judge Judy" today. At some point she asked the opponents if they were still friends. It brought to mind a question my mother used to ask when I said something negative about a friend ...
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444 views

Use of the word 'alls'

This is my first question here. My specific doubt does not seem to have been already answered, so here I am! My questions are: • What is the word 'alls', morphologically speaking? • Would you be ...
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2answers
91 views

What does it mean “pay at the bookshop”? [closed]

I found “pay at the bookshop” in my conversation worksheet. I don't understand this so I don't know what should I complete the blank. What does it mean? Summer holiday A: Are you going away ...
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1answer
205 views

Hit as “arrive at, come to, reach” (a place, limit etc)

Do you have any idea how "hit" came to mean reach or arrive at a point, place, or limit and the like? Oxford: reach (a particular level, point, or figure) : "his career hit rock bottom" arrive at ...
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1answer
366 views

“My birthday is not even for 3 days.” - what does this sentence mean?

My birthday is not even for 3 days. This sentence is from a movie. How is it interpreted for native speakers? As I know, the preposition "for" usually if time is related means during. So I ...
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What does “you like stick” and “I like aerosol” mean?

This is a part of a song named Fools by Australian singer Troye Sivan. I don’t get the meaning of the third line. I get the literal meaning of stick and aerosol, but I don’t think a piece of wood and ...
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What is a word or phrase to describe someone who works shabbily so others will do his / her work?

Imagine someone who intentionally contributes work of such low quality and/or so slowly that their peers cannot help but to do this person's work so it is done correctly. An individual who ...
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Should we adopt “close shot” as a verb in casual writing? [closed]

This question inevitably invites the controversial subject of verbification, but I wish a finer discussion on its possible benefits and drawbacks. My limited vocabulary perhaps has not alerted me to a ...
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3answers
416 views

Is there a term for using color to describe taste or flavor, instead of using the actual flavor?

For example, if someone says "this tastes purple" instead of saying it tastes like grape, or if asked what flavor of Gatorade you prefer you answer with, "blue". It also seems common with candy and ...
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Questions: Of and Back in The…Syntaxes that Bug Me [duplicate]

I am a publicist, so my job is to write all day! I love writing, but I have 2 grammatical questions, purely because the syntax always bugs me. What is the most proper for 'of?' Should it really be ...
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572 views

A phrase similar to the “tip-of-the-iceberg problem” [closed]

Can anyone recommend to me an expression (preferably an idiom / colloquialism) similar to the "tip of the iceberg problem"? In the sense that what's on the surface is just the tiny visible bit of the ...
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1answer
30 views

Using a present progressive verb as a conjugation substitute in a compound sentence? [closed]

I realize this is mostly used in colloquial English. I am not much of a grammarian. I have seen examples of this sentence structure more and more frequently in formal writing. Is it acceptable? If not,...
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138 views

“good lay in” --> what does “in” stand for here?

What is the exact function of the word "in" here? Richard, I’ve had the last good lay in an old whore, and it had to be in front of the mirror. For the context of this sentence, see this article. ...
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3answers
299 views

What is the word for someone who finds value and ambition in as many people as possible giving them positive regard and support?

What is the word for someone who finds value and ambition in other people giving them positive regard and support? A person who wants as many people as possible to give them positive regard and ...
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1answer
82 views

to have a “good in” with somebody

In an article by Juan Cole about the recent release of the Kennedy-Files it states that According to an informant, Ruby had a “good in” with the Dallas police [...] I haven't found anything like ...
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1answer
294 views

'Dimpsy' or 'Dumpsy'?

I have recently moved deep into the county of Somerset, UK. Owing to some atmospheric disturbance caused by a hurricane, the weather was particularly dark and forbidding. One person said that the ...
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2answers
296 views

Is there a phrase to refer to the moment of the full moon?

From Wikipedia: A full moon is often thought of as an event of a full night's duration. This is somewhat misleading because its phase seen from Earth continuously waxes or wanes (though much too ...
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15answers
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Words are not sparrows; once they have flown they cannot be recaptured

The title of my question is a Russian proverb, for which I cannot think of an analog. All the examples I have seen on this website refer to actions rather than specifically speech. Can anyone give me ...
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3answers
1k views

What's the origin of “and sh*t”

I'm referring specifically to phrases like, "kissing and shit" or "baseball and shit". Sometimes it is contracted: "n'shit".
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4answers
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“Your fly is open” “You mean my flies?”

Apparently, when a gentleman has forgotten to zip his pants, in the US they remind him thusly Your fly is open Dictionary.com lists the noun fly meaning: 20. a strip of material sewn along one ...
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“Seriously?” as a response

When someone says "seriously?" in response to a statement, in my experience it either means: Really? How stupid or How interesting! Tell me more I've mostly seen it as a response to #1, and only #...
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1answer
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Are there any dialects of English where it is possible to say 'same to' instead of 'same as'?

"different" can be used colloquially by many speakers of English with either "than", "to" or "from". Does anyone know of any varieties of English where people might say "same to"? For instance, ...
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1answer
455 views

Is “Hi alls” used in English?

Some my friends usually use "Hi alls!" for greeting a group of people. I don't think it's right, we cannot use "all" with "s" suffix. We are from Vietnam and are not native English speakers. Is ...
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1k views

“Step in the right direction”

What would be a more concise word/phrase to replace "a step in the right direction"? Tolerance is a step in the right direction.