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 etymology of saying “when” to stop pouring or serving? [duplicate]

I was wondering: What is the origin of asking someone to say "when" (to mean "enough") while they are serving food or beverages?
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Colloquially Shortened Sentences [duplicate]

Colloquially, people tend to speak in "shorter sentences" and leave out words like pronouns and verbs such as do, be and have, especially when it's clear who or what they're talking about. They might ...
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Is there any standard syntax for the colloquialism “it’s ___ is what it is!”?

I really struggled to find any instance of this phrase online; it’s difficult to search. Does it have a comma (i.e. “it’s ___, is what it is!”)? How would you write this verbal colloquialism down? (...
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Expression implying passivity due to familiarity

What is the proper term for an expression that implies passivity due to familiarity? As in "Oh that's just old Aunt Kathy" "Ah yes, the old 'dog ate my homework' excuse". Looking for a term to ...
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I'm looking for a specific idiom/metaphor used in a business context

I work in business and I have a vendor providing a service and product for me. The vendor is self-reporting that what they are providing is correct and accurate (versus a third-party auditor ...
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1answer
200 views

What is the origin and meaning of 'lookit'?

A recent English Language & Usage question (Information about "lookit") noted that a number of dictionaries do not have entries for the word lookit. I checked Merriam-Webster's Third New ...
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2answers
102 views

Is *on par* colloquial?

I need some more synonymous constructions for equal, identical, the same in context such as Models A and B performed essentially equal on task X. Is on par a valid replacement for equal/ identical/ ...
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3answers
447 views

What is it called when someone types a random string of characters in an online conversation? [duplicate]

We can often see in online group conversations messages composed of random letters like "fjqofudnelfi" as a response to something surprising or unexpected. Is there a name for this kind of "behaviour"...
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52 views

Last time/The last time

I went to a drug store and said: 1) I took this cream from you guys THE last time. Is 'the' necessary? Is there any difference between 'last time' and 'the last time' Similar problems: 2) THE last ...
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1answer
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Colloquial reductions of TO in sentences

Lately I read again my old English book and find out something that I don't understand. It's about Colloquial reductions, the book says that there are two ways to pronounce "to" in the sentences: /tə/ ...
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195 views

Is saying “X it is” too informal a response for a casual workplace environment? [closed]

When choos­ing be­tween op­tions, peo­ple of­ten say X it is. For ex­am­ple: Dick: What do you want to eat? Jane: I want pizza. Dick: Pizza it is. I am cu­ri­ous whether say­ing X it is is just ...
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Debygawd Cap-en! Where does this phrase come from?

I sought out this site because I need help finding the origins of a word/phrase that my family uses. We are from Southern Maryland, USA. The exclamation in question is 'debygawd.' I do not know how to ...
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phrases for with/without sauce, with/without side dishes [closed]

I want to use entree dishes in some metaphor. Essentially I want to oppose having just the bare main element of the dish, to having it with thick sauce or dressing, or alternatively, with many side ...
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1answer
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I use “man” referring to male friends…what should I use when talking with a girl?

Just like I asked in the subject line, I'm pretty lost in this, as I wouldn't know how to say a sentence like the following, speaking with a fem
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2answers
651 views

What does “In the limit” mean?

A Canadian writer says In the limit, we will be able to create bionic humans. Progress towards this goal was portrayed in a remarkable video...
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An expression, almost facetious, similar to “I offer you my emotional support” i.e. in lieu on money!

I ask for money to start a business and some say, "we'll give you our ____ support" in a funny way. Drawing a blank on this old, familiar expression! Like "you have my emotional, or thoughtful or ...
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4answers
317 views

How did 'phat' come to be used in music as slang?

most prominently things like ''phat bass line'', meaning a bassline rich in texture ie has a full sound. Appears to have originated in African American use?
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1answer
64 views

Is “mad” used as an intensifier in the UK?

I mean mad as in 'mad good' 'mad props' etc which mean ''very good'' or ''much propers to you'' or intensifies the ''good'' part. I hope its more clear now?
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Origin of the phrase ''Respect,man/bro. ''?

Respect bro!! , you never hear anything like ''Fear, man'' or ''honesty, man.'' used in the same sense, its interesting.
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1answer
269 views

Origin of 'cuz' as shortening for cousin?

Detailed answer please and thank you. I see this used a lot among youth. I'm interested to know whether it originated in the Southern US or not?
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Meaning of 'rock at'

I am interested in the Drama So (alias Gen-X So) and came across the following example in a paper, which is a typical example of Drama So where 'So' modifies a VP rather than a scalable.adjective or ...
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139 views

How to colloquially express indifference other than “I could take it or leave it?”

I've recently seen "I could take it or leave it" as a way of saying "it's not that important to me." For example, Q: "I love the taste of pumpkin pie. How do you feel about it?" A: "I could take it ...
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Origin of the phrase “What's crackin'?”

My web search turns up accounts of it being Southern, Black American or/and Aussie slang. Would like some clarification on this.
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Grammatical/Semantic basis for the phrase “what with”

Example: We are changing all the vehicles in the fleet, what with the new regulations and all... How did that what sneak in there? What is it doing? (*) Edit: will award bounty to Talies after ...
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1answer
149 views

When did it become fashionable to drop t's in certain words?

I first noticed certain video bloggers pronouncing button as "BUH-ehn", with a distinct glottal stop between syllables, sounding like an overt attempt to avoid enunciating the "t". While button is the ...
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'We are soon ready.'

I use it as a quick and very informal way to say 'We will soon to be ready.' But a colleague of mine says it is simply wrong. Is he right? I'm not a native speaker and came up with this phrase on my ...
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76 views

Colloquial sentence endings like “is all” and “is how”

I'm writing dialogue for a short story and I want to 'transcribe' the characters' colloquialisms in a way that best adheres to the rules of written English (I'm an ESL speaker). My protag ends some of ...
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2answers
108 views

How do you parse “hair do”

Is "do" understood as a noun or verb in "hair do"? Asking this in search of "to make do". Bonus points if it can be related to German Tolle "tuft [of hair], that thing that Elvis had on his head", ...
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What meaning of/phrase based on the verb to call is used in “I call [noun]” (for instance bull****) and considerations with count nouns?

Sometimes you hear people say something like "I call [noun]", mostly with bullshit ("I call bullshit"; and there's also a question on the site with shenanigans). It feels like an opinionated statement ...
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4answers
707 views

Alternatives to the phrase 'I was like..'

In recent times I have encountered the phrase ‘I was like…’ a lot. Examples include He told me something, and I was like dude really? I was going along the street, and suddenly something ...
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Why do people say 'sat'? [duplicate]

A while ago, I think, I started hearing and reading people use the verb 'to sit' incorrectly, but it seems to becoming increasingly common. Such as "I am sat", "We are sat", "They were sat". Sit is a ...
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281 views

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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887 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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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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3answers
705 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
259 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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1answer
81 views

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
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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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6answers
208 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
789 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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159 views

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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391 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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“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
307 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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212 views

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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773 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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