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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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80 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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2answers
81 views

Meaning of “rubber” as a verb in O. Henry

"I'm one of the Sole Sanhedrims and Ostensible Hooplas of the Inner Pulpit," says I. "The lame talk and the blind rubber whenever I make a pass at 'em. I am a medium, a coloratura hypnotist and a ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
50 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
57 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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2answers
48 views

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
124 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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32 views

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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1answer
63 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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1answer
143 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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1answer
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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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207 views

“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
118 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
71 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
53 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
818 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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6answers
105 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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3answers
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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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1answer
62 views

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
419 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
74 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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3answers
288 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
650 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
166 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
726 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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1answer
4k views

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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1answer
206 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
97 views

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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0answers
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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
2k views

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
2k views

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
57 views

“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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1answer
896 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
97 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
256 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
432 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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1answer
1k views

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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2answers
182 views

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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2answers
70 views

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
573 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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0answers
701 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
31 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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0answers
139 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
323 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
90 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
364 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
360 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
5k views

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 ...