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Questions tagged [cultural-phrases]

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13
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1answer
716 views

What does “Commander-in-Soy” versus “alpha” mean?

Today’s (January 26th) Washington Post reported President Trump’s decision to end the government shutdown under the headline, “Trump caves” or “Genius.” : Right wing splits after Trump ends shutdown ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Is there a term for a person who is half British and half East Asian?

I know quite a few people who have one parent from somewhere in the U.K. (generally England) and the other parent from somewhere is eastern Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, etc.). They are all very ...
-1
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2answers
89 views

“Calumny attempt” Is it a legit English phrase?

Lets say someone attempting to calumny, by fabricating a a written document. Can I call this event as "Calumny attempt"?
-1
votes
1answer
357 views

When a word is both a common and proper noun, how do you use it as a cultural modifier?

I am writing a piece on Kandi Kids, the name for a specific rave culture. "The Kandi Kid community..." (Proper noun.) "She gave him a piece of kandi." (Common noun.) "They saw two young ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

In the US, is it a common thing to called a baby whose gender is not known “Baby [last name]”?

This is maybe more of a cultural than linguistic question, but an american friend told me that in the US, when a family is having a baby but before they know its gender, the baby is referred to as "...
4
votes
5answers
8k views

Mr. and Mrs. Homer Simpson - Using husband's first/last name for wife?

I originally heard this in an old episode of the Simpsons, where Apu refers to Marge as "Mrs. Homer Simpson". I've also noticed something similar in the movie "The Wedding Singer" where the titular ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

IBM used the words “Toxic combinations of duties” in an advert. Does that dilute the current/popular meaning?

This IBM advertisement uses the phrase "toxic combinations" of duties to sell a security product. As someone who has 20 years of experience in social services and IT Security, this usage is off-...
0
votes
2answers
162 views

What is it called when we speak of foods using brand names? [duplicate]

I am wondering about the phenomenon of brand names being commonly used to describe certain foods. For example, I recently heard the phrase “to eat cheetos“. Other examples could be to eat/drink... ...
6
votes
4answers
955 views

Why isn't the yard used as a base unit for measuring heights?

I don't know if this is the right forum for this question, but, do what I would, I could not find a better one. During my visit to London I stumbled upon something I couldn't quite grasp: Why, even ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Joke “Hipster burns his mouth” - why is it funny?

The joke is: why did the hipster burn his mouth? Because he drank his coffee / ate his pizza / etc. before it was cool. Why is it funny? Does the hipster have special meaning or background?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a simple word for a person born of immigrants?

My friend's parents are both from Colombia, but he was born here in the U.S., and I was wondering if there was a non-offensive term for somebody born of immigrants who is a native citizen.
1
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2answers
198 views

Does “Period of Continence” mean the same as “Prescribed waiting period”?

If you are acquainted with Islamic Sharia (law), you may have come across the term "iddah" (the period a woman must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce, during which she may not ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Why Cosmonaut, not Astronaut?

An American space traveler is called in English an astronaut. A French space traveler is called in English an astronaut (not l'astronaute). A Japanese space traveler is called in English an ...
3
votes
1answer
349 views

Arab, Arabian, Arabic usage

Am I correct in stating that "Arabic" is a language; An "Arab" is a person of "Arab" dissent; and "Arabian" is a culture & history; but more contemporary usage of "Arab" can be more collective, e....
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “cup and Chaucer” mean?

I've recently come across a phrase unknown to me: "cup and Chaucer". What does it mean? Obviously it is connected with the popularity and influence of Geoffrey Chaucer as the Father of English ...
5
votes
3answers
11k views

When did “Alright?” become a greeting in UK English?

Who remembers when and how "Alright?" became a greeting in UK English? Do you remember the first time you heard it? Can you remember when that was? What was the context? Was there a particular ...
-1
votes
2answers
452 views

What is meant by the phrases “no one is making you do …” or “you have to do” something? [closed]

Is it tautology that no one (except yourself) is making you do something? What I mean is (as far as I know) mind control does not exist. There for is the phrase "no one is making you [insert action or ...
4
votes
3answers
26k views

What is the origin/history of “you do you” (or “do you”)?

A recent New York Times Magazine piece focused on the expression "you do you" (and its variant "do you"), meaning something like a strong affirmation to "be yourself." The article associates the ...
7
votes
11answers
10k views

English equivalent of “amae” (甘え) - the feeling of pleasurable dependence on another person

Amae is simply defined as the feeling of pleasurable dependence on another person but there is more to it. I'm including an example sentence for the sake of showing how the word can be used but this ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

Good term for petit bourgeois / Boeotian / Biedermeier lifestyle

Suppose you want to enjoy a lifestyle "of the medium": You live with your partner in your house, you have got two kids, a dog, a cat, in a suburban area, have a got a middle-class job with good (but ...
7
votes
1answer
41k views

What is the difference between Seventh Heaven and Cloud Nine?

Just as the question asks, what is the difference between Seventh Heaven and Cloud Nine? I know that both mean extreme pleasure or joy, but I'm wondering if they have different meanings when used in ...
1
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2answers
120 views

What would “Garth Brooks” refer to in a multiple-choice Poll?

I noticed an online poll about marriage, where the person was curious to know what percentage of the current generation are interested in getting married, and the last option is: Garth Brook! I know ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What is the correct phrase to ask to determine which group a first nations person considers themselves to be part of?

I met a women who I gathered was First Nations (or something like that). I struggled to ask the question to elicit the response to find more about her heritage and culture. What is the word that ...
2
votes
1answer
304 views

Looking for a list of “english words” that exist in other languages, but with different meanings

I had a terrible misunderstanding with a semi-conservative Turkish woman who was offended when I said "Let's have brunch, and I'll bring some platonic female friends" I'm told that in Turkey, "...
7
votes
2answers
633 views

Mileage as unit-agnostic term

Is it appropriate to use the term "mileage" to refer to distance that is not measured in the literal units of miles? For example, would you say that a car "has a lot of mileage on it" in a country ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I translate “Jeitinho Brasileiro” into English?

Jeitinho Brasileiro can be literally translated to "Brazilian way to do things"! Wikipedia has an article about it. There are various meaning to this expression and one gives the idea of "Malandragem"...
2
votes
2answers
29k views

What does “waste not, want not” mean? [closed]

I would like it to be explained, if it has a single meaning, it's confusing me, I see it could mean "please don't waste whatever you don't want", or just the opposite, i.e. "There is nothing without a ...
56
votes
25answers
12k views

Are there counterpart English expressions to Japanese proverb, "the nail that pops up is always hammered down?

I was once reminded by Robusto-san of a Japanese popular saying, ‘出る釘は打たれる - the nail that pops up is always hammered down,’ when I complained about sequential down-votes that I received. I wondered ...
3
votes
3answers
59k views

Is the expression “having a good time” too personal?

Me and a colleague were jointly writing an email to an English speaking business partner when a discussion arose on how to formulate a sentence. The business partner is currently on vacation, so I ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

To Break Bread — the origin of the phrase

I am looking for the origin of the phrase "break bread" meaning to eat (or, I expect, to share food). I know that it can be sourced to the book of Acts but I have also seen many websites which say ...
7
votes
9answers
9k views

Is saying 'who cares' rude or maybe even disrespectful?

Two people are talking about what tasks should be finished on time, and what tasks should be put off until later. The conversation was like below: A: I don't think those tasks are important. We can ...
2
votes
0answers
3k views

What does it mean if you tell someone they have their name on their underwear? [closed]

What does it mean if you say to someone that they have their name on their underwear? If this is an insult what are they implying? I've heard this term in pop culture many times, usually in ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

What did Steve Jobs mean by “Technology married with Liberal Arts” in his last speech?

The Asahi, Japan’s leading newspaper quoted the following famous closing words of Steve Jobs’ in his last speech at the iPad 2 event in March 2011 in its popular editorial column, “Vox populi, vox Dei”...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What should one call his or her mother-in-law? [closed]

We call our own mother "mum". What should we call our mother-in-law? In China, we call our mother-in-law "mum" as well. Do English speaking people feel comfortable calling their mother-in-law "mum"? ...
14
votes
7answers
31k views

How did “gesundheit” work its way into common American usage?

Once upon a time I was hanging out with a fairly international group of people. Somebody sneezed, and one of the Americans reflexively responded, "Gesundheit!" A German in the group seized on the ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Hesitation to use “girlfriend” in reference to old people

I have a good friend in his late 60s, and I've made an interesting observation that absolutely no one in our social circle will refer to the female he is (indisputably) dating with the term "...
15
votes
2answers
7k views

Is “spoon feeding” a widely accepted usage?

In India, "spoon feeding" is widely used in context of education where the students are taught in a manner by which they do not have to do much on their own. Everything will be done by the teachers, ...