Questions tagged [expressions]

This tag is for questions about expressions. Expressions are words or phrases used to convey an idea, or else a particular term used conventionally to express something. Consider phrase-requests and expression-requests if you are looking for an expression, phrase-meaning if you are unsure about the usage of a given phrase.

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22 views

When people say “think tall thoughts”

During small talk I heard someone say, Think tall thoughts. That might help. when another person was complaining about being short-heighted. I checked online information, but I still need some ...
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1answer
22 views

Grouping of “or” and “along with”

I was confronted with the following sentence Pass either exam 480 or 483 along with exam 486. and wonder, if the options for me are 480 483 and 486 or this: 480 and 486 483 and 486 Is this ...
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3answers
49 views

Difference between ''to say something without thinking'' and ''to say something inadvertently''

Do the two have any differences and do both mean to say something unintentionally?
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0answers
41 views

Is the expression “ to man at something” used?

When I was playing The Witcher 3 : The Wild Hunt, I heard a woman saying " Why does the Temple Guard man at the gates at all". She was complaining that in her city there was many vagrant and the ...
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21 views

Is “there's plenty of X” known to be a “code phrase” to mean the exact opposite?

Every time I hear somebody or something (such as a website) claim that there is "plenty of" something, I always find that the exact opposite is actually the case. For example: Q: If I don’t have ...
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2answers
66 views

Word for “under the support/help and protection of”

"Homes of a particular community vandalized by the goons under the support and protection of police." How can I say this in a better way? The police was with the goons. Goons got full support and ...
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4answers
55 views

What is a different expression/phrase/word for someone who lets others do their “dirty work” for them?

I am currently writing an essay on the movie Paths of Glory and how one General (General Broulard) is more dislikable and villainous than the other. One facet of my argument addresses how he lets ...
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1answer
52 views

Is the expression “What's that mean” correct? [duplicate]

Today I saw a comic where one of the characters say: What's that mean? I am not a native English speaker but that sentence puzzled me. I would personally use the verb to do here but instead ...
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4answers
72 views

Justification for phrase “[actor] is [character]” [closed]

Why is an actor's role commonly stated as Jim Carrey is Truman! Why isn't it one of the following? Jim Carrey acts as Truman! Jim Carrey portrays Truman! Why is the is of identity used ...
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1answer
50 views

What does “on the nose” mean in the context of horse racing bets?

In the very end of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "On the Nose" (~1957), the main woman calls her horse race bookie on the telephone and places a bet: Well, I'd like to put two dollars on ...
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1answer
43 views

Is there an expression for asking two people to perform a task, but neither do it, assuming that the other will?

I'm somewhat familiar with the French "tomber entre deux chaises," which means "falling between two chairs", but it doesn't scan in English. Is there a common expression for this fairly common issue ...
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3answers
257 views

What is the English equivalent for “для особо одарённых”?

There is a steady expression in Russian: "для особо одарённых". It can be used in such context: Повторяю для особо одарённых... Straight translation is "I repeat for the gifted". But in general it ...
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Please help me with this [closed]

My questions are below in bullet points but Firstly I would like to let you know about something that may help you better understand what I am trying to write as well as being able to help me better. ...
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1answer
41 views

What does the phrase “offers no provision” mean?

The Wikipedia page for Hart Island says that The only access to Hart Island is by ferryboat. Hart Island and the pier on Fordham Street on City Island are restricted areas under the jurisdiction of ...
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3answers
74 views

Is there any idiom to describe the importance not to let somthing bad happen in the first place

I think it is well known that if we indulgently let something bad happen, there will be more similar cases arising. The outbreak of the negative effects could be unstoppable. So is there any idiom, ...
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2answers
51 views

Phrase to indicate that science progress isn't linear [closed]

The historical progress of the sciences is never linear, as one may infer when reading the logically-ordered, neatly set series of theorems, assumptions, etc, before reaching the final demonstrations ...
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2answers
793 views

What does “good to talk” mean at the back of Nescafe instant coffee jars?

On the back of the jar, it says "good to talk" followed by telephone numbers and whatnot. I get that it's their "customer support" stuff, but why "good to talk"? Is that like an expression in English? ...
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0answers
47 views

What does “layman's guess” mean? [closed]

I heard a colleague use the words layman's guess in a sentence "My layman's guess is...". What does that mean exactly? Is it something like "I'm not an expert but I would guess that..."?
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40 views

Oxymoron in poetry and prose

Can we use oxymorons to magnify dramatic effects on poetry and proses, can't we? (rhythm, tone, expressiveness, etc). When can we use it appropriately? I was wondering if you could help me give some ...
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22 views

Search engine for English idioms? [migrated]

I am looking for a resources which can provide related English idioms/phrases. For instance, if I were looking up 'to help out', I would find 'to pitch in', etc. Does any such resources exist online (...
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53 views

Fahrenheit 451: “dictionary resume”

What does Bradbury mean when he uses the term "dictionary resume" in the following lines? Is it that the resume's are all "defining" the person in some sense? "Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute ...
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0answers
36 views

Describing anxiety, another word for foreboding or dread [duplicate]

Is there a single word that describes that deep seated sense of dread and doom, the feeling that something in your personal world is not right, or is about to be absolutely ruined (other than ...
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1answer
96 views

Early use of “there's always a bigger fish”

The old fisherman's proverb popularized by Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace has a history of uses in literal contexts (fishing), however after the release of Phantom Menace the metaphorical use of the ...
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0answers
36 views

Word or phrase to describe anything that seems trivial but can be indicative of something important

When I say “anything” I could be referring to a comment, an interaction, a symbol, or an action. I’m not sure how to explain this without using examples. In hospitals, doctors often identify patients ...
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2answers
49 views

In “Some statement. This!”, what does the “This!” mean? [closed]

I have seen a expression or phrase of the following form: Some statement. This! The "This!" seems to be something like an acknowledgement. Is there a more verbose explanation or translation of it?
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1answer
75 views

What does “rings around the brain” mean?

I'm watching the movie "Mary Poppins Returns". At one point Marry Poppins sings: Too much glee leaves rings around the brain I'm not quite sure what "rings around the brain" means. From context I ...
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0answers
60 views

Is “making a hen out of a feather” really not an English expression?

Today, after learning English for decades, I learned that the expression "to make a hen out of a feather" apparently is Swedish-only, and that nobody outside Sweden would understand this (other than ...
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7answers
4k views

A term for “it's raining while the sun is shining”

Most languages have a popular term or a traditional saying for the occurrence of rain while the sun is shining (a sunshower). Most of these expressions have been handed down from generation to ...
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3answers
192 views

“Put a pin in it” idiom origin?

Does anyone have a definitive origin for the phrase/idiom "Put/stick a pin in it/that" used to mean let's delay, come back to something later? I searched the archive but didn't see this asked or ...
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3answers
79 views

Term for “company mostly recruiting people who accept low pay”

What would you technically call a company that, as a strategy, mostly recruits people who will accept low pay? Background to understand the strategy: Typically High pay = high skills, but the company ...
2
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1answer
29 views

Is there a phrase for someone working on a long, tedious scholarly work?

I seem to recall a trope or literary character representing someone working on a dry, boring work of abstruse scholarship. I thought it might be Middlemarch's Casaubon, but I don't think he quite fits ...
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1answer
42 views

Expressing Respect

I am looking for a short expression to show my respect to someone who is living in a difficult situation. I live in Germany and they would say "Hut ab" or "Hats off", but in English this is a way of ...
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0answers
56 views

slang for black market food in WWII

In researching a story set in the U.S.A. during World War II, I came across a slang term for food procured through the black market (not rationing stamps). Now I can’t find where I read it. In the ...
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1answer
55 views

What’s a good synonym for when a sports player get mockingly booed by the crowd.?

Often in sports when a visiting player plays on the court of the home team, he will get booed. The word I’m looking for has similar meaning to serenade. “As Lebron James got blocked, the crowd _____ ...
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1answer
38 views

The expression, 'In turn.'

My question is about the expression 'in turn'. As in, "Some teenagers talked, laughed and whispered in turn." Does this imply that the teenagers talked, laughed and whispered together and then began ...
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0answers
100 views

What is the grammatical name of this: “that he would agree run the state” [closed]

What is the grammatical name of this: He averred that he would agree to run the state.
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0answers
24 views

“To believe the ocean exists when you see a stream. it is the vision …”

Is this grammatically correct? Please correct the above quote. I want to complete the expression.
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0answers
32 views

What is the origin and meaning of the phrase- some good bones [closed]

Where does the expression ‘some good bones’ come from, and how is it primarily used?
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1answer
71 views

What would be a good antithesis to “the calm before the storm”? [closed]

I am trying to make up a idiom in my novel which would be the opposite of "the calm before the storm". I want to express something which happens after the storm but am not able to find any good ...
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2answers
91 views

Is “new face” a way to say a new person?

I'm french and in my language we use an expression whose naive english translation would be "new face", meaning a new person. Is it an actual thing I can say?
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1answer
42 views

Is there a simple synonym for the word “paradoxically”? [closed]

I'm looking for a simpler way to say paradoxically in a parenthesis. Would "oddly enough" or "funnily enough" work as substitutes? Is there a shorter and more accurate alternative?
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3answers
121 views

Can “in order” ever mean “alright”? [closed]

I have read in dictionaries (Longman, in particular) that in order can sometimes be a synonym for saying alright. An example would be: “I brought you the receipts,” says one. “In order,” ...
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6answers
203 views

I remember an english word (but cannot find it), which means to encircle a person by other (non-friendly) persons

It has a meaning of surround (by unfriendly persons) encircle (by unfriendly persons) usher corner hassle crowd sandwich (a person) accompany Help! How can I find this next time? I tried thesaurus ...
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1answer
152 views

Over the phone: “I know who that is” vs “I know who this is” [duplicate]

My dad is reading the novel Once Gone and there are several paragraphs as follows: To her relief, Bill's voice came over the phone. "Hello," he said. Riley's heart jumped. She didn't know whether to ...
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0answers
29 views

“of the value of” [closed]

I was reading a tech report and, in the Abstract, came across a sentence as follows: This report is expected to contribute to a greater understanding of the value of applying (...) The way that of ...
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1answer
60 views

Is correct the expression “Where to trip”

Is correct the expression "Where to trip" understanding "trip" as a travel. For example: I don't know where to trip. Is it similar to the following? I don't know where to go. I don't know where to ...
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1answer
53 views

what does this phrase “tell dick from” mean? [closed]

can anyone please explain what this phrase "tell dick from" mean? Is it the same as "tell from"?
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0answers
39 views

Expressions about trash/garbage [duplicate]

I'm a Chinese living in NYC. How do Americans call these things? Are they all named "trash can"? And If I want to drop something, like an empty bottle, what is the right way to say that? "drop ...
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1answer
64 views

"On being excellent to each other“ engraved on a wedding ring?

Would it be all right to have "On being excellent to each other“ as an engraving on a wedding ring? The ring is meant as a symbol to celebrate our long time partnership, so it shall be read like a ...
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0answers
155 views

Why my professor seems unhappy after I emailed her “thank you for the inculcation”

She is my professor in the laboratory. And she usually gives me helpful suggestions. What I really want to express is that I am grateful for her education. I thought the word "inculcation" is a word ...

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