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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.

0
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2answers
43 views

what is the meaning of 'Likelier than not' [closed]

I know what 'likely' means, but the expression 'Likelier than not' is strange to me!
1
vote
1answer
63 views

What does “the latter third of the year” mean?

I was reading a blog post on Rust's 2018 roadmap (Rust is one of programming languages), and saw a sentence like below. We will continue to publish releases every six weeks as usual. But we will ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

“Hard to understate” versus “Hard to overstate”

Which is the correct expression - "hard to understate" or "hard to overstate" when trying to use for emphasis? Searching on Google, both expressions appear popular but overstate has about 10x the ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

time expressions

Is it correct to use 'hardly ever' at the beginning or the end of a sentence? for example is it right to say: Hardly ever, my parents help me with homework / my parents help me with homework hardly ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

What is an antonym for 'luddite'?

What are some single-word options for the antonym for a luddite? Its a great word with an interesting etymology, I am just wondering if there are any similarly storied words that mean the opposite? ...
8
votes
2answers
408 views

Why do people say “I have known someone to do” but not “I know someone to do”?

The structure I have known someone to do something is apparently considered grammatical and idiomatic. Examples from Google: I have known people to take shops, put in a few articles and, without ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Start my soul-bolts

"start my soul-bolts" (Melville, White Jacket) - an expletive by a 19th-century sailor. Rather specific, but maybe somebody can come up with an equivalent. (Where's the 'nautical' S.E. site, anyway?)
0
votes
1answer
126 views

“Hello, welcome in” as opposed to “Welcome”

In the past year, I have noticed an interesting trend with some of the stores that I have shopped at with my fiance; when you first walk into the store, an employee will be at the door greeting ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

Meaning of “well-capitalized litigation”

In the following sentence: Smart contracts will automatically execute the terms of any deal, without getting bogged down by human fickleness or well-capitalized litigation. I understand the fickle ...
-1
votes
1answer
49 views

What does 'out of shit' mean?

Ok, I see this definition https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=out%20of%20shit: back to reality. Never give up, I'ma make elixir out of shit Then this line means he will make a good ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

Used Postal Stamps and a Process of Stamping Them

Below is a postal stamp with the... postal stamp on it. It might sound weird, but a postal stamp on a postal stamp are the only terms coming to my mind when I refer to a used (redeemed?) postal stamp....
16
votes
11answers
4k views

Word for a cycle where the cause is made worse by the effect [closed]

What is the word for a cycle where the cause is made worse by the effect? A very simple example is a decline in fish leads to a decline in coral reef health which then leads to a further decline in ...
4
votes
2answers
70 views

cold water customer

What could be meant by cold water customer in the following, where yankee sailors are discussing the politics of their president: 'Who says the old man at the helm of the Yankee nation can't steer ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

what is the word or expression? [closed]

You didn't think highly of something and after you hear good things about it and can you say ("It looks different now")? Is the expression correct? If it isn't, how would you say when you want to say ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

What would be a good quote or saying that says that “good quality is easily apparent?”

I'm trying to express that it's easy to tell when something is high quality. What would be a word, or better yet, a quote from literature, that expresses this?
4
votes
4answers
260 views

Is there an idiomatic expression to refer to an “ambush” journalist?

Ambush journalism is an expression from the early ‘80s that refers to: aggressive tactics practiced by journalists to suddenly confront and question people who otherwise do not wish to speak to a ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Most common answers for “thank you! (e g for your help) [closed]

What are the most common answers in AmE when a person says “thank you”? Thank you;)
5
votes
3answers
95 views

“Hearts of game” — what game?

What could be meant by game in the following? "He could tell of a wicked widow ... who smiled so sweetly upon the smugglers when they sold her silks and laces, cheap as tape and gingham. She called ...
17
votes
1answer
4k views

Historically, did “Oh my Gosh” originate as an anti-God expression? [closed]

There is a tendency in traditionally Christian societies (grossly speaking, the West) to leave behind words or expression which allude to such heritage or faith. A familiar example is CE and BCE ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Meaning of “go cards-up on something”

I've seen this expression in an episode of Supernatural TV series: "Do it, or I go cards-up on your whole clambake" For me it seems he intends to tell the others about "the clambake" unless they ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Better way of saying “national character”?

Is there a better way to express what is meant by “national character” or is there a good term that gets close to the German word “Volkscharakter”? I'm looking for a word that captures “the true ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

How to express the result of a conversion?

"With this converter, one can convert A to B." Then the result of that conversion from A is B. How to attribute B later to let others know it was converted from something else? Converted B can be ...
0
votes
2answers
37 views

today is the day when I will go to the movie with my boyfriend

"Today is the day when I will go to the movie with my boyfriend." Is this phrase awkward somehow? Does "when" sound redundant?
3
votes
1answer
80 views

What is the origin of “Curses!” as an expression?

I understand it is said to express annoyance, frustration, and the like. However, I do not know about its origins. According to Etymonline: Curses as a histrionic exclamation is from 1885 Did ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Expression/word for when a speaker changes during a conference

Is there a single word or an expression for when a different presenter starts talking in a meeting/conference? I.e. 'The video timestamp highlighted the [change of presenters/ when someone else ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

What does “white gloves off” mean?

I've found this paragraph in a book description : Mayo has long argued for an account of learning from error that goes far beyond detecting logical inconsistencies. In this book, she presents ...
-1
votes
1answer
128 views

What do you call a person who does not stand up for themselves [closed]

What do you call a person who does not stand up for themselves? I'm looking for a word to describe how a slave thought of his kind back before the Civil War started. The word have to be a synonym to ...
2
votes
2answers
70 views

Meaning of “on my best centre”

What could be meant by "best centre" in the following: I swallowed down my heart in me as I touched the spar-deck, for a single instant balanced myself on my best centre, and then, wholly ignorant ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

What do you call it when it's the ladies who invite to dance?

is there something called the "American quarter of an hour" meaning that it's a specific part of the evening at a club when it is the ladies who invite the men to dance? I am translating from French ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

meaning of “the demands of interest” in this text [closed]

Could you explain me in English what "the demands of interest" in the following text means? The text is from Steven R. Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in ...
0
votes
2answers
167 views

Does “everywhere and nowhere” mean “irrelevant”?

An Italian student, a young man of twenty, came to me today with a bunch of papers in his bag. It was the questions and answers to a multiple choice English quiz. We're talking hundreds of questions. ...
1
vote
5answers
183 views

What is a better way of saying modest budget?

I am trying to come up with a word or words to describe someone's financial situation that is not too low or too high. In other words, they can afford nice things (not low end), but they don't have ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of an expression “Tufted titmouse”?

I watch the show "The Good Doctor". It was used in season 2 episode 4. In flashbacks, Shawn had with his mother/caregiver (couldn't quite figure it out), she was dying and he had to move. They used it ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

a shin of beef into beggar's purse

As part of a rather haranguing passage I came across the following expression: "Sheer! [i.e. Scram!] or I'll pitch into you like a shin of beef into a beggar's wallet." the consequences of which I ...
0
votes
3answers
58 views

What is a choice that is heavily favorable on one side?

A choice that is so favorable on one side that it somewhat forces you to pick the favorable one. Example: "If you choose option A everyone will die or choose B to save everyone (with a small ...
4
votes
1answer
188 views

“… for all the yolk in your eggs.”

Melville addresses his readers "ye lucky livers, to whom by some rare fatality your Cape Horns are placid as Lake Lemans, flatter not yourselves that good luck is judgment and discretion; for all ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

“While I'm here”, but in writing

Sometimes, there are little things that we would like to write to somebody, but they seem too little to deserve an entire new email. So we wait for a more important communication to "piggyback" it ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

What does “dog on the sofa moment” mean?

I'm a Brit since birth so a native English speaker but I heard the expression "dog on the sofa moment" whilst listening to the radio and I have no idea what it means. I could have mis-heard but I don'...
6
votes
3answers
520 views

Is 'dumb butler' used as a phrase?

I’m Turkish and there is a name for the thing you put your coat on or scarf when you enter a house or office, dilsiz uşak. The thing is translated word for word as ‘dumb butler’. I looked it up in ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Does this sentence sound weird in English? [closed]

"Neptune’s natural light coming in through the top windows washed the station in baby blue hues." I am alluding to the "washed with light" part. Does it sound like a legitimate literary expression or ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

What does this mean : to be so (past tense verb)? [closed]

What does it mean when we use "so" with a verb, like we say "he is so gone", or "he is so done with something"? It sounds like emphasizing on something but I don't see how "being gone" could be ...
2
votes
3answers
121 views

'Thus it was… redeemed and wed?' What does that mean in 2018? [closed]

Here are two paragraphs from Clive Barker's Weaveworld. I am really having trouble digesting two phrases. True joy is a profound remembering; and true grief the same. Thus it was, when the ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Correct definition

Is there a definition for such school subjects as literature, biology, history and others in the English language? Can we call them “ oral subjects”?
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Proper spelling/saying

My 90 year old father has a saying, "I've been dragged through an auger hole and beat with a sut rake." It means you're worn out or have been treated badly. "Sut" pronounced almost like "soot." Not ...
0
votes
2answers
30 views

Alternative for “to take to Twitter”

The following is from a New York Times article dated November 22, 2018: As the news of Mr. Peralta’s death began to spread on Thursday morning, his colleagues took to Twitter to praise and remember ...
0
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1answer
173 views

The use of “horizontally gifted”

horizontally gifted: A politically correct way of calling someone fat Can horizontally gifted still be offensive? Or is it an absolutely safe way to describe someone overweight if we have to ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

“The bigger they are.” by itself

I am wondering if the sentence below is correct to use in (informal) speaking. "I don't like to be famous, the bigger you are." I have purposefully omitted the second part of the phrase to seem ...
2
votes
3answers
54 views

The phrase to express “how much time a user spends on a web page”?

Say a user spent 10 mins on a webpage. Can I say that this user's "residence time" on this webpage is 10 mins? Or is there any other better phrase to express this?
7
votes
3answers
183 views

Word/phrase for copying down incorrectly

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe when someone copies something down incorrectly. Specifically, the situation I am thinking about is when someone is solving a problem (using pencil and ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

How do I write the dollar value of a particular year in the US?

How do I write the dollar value of a particular year in the US? Is this a standard format? $6.5 million (US $2005)