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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18 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does "darkest Africa" refer to?

Many times in my life, I have heard phrases such as "in darkest Africa...", seemingly to refer to somewhere in Africa. It is never explained, and appears to be considered so obvious as to ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
23 views

What do you call someone who is secretly rooting for an opposing team? [closed]

Imagine an opponent who, during discussions, claims either to side with you or be neutral yet constantly gives simplistic arguments and examples, or points out faults, that are contrary to the point ...
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1 vote
1 answer
30 views

Expression for the use of a personality alleged quality as argument

Is there a name for the usage of a name of an well-know personality as an argument in a conversation, not by using a citation or an opinion of him/her, but an alleged quality? I found this to be used ...
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0 votes
0 answers
30 views

Bad marks was a very bad thing in our life in the world in our day [closed]

I searched in the you tube for how to study well i did everything but i failed. What is your recommendation?
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

Looking for a more condensed version of "the world is bigger than you"

I'm looking for a shorter and more condensed version of the phrases "the world is bigger than you" or "this is greater than yourself/oneself." Something that keeps intact the ...
1 vote
2 answers
58 views

What is a less common phrase that's similar to 'To the untrained eye...'?

I feel that 'to the untrained eye' is somewhat overused or cliched, and I think that a variation or an equivalent might improve my passage. The relevant portion currently reads: To the untrained eye, ...
0 votes
0 answers
25 views

alternative idiom request for "get into someone's pants" [closed]

Is there a more euphemistic way of saying "this guy's trying to get into her pants?"
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0 votes
0 answers
45 views

Is the usage of "driving me nuts" in this context correct?

I love the messages you send me, I can't stop thinking about them. I'm distracted, you are driving me nuts! I know that the use of "driving me nuts" often refers to crazyness and anger. ...
-1 votes
0 answers
37 views

I'm like melted ice cream [migrated]

There is a part in milet's song "jam" says that: Driving in the summer with your 80's playlist I wish this night would never end like kissing in the backseat Hey, don't be shy, now I'm ...
-1 votes
0 answers
56 views

What does "the ratio is 1-to-1" mean?

Update: Just after publishing the question, I noticed that it says "wave" and not "FLAC" in the quote. Well, I can't figure out how to delete the question, but it basically still ...
-1 votes
0 answers
20 views

Attempting is adjective [duplicate]

i have seen a video of a crocodile attempting a quick bite on an electric eel. my question is. attempiting here it is participle phrase or not?
-3 votes
1 answer
102 views

What is it called when someone believes that they're poor when theyre actually rich?

What is it called when someone believes that they're poor when they're actually rich? Say for instance they have an inheritance that they are unaware of, thereby continuing to suffer in poverty. The ...
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1 vote
4 answers
124 views

Is there an idiom that means "one cunning person always can be outsmarted (tricked) by another"?

I'm looking for an idiom (or other fixed expression) meaning that when there is one cunning person who thinks much of himself, there will be another one who can outsmart him.
2 votes
1 answer
71 views

Idiom/metaphor for a constant figure in a certain place

I was wondering if there were any idioms or cliched metaphors commonly used to describe someone who you can always expect to see in a certain place because they spend a lot of time there (or even ...
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0 votes
1 answer
25 views

Too big of a something meaning [duplicate]

The recruiter asked me this: This might be a too big of a company you’re looking for! I don’t get what does this mean?
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5 votes
2 answers
210 views

Encroach on/upon, encroach into

I was wondering if someone could explain the difference between "encroach on/upon" and "encroach into". I cannot figure out the clear difference between them. Here are two sample ...
1 vote
1 answer
81 views

How common is the phrase: "Blessed be nothing"?

The phrase itself is found in one of Emerson's essays: "Blessed be nothing," and "the worse things are, the better they are," are proverbs which express the transcendentalism of ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
44 views

What's the meaning of "chips and nicks"? [closed]

I watched a video in which somebody had just had his car painted, but a rock fell on it and took away some of the paint. While I was translating video subtitles, I heard this expression: "chips ...
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
45 views

How does "I'll have your job!" translate to getting someone fired?

Maybe it's reading a story on reddit about an entitled Karen, or maybe it's talking to an upset customer that starts to threaten you, or maybe you're expressing frustration at someone else not doing ...
0 votes
1 answer
105 views

Why do we say "Look,..." when it means pay attention (listen) to what I'm about to say?

I've been reading through some questions trying to understand the usage of "Look, ..." before sharing important information. I have discovered this word placement can be considered an ...
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0 votes
1 answer
20 views

Question regarding the usage of 'As in'

'The multi-storey pagoda came to Japan from China in the sixth century. As in China, they were first introduced with Buddhism and were attached to important temples.' I initially thought this meant ...
0 votes
1 answer
52 views

What does it mean for something to be "so-called"? [closed]

What does it mean if someone says, This is the so-called [noun] or This is the so-called "[noun]" What is the purpose of the addition of so-called? Are these sentences neutral or has ...
  • 109
-1 votes
1 answer
32 views

what is the meaning of the phrase "take warning from"?

I read the below sentence but I haven't found the meaning of the phrase "take warning from". The sentence is: "An alert investor might have taken warning of this possibility from ...
  • 57
2 votes
2 answers
176 views

Is the usage of "mitigation" restricted to (human) actors?

In the context of positive and negative feedbacks in the earth system and climate change: I feel that mitigation is something that has to be actively done by someone, but since I am neither a linguist ...
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
39 views

Company B plagiarises the same element higher segment of car model of Company A and puts it in a different segment [closed]

Disclaimer: This is purely an hypothetical example for explanation purpose only. I do not wish to malign toyota or chevy for any reason. A hypothetical example: Chevy release its best exterior design ...
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5 votes
1 answer
513 views

Is "boyfriends with" proper written english?

"I'm boyfriends with that guy over there -- the one in the grey blazer." This sounds completely fine to me in spoken English, but just looks incorrect to me when written. Does anyone have ...
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0 votes
2 answers
43 views

The meaning of "the time is long past that"?

I want to know the meaning of the time is long past that in the following sentence: In any case, the time is long past that he know his heritage and his place in the world. I’ve gone along with this ...
-2 votes
1 answer
82 views

Is "aka" used in some instances to mean "meaning" more than "also known as"?

I am a native English speaker, and I recently realized that I use "aka" in sentences where substituting "also known as" wouldn't make complete sense. For example, I might say or ...
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0 votes
1 answer
49 views

What does the phrase "About one stone" in response to the question "How have you changed over the years" mean?

Googling it didn't seem to lend any results except the unrelated killing two birds, etc, stuff. Edit: In Berkshire Hathaway's 1995 annual meeting at 1:04:54 (or second occurence of the word "...
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0 votes
1 answer
95 views

What is the meaning of "bruing/brewing conversation" or "bru/brew some conversation"?

I heard this in a talk show. But I couldn't catch the word. Like the man said - I can't wait to bru/brew some exciting conversations. I don't know, what does that mean? I found on my research that &...
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0 votes
1 answer
39 views

What does it mean: Let's cue the iceberg

I was watching a webinar on cybersecurity, and heard following sentence from the speaker: ...So, let's cue the iceberg Can someone please explain the above phrase with some context/example? An ...
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0 votes
1 answer
38 views

How to say "we put something under a square root"?

I would like to say that "we put something under a square root" in a math formula. For example my sentence is The reason for putting the original distances under square root is discussed ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
68 views

How do we express "hidden bad surprises" in correct English?

I would like to say something in the sense of Someone who includes on purpose bad surprises or traps in their product. The topic of the text is about honesty and I want to highlight that people ...
0 votes
3 answers
39 views

What do you call "testing if a probability will trigger or not"

Apologies if this is a bit technical. I'm writing a paper describing a simulation. Inside the simulation, at each time step, some event has a certain probability of happening. Essentially, the ...
-1 votes
1 answer
39 views

What does "note of office" mean in this context?

I am trying to translate the following text, which was composed around 1910: Let him read through this note of his office, and sign it, paying the sum of Three Guineas for the volume containing... ...
1 vote
0 answers
31 views

What does "what is at" mean? [closed]

One of my friend asked me if İ know what "what is at" could mean. l would like to know what this phrase means.
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
66 views

"power of persuasion" (singular) vs. "powers of persuasion" (plural)

Which one would you say is correct and why? [1] "power of persuasion" (singular) [2] "powers of persuasion" (plural) Newspapers and books seem to use both alternatives. Merriam-...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
29 views

Derivation or historical existence of the phrase: "I will do my possible."

I've been reading Georgette Heyer again and find this sentence coming up: "I will do my possible." The Reluctant Widow Chapter 17 “Perhaps. I shall do my possible. You have been troubled ...
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1 vote
2 answers
72 views

"The crowd chooses Barabbas" meaning?

What is the meaning of the expression "the crowd chooses Barabbas"? I'm very familiar with the account where the crowds chose to spare Barabbas instead of Jesus, but I'm not sure of the ...
0 votes
1 answer
18 views

Is ‘in/of the world’ required after ‘many/several/a lot of/some countries’?

It is very common in English to use ‘in/of the world’ after expressions such as many/some/several/a lot of countries. Is that necessary? Because to my ear the word ‘country’ by itself mean a part of ...
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0 votes
1 answer
52 views

Is 'Can you make sure...?' rude? [closed]

I know that imperative Make sure... can be not polite. How softer is Can you make sure...? Can I write this to my boss? Context: Something is blocking my work that depends on my boss, and I want to ...
1 vote
1 answer
33 views

Is "in the briefest of moments" a good synonym for "in the twinkling of an eye"? [closed]

I am trying to find a poetic but recognisable synonym of in the twinkling of an eye. PowerThesaurus gives quite a range of synonyms, but most of them are too colloquial and very few contain moment, ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
42 views

What is the meaning of “down to the fact”? [closed]

What does it mean in this sentence? This comes down to the fact that boys like toys.
0 votes
1 answer
43 views

Do you need to be a member of a gang to be called a gangster and accused of gangsterism?

Collins I understand that the Collins dictionary defines gangsterism to be a person using the methods and behaviour of gangsters, and the tactics associated with gangsters. But it is my current ...
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

Too many engineers in the caboose

One of my bosses mentioned this phrase the other day: Too many engineers in the caboose I discovered the meaning of caboose today (Fourgon-frein), but for some reason searching for the phrase on ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Grammar of "all's well that ends well"?

What is the grammar behind the phrase "all's well that ends well"? I understand what it means (all is well because it ended well) but could not for the life of me figure out how this meaning ...
14 votes
11 answers
6k views

What is an expression you can use for when you're getting close to the end of a time-sensitive project?

I want to say something like, I am getting down to the chopping block but that means more like, I am deciding who to keep and who not to, it conveys being harshly decisive. That's not quite the ...
2 votes
1 answer
43 views

Disadvantages of X over, against, or versus Y? (Or something else entirely?)

"The advantage(s) of X over Y are numerous" is a perfectly valid and common phrase (as far as I know, at least). But what's the equivalent phrase for disadvantage(s)? Each of the candidates ...
  • 121
2 votes
1 answer
47 views

Just as significant an impact

What is meant by phrase "just as significant an impact? I can't understand this sentence: Video games had just as significant an impact on popular culture, from Fort nite invading schools across ...
1 vote
3 answers
95 views

English phrase for "Don't try to solve too many problems at the same time or you will mess up and have no time for real work"

I faced a situation where my naive/clueless new boss started to take up all the long-pending internal issues our department had been facing and tried tackling them all at the same time. This caused ...
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