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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Usage of "spend time"

I live in Japan and have noticed that a lot Japanese people are prone to say/write "I spent a good time with my friends/family/kids." It has always rubbed me the wrong way, and when I can, I ...
TFlo83's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
58 views

How do you interpret 'high risk eggs' in this context? [closed]

I was watching a documentary about border control at an airport. One woman was carrying prohibited foods. The relevant part of the original sentence is as follows: This woman ... has been caught with ...
SuperDuperMario's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
85 views

Discover an event isn't the first instance, and that isn't good

I'm looking for a word or phrase, preferably English or at least using English characters, to describe an event or feeling about an event that is one of many, but that the person thought was the first ...
vulpineblazeyt's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
168 views

Phrase for a person in town known for being insane?

This is my first post, forgive me if it is unorthodox. So, I’m looking to title a video, and this is bothering me: I could’ve sworn there was a phrase to describe a local crazy person in a town or ...
Randy's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
63 views

What's the meaning of "Consumption hung low in the air"?

So, in Bojack Horseman, Season 1 Episode 9, Mr. Peanutbutter is making his toast (wedding) and at some point, he starts saying a story: It was winter in Prague, and the consumption hung low in the ...
Reasonable_Doubt's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

"what an oyster is to a butter mushroom", meaning?

I don't know what an oyster is to a butter mushroom looking at your stall. Does it mean that I can't tell the difference between an oyster and a butter mushroom?
Kevin Cheng's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
48 views

What is the word for a cut down said with a grin?

When someone is grinning at you while cutting you down. A snide comment is the best I have found. Or cheshire cat grin. There has to be a better word for this common occurrence.
ParisMarina's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
121 views

What does "They found themselves standing on a platform" mean?

There is some argument over on german.stackexchange.com. Many users there believe that the sentence is ambiguous. My opinion is that this sentence would be used to describe how someone unexpectedly ...
user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
142 views

Looking for an opposite for the term 'tunnel vision'

What might be the opposite of tunnel vision? What I mean is instead of seeing only one's direct path, the person is so distracted by the texture of the sidelines, goes so far as to obscure the goal at ...
Samuel DuPont's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is this usage - "to stay home of an evening"? [duplicate]

I've been reading a selection of short stories by Kafka (translation by Michael Hoffmann). In one of stories The Sudden Walk, I encountered this phrase When it seems we have finally decided to stay ...
mewl 's user avatar
  • 67
-5 votes
1 answer
86 views

Is there a more professional way of saying "yes" or "no"?

I am currently writing a scientific publication in which the conclusion answers overarching questions. These questions are directly stated with question marks, like: Is there a meaning to life? I ...
mathematica_guy's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
18 views

Go talk vs Go and Talk [duplicate]

what is the difference between the expressions "I will go talk to Mr A." vs "I will go and talk to Mr A."?
anjan 's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
83 views

"Some folks are born made to wave the flag." Is this sentence in the passive voice? [closed]

I have to do a text study, a text interpretation, and I chose the song "Fortunate Son" by the American rock band Creedence. At starting it, the sentence: "Some folks are born made to ...
MariaD's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
46 views

Do I use by, for or to in this sentence?

The sentence is I shared the resource link with my colleagues so that this link would be accessible for all members of our team. The word I am asking about is highlighted. Should it be by, for or to?...
Yasmine BZ's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
178 views

'My bad' vs 'My bag'

Over the years I've noticed a non-insignificant amount of people use the term 'My bag' to admit guilt when getting something wrong (i.e. 'Mea culpa'). For example: "Happy Birthday!" "My ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
3 answers
128 views

Ignorance is the opposite of bliss

The proverb "ignorance is bliss" is used to express that somebody feels better by not knowing all the details about a topic. In an existing thread titled "ignorance is not bliss", ...
Mew's user avatar
  • 289
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

how to properly use expression '3000 strong' army?

i recall reading some phrase to express when one wants to assess the size of a group or army: "he has 3000-strong army", not in a sense "strong army" but to estimate the size of ...
ERJAN's user avatar
  • 376
4 votes
3 answers
902 views

What does 'that looks about it' mean?

(I'm South Korean, so non-native question here.) I saw the sentence 'that looks about it'. Does it mean that something is seemingly almost done? I searched this expression on google but I couldn't ...
Subin Kim's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
98 views

Inspiration catalyst? Looking for a term that describes seemingly out of the blue inspiration

I'm looking for a term for a curious situation that I've found myself in a couple of times. A person discusses a new concept/invention. I am a part of that conversation or simply overhear it. I ...
Lamar Latrell's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
74 views

Was "wasn't Chaplin in that one?" an expression in the 1920s?

Boardwalk Empire has Nucky saying to his showgirl ("Billy Kent" a smart person who made little jokes often) girlfriend as he describes helping feed his impoverished family as a child when ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 591
-1 votes
1 answer
74 views

Use of 'Cheers to that" [closed]

I have a doubt concerning the usage of the expression 'Cheers to that'. I know it's usually used to celebrate a statement. But, I have sometimes heard it being used more as a reply to show agreement. ...
ItsJustMe's user avatar
  • 105
1 vote
2 answers
138 views

Is it idiomatic to say "call of the blood"?

I've been struggling with this one... I'm trying to figure out whether it's okay to use the expression "call of the blood" to describe the phenomenon of doing something naturally (or coming ...
Ley's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
60 views

"my stomach told me" VS "my guts told me"

I'm an English learner and I came across this sentence: My stomach told me that this was unprecedented. Does this expression mean that I had a feeling or my instincts told me that something that had ...
Ali.twoforkstower's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
51 views

How to characterize Machiavelli's phrase, "The ends justify the means"? [closed]

This question has been raised and thoroughly discussed: "How to characterize the phrase, 'The ends justify the means.'" I wish to add a thought. As I was writing a book for publication, I ...
Jeffsbooks's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
30 views

Which one is appropriate when describing belonging?

Talking of memory, which is correct? To my heart Or In my heart If talking of belonging, which one is correct? She always belong to my heart Or She's always in my heart Can I use "always ...
Olly's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
2 answers
57 views

How to emphasize wide range of something (in two different senses)? [closed]

In a scientific abstract, I have a sentence like this: Yet, numerous capture-mark-recapture data sets, across wide taxonomic range, feature transient individuals. I want to emphasize that there are ...
Tomas's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
218 views

One less thing to worry about

I am not a native English speaker but I usually feel comfortable speaking or writing in English. I also have a linguistic background. But this morning I finished a task, wiped it from my whiteboard, ...
Bram Vanroy's user avatar
  • 1,267
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Etymology and meaning of the word "stretch" in sentences like "We should eat before the final stretch"

What is the origin of stretch as it is used in the following sentence? We should eat before the final stretch. In this context, final stretch is used to mean 'last segment', or 'the effort needed ...
demsee's user avatar
  • 69
0 votes
1 answer
121 views

difference between rinse and rinse off

Is there any difference between 'rinse' and 'rinse off'? I searched many places and didn't find any obvious differences
wshcdr's user avatar
  • 133
2 votes
1 answer
128 views

How did the verb "take" come to mean "to undertake and make, do, or perform"?

One of the senses of the verb take is: to undertake and make, do, or perform. take a walk take aim take legal action take a test take a look [sense 17a, Merriam-Webster] It is an idiomatic usage. ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
58 views

Is this a cleft sentence?

Is this a cleft sentence or a "preparatory it"? It was my tablet which I didn't realize had fallen off the bed and on the floor. Is it correct? I think it should leave out the structure &...
Wh Wang's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
178 views

Can 'something else' be used negatively?

I've used the expression "to be something else" in a lot of different contexts. I'm wondering now whether sometimes I have used it wrongly. This is when I have said it to refer to someone as ...
ItsJustMe's user avatar
  • 105
1 vote
4 answers
211 views

Converse phrase for "in writing" [closed]

Is there an converse phrase to "in writing", in the sense of completing a task or a calculation in-writing? This should have the sense of "in explicit thought, but not in physical ...
einpoklum's user avatar
  • 3,455
3 votes
4 answers
271 views

What's a phrase that describes a person who keeps making attempts doomed to fail because they don't want their previous work to have been for nothing?

What's a phrase that describes a person who keeps making repeated attempts that they know are doomed to fail because they don't want all of their previous effort to have been for nothing? They feel ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 33
28 votes
5 answers
4k views

Understanding of -pants vs. "pants" in UK speakers

My wife, a native Spanish speaker, today asked me about why a youtuber would call themselves 'craftypants'. I explained that -pants was added to something as synecdoche, so for example an intelligent ...
Kirt's user avatar
  • 1,467
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Is there an expression in English for saying "to make your own mistakes"? [duplicate]

In Russian, we say "to have one's bumps" when we mean that someone makes their own mistakes, thus getting experience and learning from their errors. Is there anything similar to that in ...
Linatt's user avatar
  • 13
2 votes
1 answer
84 views

Searching for words/phrases/expressions to describe competitive struggling

You know how when you talk to someone about a bad time you're going through, and they feel the urge to one-up you to achieve some sort of imaginary victory point? E.g. School is challenging because I ...
Ash Menon's user avatar
  • 121
0 votes
1 answer
47 views

What's this about bromide? [closed]

What's this about bromide? It was suggested as a word representing stating the obvious. I'm not familiar with this expression. English is not my first language.
user484319's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
123 views

A "change in scenery" or a "change of scenery"? Are both forms of this sort of expression truly correct? I know the latter one is, but the former? [closed]

As my title says, is a "change in scenery" as correct as a "change of scenery"? I am self-conscious of how a "change in" might sound odd or off or be even absolutely ...
lookandchange's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
29 views

Question about English grammar [closed]

I was discussing with some friends about English grammar, and we ended up confused about the accuracy of the sentences below "I know the motive for your rescheduling the class" "I know ...
sined's user avatar
  • 119
2 votes
1 answer
178 views

Origin of "get back on terms"

I'm interested in finding the origin of the phrase "get back on terms". Commentators in the Tour de France and other big bike races use it all the time. I understand it in context; its ...
Barb Chamberlain 's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
147 views

Is there a word for a person who can recognize valuable items that can be sold for much more than the current price?

We go to thrift stores & yard sales a lot. My 15-year-old has a knack for instantly recognizing items that are very valuable, and she's been doing it since she was 8. She found an original drawing ...
Mona Florowo's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
71 views

Is Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi" the first to connect cursing and turning blue? [duplicate]

Twain's book appeared in 1883. The penultimate sentence in chapter X, Completing My Education, These people brought up their lantern, then, of course; and as we backed and filled to get away, the ...
Michael L Hays's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
176 views

Is "volume bar", "volume slider” and “volume rocker" the same thing on mobile phones?

I just came across the words from the site "https://www.androidpolice.com/gmail-mark-all-messages-read/", which indicate, as for me the same thing but by using different words in the article ...
Dai_Lizhi86's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
182 views

A word to describe a person who loves anything related to celebrities/gossips/trends and is easily affected by them

I'd like to know a word to describe a person who loves celebrities, gossips, trends or anything that is popular and is easily affected by them. She said she had moved to Paris because she loved "...
EPRAIT's user avatar
  • 946
3 votes
1 answer
138 views

Is there a phrase that describes a problem that becomes more and more complicated the further you investigate/look into it? [duplicate]

I'm looking for a phrase that describes a problem whose complexity starts to increase exponentially, either because the problem is recursive, the definitions/conditions of the problem interlink with ...
Aos Sidhe's user avatar
  • 149
0 votes
1 answer
62 views

"The boil must be lanced if it is to heal"? [closed]

In Final Fantasy 16 (FFXVI), which has a medieval-ish setting, C says that "The boil must be lanced if it is to heal". I'm...not sure I understand the phrase. For context, C is in a ...
chausies's user avatar
  • 151
6 votes
2 answers
635 views

"Don't rock the boat" attitude [duplicate]

When someone tends to hesitate to acknowledge a problem and avoid involving trouble even if needed, is it ok to say in a negative nuance that He/She always has a "don't rock the boat" ...
EPRAIT's user avatar
  • 946
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

Looking for idioms [closed]

Is there an idiom for someone who's doing you a favor with someone else’s property or money?
Tarza's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

Expression for void filling welcome change

Is there an adjective/expression that conveys the meaning that this something fills a role/place that should have been filled long ago because of its high added value? For example: "The ____ ...
meghatas's user avatar
  • 367

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