Questions tagged [freezes]

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4 votes
1 answer
794 views

Is "helter skelter" a word or two words or two non-words? What do we call it? [duplicate]

The phrase "helter skelter" is strange because you don't see the word "helter" or "skelter" used anywhere, and when I searched Merriam-Webster dictionary for either word it links me to the definition ...
Raa's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is a rhyming word beginning with "h" put before another word to create a new term?

I recently learned a new phrase: "herby-kerby," which is regionalism from the Kalamazoo, MI area for a wheeled trash bin placed at the curb for trash collection. I've found several uses of the phrase: ...
Katherine Lockwood's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the name for words that are only used in a certain order even though switching them would be grammatically correct? [duplicate]

E.g. hammer and anvil, and part and parcel. Unlike a normal cliche all of these would make sense if you switched the word order, but no one ever does. I remember seeing a name for this, but can't ...
Hunter's user avatar
  • 61
4 votes
3 answers
5k views

The ordering of word pairs: anyone for chips and fish?

When we list pairs of words, certain orders seem much more common and natural than others. A few examples: Fish and chips instead of chips and fish Ladies and gentlemen instead of gentlemen and ...
lemon's user avatar
  • 151
2 votes
0 answers
66 views

Why does "north" come before "south", and "black" before "white"? [duplicate]

This website is common in both north and south America. Or is this better? This website is common in both south and north America. Let's ask Google: "in north and south": 26,800,00 hits "in ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 231
7 votes
1 answer
266 views

Reversing Binomials

Siamese twins or binomials are pairs of expressions which are often conjoined. For example: back and forth ebb and flow near and far better or worse do or die Is there is a name for the rhetorical ...
DyingIsFun's user avatar
  • 17.9k
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

"pros and cons", "black and white", "ups and downs". Always in a fixed sequence, is there a word or phrase for these?

Is there a word or phrase for two nouns or adjectives joined by a conjunction (usually "and") in a fixed sequence? alive and well fast and furious hat and gloves pen and pencil ...
Centaurus's user avatar
  • 50k
20 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why does left come before right?

For example in the idioms "left and right", "left, right and centre", and in many contexts where both left and right are mentioned, it seems that the left usually comes before the right. Why is this ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 3,619
33 votes
4 answers
10k views

crisscross, dillydally, riffraff, etc

Some English words only differ in their vowels: crisscross, dillydally, riffraff, etc. Is there a name for them?
Elberich Schneider's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
34k views

Is "forth and back" more proper than "back and forth"?

I think the term "back and forth" gets thrown around a lot without much thought. From Dictionary.com: forth    [fawrth, fohrth] adverb 1. onward or outward in place or space; forward: to ...
Chad Harrison's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Preferred list ordering [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the principles that make certain lists sound euphonious? Name for a type of idiom with two things joined (like “raining cats and dogs”, “bread and ...
Marc's user avatar
  • 21
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Which comes first: cat or dog?

Which comes first in a sentence? I know some word pairs such as bacon and eggs, where bacon always comes first. E.g: Make me bacon and eggs for dinner, honey. Cats and dogs are the two most ...
whirlwin's user avatar
  • 452
0 votes
5 answers
8k views

Pairs in common idioms/phrases

There are phrases which pair things up. For example, "checks and balances", "bells and whistles", What is the rational behind this construct? Any more examples?
John Smith's user avatar