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Questions tagged [idiom-meaning]

An idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.

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What does it mean “to have claim over something”?

This is a sentence from the book Everything I Know About Love: I thought we had claim over each other’s twenties before we’d inevitably have to give the other one up.
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45 views

What do these uncommon expressions mean?

I'm a non-native English speaker and I've heard and read a lot of expressions that I believe are supposed to mean "Goodbye"; however, I don't really know what they mean (in a literal sense) and how I'...
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47 views

Meaning of “to gird up one's loins” (King James English) [closed]

What is the meaning of [to] "gird up [one's] loins"?
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1answer
23 views

“Failed of late” meaning? [closed]

What is meant by "failed of late" in the following: "How is your mother, Diana? Dear me, but she has failed of late. She looks terrible run down." ?
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2answers
60 views

What does “bc same” mean? [closed]

What does “bc same” mean after a question? Sth like: Have you ever done that? Bc same. Thanks
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1answer
33 views

What does “apathy on matters African” mean?

"America’s apathy on matters African is one reason such initiatives have slowed of late." What does "apathy on matters African" mean?
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1answer
38 views

Mystical oriental kitten

In this article https://aeon.co/ideas/tidying-up-is-not-joyful-but-another-misuse-of-eastern-ideas what does this sentence mean? "Which, to be clear, they are. Poor old Confucius features in these ...
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2answers
29 views

What does “more than intended with” mean here?

"China's rulers reveal more than intended with clunky propaganda about their accountability." What does "more than intended with" mean here?
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1answer
50 views

Can't-be-arsed as an adjective?

Can't be arsed means can't be bothered. It means that one can't be bothered to do something. I've seen it being used as an adjective. What could can't be arsed ice cream mean? The original texts says:...
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30 views

What does “step back” imply here?

"The aim would be to block investment in only the most sensitive industries, such as defence, police it rigorously in important ones, such as technology, and otherwise step back." What does "...
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1answer
31 views

What is the exact meaning of “bid him be of good heart”? [closed]

“He is a prophet of this people,” Waraqa assured his cousin after hearing her story. “Bid him be of good heart.” What is the exact meaning of "bid him be of good heart" here? Pls help.
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1answer
60 views

What does “as has” mean here? [closed]

"In Britain the price of a new drug for cystic fibrosis has provoked fury, as has the government’s refusal to pay it." What does "as has" mean here?
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2answers
95 views

What does “as…as” mean here?

Even as legalistic an institution as the EU ought to be able to find a way around snags such as this. Can anyone restructure the sentence to simpler ones as it is not clear for me? For example, ...
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45 views

On the hoof expression

A friend has asked me if they can say: I said those words on the hoof. It doesn’t sound right to me as I’m used to hearing it with eating: I had to grab lunch on the hoof. Is it correct, and if so, ...
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193 views

The meaning of the expression “Never laugh at live dragons”

I'm a big Tolkien fan and have read LOTR and The Hobbit many times. However, there's one quote from The Hobbit that I've never fully understood, and that is the phrase, "Never laugh at live dragons". ...
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2answers
65 views

What does “jaw-breaking” mean?

"India’s prime minister has promised a "jaw-breaking response" to the killing of 40 Indian paramilitary police." What does “jaw-breaking response” mean?
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1answer
25 views

Why does a Californian utility spark wildfires? [closed]

"PG&E, a Californian utility, was forced into bankruptcy protection in January after insurers and creditors fled when they concluded that it could be on the hook for billion-dollar liabilities ...
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1answer
42 views

“If I knew something about [X], I couldn't tell you what it is!”

Someone has told me that, because I asked about X. I know that the person has confidentiality concerns about the X-related issues. Now I'm wondering: does that statement imply anything specific? ...
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2answers
171 views

“Tinkle contest with a skunk”

What does the following idiom mean: "Tinkle contest with a skunk". And where was this idiom first used ? Does anybody know the origin?? Example: Yesterday, in an unsuccessful attempt to discuss ...
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1answer
93 views

What does “run the place” mean here? [closed]

"Virginia's state government seemed unable to find anyone to run the place who has not either applied boot polish to his face while at college or been accused of sexual assault. " What do "run the ...
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1answer
119 views

when can you use cut your teeth on something from the first person perspective?

I was helping a friend to proof read and found this sentence very cringey. 'Also, Chambers that give their pupil first-hand experience which they can cut their teeth on their legal careers in the long ...
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1answer
35 views

Meaning of “feet to the flames”

Nia Warfield, "Crude oil is on track for its best January ever," CNBC: Kelly also noted that investors are now holding oil companies' "feet to the flames" to increase cash flow amid the surge ...
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0answers
41 views

Idiom: “bulky and leaky”

What is the meaning and origin of the idiom "bulky and leaky"? I ran into it in the sentence: Java already has somewhat a (bulky and leaky) type of closure: anonymous inner classes There is ...
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1answer
88 views

Meaning of 'to charm water out of sand'

What is the meaning of the idiom 'to charm water out of sand'? I heard it in a conversation and cannot find any such idiom online.
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1answer
37 views

What comes into mind of a native speaker on "Please do it yourself!”?

I have read a sign which started with "Please do it yourself!". I read it and started laughing. May be because a possible special meaning of "it" or "do it" like in "do it with somebody". Is this ...
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1answer
373 views

How disrespectful is it to say “with all due respect if there is any due” and is there another way of saying this?

What does it mean when someone says in a debate "with all due respect, if there is any due" and would it be considered a little disrespectful or very disrespectful? Also these days is the phrase "with ...
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1answer
35 views

What does it mean by “wasn’t everybody saying”? [closed]

"As Mr Trump’s opponents called this a disaster, his supporters lambasted their criticism as hysterical—wasn’t everybody saying a year ago that it was sinister to have so many generals in the cabinet?"...
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1answer
106 views

“Standing on your dignity” meaning

Good day, I found an old Melbourne, AU tram ticket from sixties. On the back of it there is a writing "Standing on your dignity is a very insecure footing". Trying to decipher the phrase, I fail to ...
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2answers
345 views

“I hope she hangs the moon”

I am always on the watch out for new unfamiliar idioms, especially in American English, and today I found one “to hang the moon”. "And so she's now talked about a lot," McCaskill added. "I'm not ...
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1answer
248 views

What does “Step up the two of us” mean? [closed]

Can anyone explain to me, what does "step up" mean in the song Imagine by Ariana Grande, which she says at the beginning: "Step up the two of us, nobody knows us get in the car like skrrt"
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4answers
78 views

What does it mean by “in their thousands”?

"SpaceX and OneWeb, a communications firm, plan to launch satellites in their thousands, not hundreds." What does it mean by "in their thousands"?
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1answer
15 views

What does it mean by “a hotspot for anti-microbial resistance”?

"Widespread dumping of antibiotics in rivers has made the country a hotspot for anti-microbial resistance. " What does it mean by "a hotspot for anti-microbial resistance"?
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1answer
17 views

What does it mean by “made a national champion of”?

"Although the chip battle may have pre-dated Mr Trump, his presidency has intensified it. He has made a national champion of Qualcomm, blocking a bid for it from a Singaporean firm for fear of Chinese ...
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1answer
22 views

What does “risk divides too wide for any bridge” mean?

I read a sentence "China should re-learn Deng’s self-knowledge, or risk divides too wide for any bridge." Can you help explain the meaning of "risk divides too wide for any bridge" and show where the ...
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1answer
33 views

What does “liberal's idea of a model” mean?

What does "no Ameican liberal's idea of a model" mean in the sentence "South Carolina, no American liberal’s idea of a model, has pursued a notably enlightened reform to the sentencing of non-violent ...
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2answers
811 views

What does “the dog who caught the car” mean?

There's a back-and-forth email correspondence between Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky discussing ethics here. In one of the emails Sam says to Noam: I trust that certain of your acolytes would love to ...
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1answer
259 views

Phrase: “goes like a rattlesnake”?

While watching episode 3 of season 2 of "Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father" I came across the the following sentences, all by the same native (British) English speaker (aged 78 at the time of ...
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1answer
351 views

What does “say mass” mean? [closed]

I cannot understand "saying mass" means in the sentence "Pope Francis conferred sainthood on Óscar Romero, an archbishop who was murdered in 1980 while saying mass by an army-backed death squad in El ...
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1answer
55 views

What does “baselet” mean?

FONOPs [Freedom of Navigation Operations] have grown “more regular and strident” under the Trump administration, says Alessio Patalano of King’s College London. America’s European and regional ...
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1answer
68 views

What is “injury woes”?

I believe it is a fixed phrase (‘injury problems’ does not work as a substitute) and can admit that there is no account of a singular form (‘injury woe’). So, it makes the said phrase an idiom. I ...
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2answers
775 views

What does “If you are playing the Yankees, you don’t want the umpires to show up wearing pinstripes” mean? [closed]

The sentence goes: A good judge, like a good umpire, cannot act as a partisan... If you are playing the Yankees, you don’t want the umpires to show up wearing pinstripes. I cannot understand the ...
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1answer
264 views

What does “bring a vote to the floor” mean?

I once read in a newspaper the sentence like " some leadership pressed to bring a vote to the floor on the confirmation of something." So what does the phrase mean here? Any slang used? Where can I ...
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1answer
91 views

Can anyone tell me what “a card scandal” in this sentence means?

I have a question about a sentence from Sherlock Holmes's series "The Adventure of the Three Students". Here it goes. He was nearly expelled over a card scandal in his first year. Can anyone be ...
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3answers
72 views

What does “longest weak patch” mean?

I did not know the meaning of the part after the comma in the sentence: Since May spending on projects ranging from railways to power plants has fallen compared with a year earlier, the longest ...
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4answers
262 views

What does “extend a finger” mean exactly? Is it a commonly spoken phrase?

I came across the phrase “They’ve extended a finger” in the article that came under the headline “Mazie Hirono’s blunt style makes her a favorite of liberal looking for fighter” in Washington Post ...
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1answer
88 views

What is a wash dish tongue?

In this article†, Edward Hibbert (who plays Gil Chesterton), describes his character: Gil’s effete and affected with a wash-dish tongue. What is meant by a "wash-dish tongue? Note: Googling "wash-...
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1answer
234 views

To let some of my cats on the table

While reading J.L. Austin's book How to do things with words I found this (to me) curious sentence: ... and here I must let some of my cats on the table... The context seems to imply that the ...
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1answer
932 views

Cut my legs out from under me?

I would like to know the exact meaning of this phrase (cut my legs out from under me,) because I've been searching for it everywhere, but 'till now I've only come across the definition of "cut the ...
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1answer
799 views

What does 'The Thick End Of' mean, and why?

I came across this phrase around 20 years ago, and have always understood it to mean 'most of'. I might complain about having to pay "the thick end of £4" for a coffee, when it cost somewhere between £...
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0answers
61 views

Deep state versus cabal [closed]

I ran across the term "deep state" and web searching (including a link to the term in the NPR page above) seems to indicate that it is the same as a cabal. Political/government cliches that influence ...