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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 by “clean up its act by pleading poverty”? [migrated]

"In the past India has explained its failure to clean up its act by pleading poverty, noting that richer countries were once just as dirty and that its output of filth per person still lags far behind ...
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1answer
13 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
16 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
18 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
28 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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1answer
189 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 ...
3
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1answer
135 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
66 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
35 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
44 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
760 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
159 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
78 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
41 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
237 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
75 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
172 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
302 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
397 views

Is there a word meaning 'to think about thinking'?

Is there a word meaning 'to think about thinking '? Ex: 'I was thinking about thinking about that suggestion.'
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1answer
141 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
54 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 ...
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3answers
317 views

“The cat that got the cream” - is there any innuendo?

I think this is a British idiom. The American version would be, "The cat that killed the canary." I was about to say this to a female friend, intended as a "well done" sort of compliment, ...
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1answer
32 views

What is the meaning of “as classic as they come”?

These shoes are as classic as they come. I am not sure if it means that its style won't be affected whether the trend changes as time goes. Does it mean that this item is a timeless piece?
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2answers
97 views

“Tip of the iceberg” negative or positive

Does this idiom indicate the negative side or positive side? Example: what you have seen about his character is just the tip of the iceberg... Does this example show whether he has so much good ...
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1answer
114 views

Origin of phrase “dollars to doughnuts” [closed]

What is the origin of the phrase "dollars to doughnuts", and what is the phrase trying to convey when most commonly used?
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7answers
16k views

Meaning of the phrase “womp womp” in American English?

I'm British, I'd like some assistance understanding the meaning of the American idiom "womp womp" in this context: PETKANAS: “I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken ...
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1answer
87 views

Meaning of the expression “Ain't no trip we can't get past”

"Ain't no trip we can't get past" Does anybody here know what it means? This expression sort of resembles a saying in Spanish that goes something like this: "there is neither a sickness which ...
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0answers
19 views

Sweet-spot in computing sentence [duplicate]

What means "sweet-spot"? Those temperatures may be sustainable, but they are higher than they should be. In a well-ventilated computer case, an SSD should be showing temperatures close to room-...
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1answer
177 views

What's an idiom or a phrase that can be used to explain something's versatility? [closed]

What's an idiom or a phrase that can be used to explain something's versatility ?
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3answers
302 views

Is there a positive counterpart of “Showing one's true colors”?

Showing one's true colors applies to a situation where a person did something that you perceive as negative. For instance: I thought Jake was a nice guy, but at the club, he showed his true colors. ...
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1answer
425 views

Is it possible to say “I take myself with a grain of salt?”

Does the phrase "I take myself with a grain of salt?" mean "I think about myself sceptically"? Or it doesn't? Either the first phrase have no sense at all?
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2answers
114 views

What does it mean when someone says to “deliver the eyeballs”?

Skimming through the following article on Guardian I stumbled upon the following sentence: So if someone asked “What’s your space?” and you had a deeply unfashionable job like, say, writer, it ...
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2answers
301 views

Meaning of “What's in it for (someone)?” [closed]

On another SE site, I wrote in a comment What's in it for X? (X is a person.) I was asked what this phrase meant. I looked in three online dictionaries of idioms and couldn't find it. It showed ...
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2answers
233 views

In “pedophilia,” why philos rather than eros?

Greek carefully distinguishes between philos (non-sexual love) and eros (sexual love). There are 100s of "phile" words (e.g. an audiophile is a person with a non-sexual love of stereo equipment) and ...
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1answer
26 views

“On your own block”

You belong on your own block, where I can whistle for you. I am totally confused by “belong on your own block”, could anyone please help me understand this sentence? Your help would be greatly ...
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3answers
401 views

Difference between art and science [closed]

I see this phrase used in lot many places: is as much art as it is science However, I am not sure what it means. Can someone please help me understand?
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2answers
157 views

What does the sentence “Please don't drop this from your radar” mean? [closed]

What does the sentence "Please don't drop this from your radar" mean. I searched for this in Google I found some idiom named drop off the radar but still I need some clarity on this. I want to learn ...
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1answer
212 views

What does it mean if someone says “this man I think u are up to something”? [closed]

this man I think u are up to something One of my friends asked me this question because he got this text from his girlfriend. So, can anyone help me out to understand this phrase?
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2answers
52 views

Does “head start” imply a comparison or competition with others?

I'm working on an application for a summer school. In the letter, I am explaining how I have been preparing to get into the field in question and how the summer school would further help me with that ...
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1answer
105 views

Can “much less” be used in affirmative manner?

There was the following paragraph in Washington Post (March 26) article under the headline, “The 5-minutes fix: What to make of Stormy Daniels. “Daniels is openly profiting from her newfound fame ...
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2answers
81 views

What does 'let off the hook' mean in football (soccer)?

What does let off the hook mean in football (soccer)? It appears in a Daily Telegraph article as follows: Wales had been let off the hook by Suarez in the first period, but Uruguay finally made ...
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2answers
137 views

What does get into more difficult waters mean? [closed]

In a book that I'm reading there is a sentence like this If we focus just on our local galaxy, we know that there are about 100 billion stars, with about 20 billion Earth-like planets. Twenty ...
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1answer
47 views

What is the meaning of “head-poppingly”?

In a book I'm reading there is a sentence like this If you travel to a foreign country, you will make the charming discovery that there are many differences between the local way of life and your ...
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1answer
341 views

What does the phrase “Mind your business” mean or refer to?

I appreciate it if you respond to or comment on the meaning of "Mind your business", as used on the Fugio Cent in Colonial America. Thanks in advance for your time!
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1answer
685 views

Meaning and etymology of the “Rhodesia Solution” [closed]

An example of the term "Rhodesia solution" being used is in The whisky Priest, an episode from the BBC comedy series Yes Minister, which follows a government minister and some of his closest staff ...
3
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3answers
241 views

Word/expression for someone who doesn't reciprocate favors?

Is there a word/idiom/expression to refer to someone whom I have helped a lot but doesn't reciprocate any favors even though they are capable of helping me? For example: I have helped Peter a lot ...
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0answers
36 views

What's the meaning of “neon-grade memorability”?

In the article The brilliance of Richard Brautigan by Sarah Hall there's a sentence that reads as follows: Brautigan is a high stylist; his lines can be astonishing and have neon-grade memorability ...
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1answer
353 views

meaning, definition of phrase “time for time”

I am translating a text where the following appears: Dave, it's your boss. You owe me a shift this Saturday. You really need to, time for time. I was trying to look for a definition for this "time ...
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0answers
428 views

What does the expression 'you can shake a bunsen burner at' mean?

I am reading the following article https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/read-enhance-general-knowledge.html . In the first paragraph there's the following sentence: You’ve memorised more ...
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1answer
49 views

“Hock the Rembrandt”

I read that expression recently. It was used more or less as follows: It is very expensive: so, if you really want to acquire it, be prepared to hock the Rembrandt. I would like to know if this ...