Questions tagged [idioms]

Idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. Use [idiom-requests] if you are searching for an idiom with a particular meaning.

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27 views

Does “trap” make sense in this context? [migrated]

The non native speaker does not want to fall into the trap of using a foreign strange word. Does the word trap in the above sentence make sense in context?
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Is “set some time on the side” a common phrase?

I was convinced set some time on the side was a correct, fairly common expression. However, I am now in doubt because I can't find it via Google phrase match search. Is it idiomatic English? For ...
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Is there an idiom or expression to say “when something is beyond your understanding, you think very little of it”?

For example: A: Your taste in movies sucks, Jared. B: ... (that idiom/expression) Maybe something like "you can't expect a ... to appreciate the greatness of a ..."
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4answers
60 views

Single word (Preferably) for phenomenon when two persons who are at not good terms with each other and involve third person to correspond between them [duplicate]

What is it called (Preferably single word) for phenomenon that is taking place when three parties are involved such that first two persons (Group of people, party or Departments, etc) are at not good ...
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27 views

What is the meaning of “let's kick up a storm”?

What is the meaning of this? Is it an idiom? It was said by a guy to his friend. They were planning to proceed a project that was not approved by the seniors in the company.
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1answer
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What is the best idiomatic phrase for 'This is not going to happen'?

English is not my first language, but I do communicate a lot in non formal setting with UK born and bred very nice people. From where I come there a plenty of ways to say "This is not going to ...
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What is the meaning of the phrase “Better call Bob”

Perhaps the same as the "Better call Saul", what is the meaning of either of them? My feeling from the context is something that is not going to happen.
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1answer
354 views

Where does the expression “to sell your soul to the devil” originate

I understand this is an idiomatic English expression. The expression suggests some sort of pact is made by humans in order to receive diabolical favours. There is a song entitled "The Devil came ...
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What does the idiom 'haunted by their own demons' mean? [closed]

I have a rough idea but I would like specifics here... Maybe a dictionary definition pasted or something...
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1answer
35 views

Expressions like “They may be a-holes, but they are our a-holes”

I remember coming across a line "They may be a-holes, but they are our a-holes." It's used to describe something you don't like, but also don't want others to take away. One example is big ...
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Questions on the usage of 'cut against' based on Moby Dick

I found difficulty understanding the following line from Moby Dick, Ch.48. As for Fedallah, who was seen pulling the harpooneer oar, he had thrown aside his black jacket, and displayed his naked ...
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1answer
51 views

Is there a difference between the phrase “a night out” and “a day out”?

I've been working on a book about Idioms & Phrasal verbs. As I was working, I came across the following definition for the phrase a night out: An evening you spend out of the house enjoying ...
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What does “to be Latin” mean?

I’m reading a mystery novel which was published in the 1930s, and a character describes another character who had threatened to kill her as “Latin” (with a capital L). What does this mean? Google ...
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2answers
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What word means “pretend to know something to extract information”?

Is there any phrase or expression that can be used to indicate that someone who does not actually know something (about someone else) is trying to pretend as if they knew it (or talking in such a way ...
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30 views

What does it mean by “looking for beans and cheap thrills”?

I am currently translating a subtitle where this kid said something about creating a bunker to defend himself from mutant biker gang who sack each city looking "for beans and cheap thrills". ...
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2answers
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I'm looking for idiom(s) which depicts 'someone is desperately searching for something good out of obvious disaster'

Something like, someone is trying hard to justify something evil.
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What to say when someone's answer is not related to our question or at least we think it's not? [duplicate]

I would say: "How's that related to my question ?" Please answer for both formal and informal cases
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1answer
36 views

Is it fine answering “I hope it's nothing.” instead “I hope it's nothing serious.”?

Is there any misunderstanding at Sam's answer? Isn't it infered that Sam means "nothing serious"? Jenny: "I have to leave the office and go back home at once – something's happened&...
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Generic word for aunt and uncle [duplicate]

A mother and a father are parents. What is the generic term for an aunt and an uncle? This is explicitly not a duplicate of Is there a gender-neutral word for "aunts and uncles"/"...
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Why is 'in danger' considered by most conventional dictionaries to be an idiom?

Merriam Webster defines an idiom as: an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own< It then goes on to categorise the ...
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1answer
31 views

The “few would argue” idiomatic phrase

Taken literally from a modern US English viewpoint, the phrase "few would argue that" would mean that the statement the phrase appears before is widely held to be false. The specific wording ...
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4answers
58 views

As I stand on/at the ______ of a new chapter?

Can someone please fill in the blank for me? I can't remember how the phrase goes. I don't want to say "stand at the start of a new chapter" because that sounds clumsy. I had originally ...
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1answer
63 views

Let me guys know

I'm a native English speaker and I recently caught myself saying 'let me guys know', then immediately realized that it makes no grammatical sense whatsoever. My question is whether this is actually an ...
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2answers
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Are “consider” and “take into account” always interchangeable?

I had this sentence in my writing: "The images were adjusted for white balance to take into account differences in light environment." One of my supervisors thought it was wordy, and ...
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1answer
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What is the difference between “by habit” and “out of habit”?

As far as I understand both phrases "by habit" and "out of habit" are valid. What is the difference, if any, between the two? For example: She was doing it by habit. vs She was ...
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1answer
54 views

What is the original version of these two popular idioms? [duplicate]

When I was but a young lad, I often heard the following saying; If “ifs”and “ands” were pots and pans, we would never do the dishes. There is also another similar saying; If ‘ifs” and “buts” were ...
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An idiom expressing the circularity of tool making

Is there an idiom or a proverb like "in order to make a knife you need to use another knife", or, better, "in order to make a sharp knife you need to use a duller knife", ...
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2answers
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Come back hard on us [closed]

I want to convey to a client that if they don't take things seriously and provide incorrect information then our management will come back very hard on us.is this the right sentence or any idiom or ...
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24 views

How to say “drawn into the depth”

Apologies in advance for the naivety of my question, I am a non-native speaker. I am trying to say this : "I thought it would be a quick read, but I became fascinated by it and was drawn into the ...
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Looking for an idiom for expressing difficulties at an early stage of a process [closed]

In Hebrew there's an expression to describe this - "Labor Pains" It expresses the difficulties experienced in the very first stages of a long process. For example, the difficulties ...
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1answer
31 views

On the hunt for him VS On his hunt

I know the idiom On the hunt But I have a question about the usage. I believe these are correct: He was on the hunt for clues. She was on the hunt for the escaped criminal. However, (1) can I use it ...
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3answers
279 views

Idiom or phrase to indicate that mere sympathy does not help

Are there any idioms or phrases to indicate that mere sympathy does not make a good case in the context of the following sentence? Instead of proving his innocence, he relied on his personal stories. ...
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2answers
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What does “antelope slapping” mean (context in body)? Is it some kind of idiom or euphemism?

I just encountered the phrase "antelope slapping" in the following article (first sentence, pasted below): Ya know, when you’ve come inside from a hard day of unnecessary antelope slapping, ...
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924 views

What does 'yep clock' mean?

Been seeing this term on twitch lately. For example, it is referred to starting at 19 min 00 secs of this video https://www.twitch.tv/videos/821017035 Is it some meme or slang term?
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“Predicts the lack of …” or “predicts a lack of …”?

Which expression is better: "It predicts the lack of new effects" or "It predicts a lack of new effects"? Would be happy to hear your opinion.
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2answers
82 views

Proverb, quote or phrase which convey that the approach, ideas that are meant to improve the system or process are the onces which fail them [duplicate]

I am looking for a proverb, quote or phrase describing the processes (or structures or ideas) which are supposed to bring in efficiency, enhance the gaps and increases in-efficiencies, but instead ...
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2answers
32 views

Idiom or phrase to describe a short-lived reward

Are there any idioms or phrases to describe a short-lived reward For example, in a gang robbery incident where the robbers robbed a million, but three days later, all of them were caught with the ...
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2answers
66 views

What is the correct idiom to say that “I read” many papers “without considering the details”? [closed]

What is the correct idiom to say that "I read" many papers "without considering the details" only to get the necessary pieces of information I needed and in a very fast way. Is ...
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2answers
106 views

Which one is more idiomatic: ‘valid concern’ or ‘legitimate concern’?

I am looking for an adjective for the word ‘concern’. I want to say that the concern is one of the cases where one should have concern, that is, there are good reason to have such a concern. Example: ...
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Meaning of “with him strength took the form of wealth”

This is one paragraph from the story "The Wit of Porportuk" by Jack London Porportuk became angry. His pride was touched; his strength was challenged, and with him strength took the form of ...
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3answers
87 views

Idiom to say “with lowest impact”

We are changing a process in our company and I'd like to convey the message below to my clients. "We are trying our best to change this process without affecting dependent processes" . Is ...
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2answers
25 views

Does the first sentence have the same meaning as the second?

He put his hand in his pocket and bought it for the guy. I'll have to put my hand in my pocket to fix my car. Do these sentences have the same meaning: to spend money, or to give some to someone or ...
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1answer
45 views

What’s the meaning of “split wide open”

What’s the meaning of “split wide open”?? I’m confused and I found it in this sentence: “everything I knew was split wide open” Source (UCLA magazine) “The world cracked down the middle,” she wrote ...
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1answer
32 views

Since when is “Don't be too fool to use…” an English expression

I was horrified to see our company create an ad that reads: Don't be too fool to use the hard drive" However, Googling the expression "Don't be too fool" seems to show that it's a ...
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proverbial idiom that fits the point that “Main contractor asking (polite forcing) subcontractor to spoon feed his own duty in its entirety”

In business, a main contractor is the one who takes up the responsibility of the whole project which he understands he can undertake in its entirety, some without and part with help of a subcontractor....
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1answer
44 views

Idiom about doing things right way?

Any idiom do you know means like"we'll do this one time but the hard way"?
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1answer
38 views

What are other idiomatic expressions similar to “shed light on”

Are there any idioms or expressions similar to "shed light on" Example: this evidence sheds light on the complicity of the accused
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25 views

Can “By means of” be used with a verb phrase?

The idiom "by means of" is ussualy used to explain the use of a tool or method with a noun phrase, but is it strictly correct to use it with a verb phrase? For example: "The results ...
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1answer
319 views

Where does the phrase, “to stop on a dime” come from? [duplicate]

I grew up hearing phrases like, "X can stop on a dime," meaning that X, presumably at the controls of some kind of vehicle, can bring that vehicle to a stop in as short a distance as the ...
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1answer
47 views

Idiom for incomplete investigation

What is the best idiom to describe improper investigation? Scenario- the investigation was improper and hence prejudicial to the accused.

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