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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Meaning of "within a period of not more than one month preceding the date of expiry"?

I have to renew a license and the rule states that "the application has to be submitted within a period of not more than one month preceding the date of expiry". So the date of expiry is ...
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"I cannot get around to drawing as much as I want" or "I cannot get around to drawing as much as I want to", which one is correct? [closed]

Both sound fine to me. But I am not sure. Is the second better? Thank you for the help.
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Expressing the idea of killing, finishing/knocking someone off with the phrasal verb "to blip off"

Somehow I was in the knowledge of the fact that the phrasal verb "to blip off" could be used to convey the idea of "to bump off", "to kill", "to knock off" and ...
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what's the meaning of "hang on like a loose garment" in the context? [migrated]

For the socialists, no less than for the bourgeoisie, evecything involves the question oftaste, of a viewpoint and ofmoods. In socialism, as in bourgeois society, things are confined to the surface ...
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What's a word or phrase for something I excel in that when I do for others, it comes good but when I do for myself, it doesn't come through? [closed]

I am looking for a word or phrase to describe the situation when something I am evidently good at only comes through when I do it for others and not when I do it for myself.
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3 votes
1 answer
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What are searchers called?

Today my teacher taught me about using the prefix "re" to mean that you are doing something again. So for the word "Research" it means that you are doing some "search" ...
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2 answers
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English Used Phrase for Don't try to solve too many problems at the same time and you will mess up and have no time for real work

I faced a situation, where my naive/clueless) new boss in the company started to take up all the long pending internal issues that our department is facing and started tackling them all at the same ...
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What is the meaning of the idiom, "limbing forth to the life"?

I've come across what appears to be an idiom that I'm at a loss as to the meaning, and searched online to no avail. The text is Dæmonologie and Theologie by Nathanael Homes, published in 1650. …a ...
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Word/phrase/idiom/expression for "keep in the back of my mind"(essentially, some idea/concept kept as secondary/ something to be aware off?

I'm trying to find a Word/phrase/idiom/expression for "keep in the back of my mind"(essentially, some idea/concept kept as secondary/ something to be aware off. ) To elaborate, Let me ...
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Is there a word for when others find a view or thing pretty/breathtaking but you feel nothing?

Is there a word or idiom for when a view or object/thing others find breathtaking or pretty makes you feel nothing? Edit: Ideally an adjective describing the idea of not seeing beauty in something ...
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Is it correct to say "our plan to go public" vs "to be out for public"? [migrated]

I am writing an email about my team's plan. We were working internally (within the company) and now we are in the progress to provide our services externally. My question is which is correct? "...
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What's another word for agreeing with another person just for the sake of it?

Let's assume two people A and B are in an argument, when A accuses B of some wrongdoing, which B denies. A while after, B, for the sake of pretending to have a moral high ground (for thinking of ...
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What is a phrase for “abruptly changing the topic or action?”

There is only one example I can think of, but I am looking for an alternative. Scene is a character deciding that a discussion isn’t going towards the conclusion he is looking for, so he suddenly ...
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Meaning of "press the TV viewers' personal buttons"

In his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan wrote the following item in a list of ideas about how to put more science on television: Regular exposés of pernicious ...
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The Wednesday afternoon train to Crewe will now run on Thursday mornings and will not stop at Crewe

In the House of Lords debate on the Schools Bill on Monday 18th July 2022, the Labour Party peer Lord Grocott mocked the fact that the first 18 clauses of the Bill have been withdrawn. He said to the ...
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A drug on the market is not what it seems?

A “drug on the market” is something in such great supply relative to demand that its price is very low, or it is unsaleable. See for example: Free Dictionary drug on the market A commodity whose ...
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Grammar and use of 'as we know it'

In my understanding, 'as we know it' usually follows a noun phrase and means like The building as we know it = the version/condition of the building we know now. First, I'm not sure about its ...
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Is there any expression for 'things that are innocent but appear or look bad'?

Is there any phrase or expression or idiom for a situation where things are actually innocent but appear bad. Example: A young girl is not supposed to go to a boy´s home if his parents are not there. ...
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Origin and usage of “sail off into the sunset.”

The AmE idiomatic expression “sail into the sunset” meaning to resolve or conclude things in a neat, happy, and satisfactory fashion. (The Free Dictionary) appears to be used mainly in a sarcastic, ...
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Searching for info on an idiom for expressing extent [duplicate]

I have the impression of an idiom used to express the exaggerated extent of something that follows the pattern "It was (some measure) if it was (other measure)". For example, to express the ...
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Idioms indicating symbiosis rather than conflict

In order to explain a situation in which it's better to compromise and set differences aside, I'm looking for an idiom. In fact, I want to say, despite the huge and critical differences and problems (...
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To remove someone's sins

Is there a phrasal verb or an idiom that people use, especially in religious contexts, to wish that God would remove someone's sins? Something like: Hassan used to rape girls, but he repented of his ...
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Origin of “Peace Through Superior Firepower”

(I’m not sure if this is a valid question here†, as the phrase is arguably not common enough to be classed as a fixed expression.) Is there an ascertainable origin of Peace Through Superior Firepower? ...
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What is the meaning of "paying in buttons"?

From Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage by Rachel E. Gross: As a child, Miriam dreamed of becoming a doctor like her father, Dr. Friedman, who had practiced medicine in Chedrin, Latvia. 'A real ...
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Usage of the term "good egg" [closed]

I came across the informal idiom good egg which means a likeable or pleasant person. The idiom seems somewhat old-fashioned. My question is: How common is this idiom inside and outside the USA ? And ...
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Does the idiom "dotting your Is and crossing your Ts" have a negative connotation?

I have heard this idiom being used in the negative sense on TV to express annoyance when someone is too meticulous. However, from what I remember, it is a positive trait to have, i.e., to be thorough ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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What is the origin of the idiom "get/be shot of"?

Definition Get/be shot of someone/something slang To get rid of. — Collins Examples He didn't want to be seen near me and couldn't wait to get shot of me. City experts still reckon the company ...
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What is a phrase or analogy for something that has both fixed and customizable parts?

I am looking for a way to describe to my students that some of their courses must be taken at a certain time while others can be taken whenever. Therefore, I am trying to give an example or phrase ...
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2 votes
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Can a single word be an idiom or an expression?

Can a single word be considered an idiom or an expression? If so, how does one tell the difference? For instance, words like, "dope!", "lit!", "sick!". These words mean ...
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1 answer
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Is Einstein's geodesic a metaphor or an idiom? [closed]

Is Einstein's geodesic a metaphor or an idiom? I am applying semantic theory to physical theory to bridge the two realities and have found the discussion on metaphor and odium illuminates this purpose....
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1 answer
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Phrase for getting distracted by other things and turning away from the true purpose [duplicate]

I apologise in advance for the rather confusing title as I’m having a hard time wording it. I’m looking for an idiom which suits the statement below The public has been focused on pressuring the ...
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What's the idiom for doing something in vain [closed]

I'm looking for an idiom to describe a task where you put in a lot of effort but in vain.
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Which one is correct/idiomatic? [closed]

Which one of the following is the best choice? The fact that only now I can see clearly was that … The fact that I can only now see clearly was that … The fact that I can see clearly only now was ...
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When can we use "This/That is how we/you do it"?

I found a restaurant review while searching for google maps, and this is an excerpt from it. This is how you do it. Delicious with a very nice outdoor space. Parking on the street was very vacant. We ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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get up and running with something

The Cambridge Dictionary defines up and running in the following way: If something, especially a system or a machine, is up and running it is operating And gives an example: The engineer soon got the ...
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2 votes
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Idiom/Phrase to fight someone else's war?

Like, people made to fight for a war that was not needed. But they are made to do it under someone else's influence. *Edit Apologies for not being more specific. Yes, I would say being used as canon ...
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Is it correct to say “things are looking up for my travel plans” [closed]

Is it correct to say “things are looking up for my travel plans” to indicate that I am ready to start planning my travel after so many problems.
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1 vote
1 answer
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What's the meaning of "to keep the plumbing going?" [closed]

The following excerpt is from "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr. Could you please help me find out what "to keep the plumbing going" means in this context. Is it an idiomatic ...
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9 votes
7 answers
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Is there any difference between the idioms "pull the rug from under" and "leave in the lurch"?

Is there any distinction between "pull from under the rug" and "leave in the lurch"? What separates them? I've scoured some online dictionaries, but I fail to see the difference. ...
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Words and expressions request for order

My mom bought home some fruit last week and before we are able to finish them all she got some more today so she told me, translated to English from my first language, that I should eat the fruit that ...
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2 votes
7 answers
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What does the idiomatic phrase "err on the side of" mean?

I've looked through several online dictionaries to ferret out the meaning of "err on the side of" ("err on the side of", what I mean is I'm more concerned with the underlying ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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What is the idiomatic translation of the russian phrase "дело ясное что дело темное"?

The literal translation is "it is clear that the case is dark", however, this translation does not do any good to the original. The word "дело" appears twice in the phrase, but it ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Does "dodging a silver bullet" convey the meaning [closed]

Assuming a dialogue like this - (Bob) How is the meeting going? - (Alice) Dodging a silver bullet. The idea that Alice is trying to express is that the customer is looking for a metaphorical "...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What is the definition of the phrase "unto itself"?

I've looked through several online dictionaries to discover the meaning of the phrase "unto itself" ("unto itself" in the sense of the phrase having no qualifying objects, people, ...
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3 votes
5 answers
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Idiom for gift or gesture that isn't good enough

I'm looking for a term used when a gift/gesture/allowance of some sort isn't anywhere near good enough, and was done largely for the sake of appearance. Often used in a political context. For example,...
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1 vote
0 answers
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I need an idiom that means "be cool"/relax [closed]

I just need something that connotes calming down from an exaggerated state. The next line afterwards is "I am cool" so I don't want the preceding line to be "be cool" but I want to ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What is the meaning of "He scowled ahead of him"?

Reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, I just found the expression “He scowled ahead of him” and it struck me as something I'd never heard or read before. The context is that this guy is sitting ...
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Closest equivalent of "bless you" for coughing [closed]

There is no English equivalent of "bless you" for coughing. Some friends and I would like to use a phrase for "bless you" for coughing amongst ourselves. What would an appropriate ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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English equivalent for the Chinese idiom 执迷不悟, to obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way [duplicate]

This means something along the lines of: To obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way. This could be translated as just being stubborn but I don't think that's as poetic. Is there a ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Fit verb followed by in preposition

I have a question regarding the usage of the verb "fit", especially when followed by the preposition "in". Now I am aware that there is a "fit in" (as in to become ...
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