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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-3
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0answers
19 views

“not a little/few” [closed]

Can the contraction -n't be used for the idioms not a little and not a few?
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Is any of the following idioms outdated? [closed]

I am trying to learn more idioms to make myself sound more natural. Wonder if any of the following idoims is outdated? I just hit my 30s. I hope I can sound like my age when speaking English. Here are ...
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1answer
47 views

Where did the phrase “jump to conclusions” come from? [closed]

I've been looking for the origin of the phrase "jump to conclusions." I found nothing more than this: The term began to appear in the early 1700s in prints. The Idioms And how different ...
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1answer
46 views

Did the UN make a grammar error here? [closed]

I was reading about some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). While researching their goal to end poverty on this site, https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal1, I came across this odd ...
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1answer
94 views

Reference Request on Preposition Fronting

Currently reading "A Student's Introduction to English Grammar" by Geoffrey K. Pullum and Rodney Huddleston. Consider the following contrast between the phrasal verbs ask for and come across....
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What does to be featured mean [duplicate]

In the "About the author" page of a book published by Wiley (for dummies) there is a sentence about Joelle Jane Marshall, the author of the book, like this: Jo has been featured in "The ...
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1answer
49 views

Why do you say “to step down” in Englisch but the German equivalent translates to “to step back”? [closed]

Why do you say “to step down” (as in resign) in Englisch but in German you “zurücktreten” (i.e. “to step back”)?
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+100

Origin of “race to the bottom”

The idiomatic expression “race to the bottom”, generally used in economic and financial contexts, refers to: A situation in which striving to have the lowest possible prices in order to attract the ...
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“Are we still on our meeting date” Does this phrase sound natural?

My friend and I have picked a day next week to hang out online on a video call -let's say it's Monday-. Sunday has come and I want to make sure we are having our online meeting as scheduled. What ...
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2answers
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What does it mean “to turn square corners?”

I came across the phrase in this article: And "in this case, the law's terms ensure that, when the federal government seeks a procedural advantage against an individual, it will at least supply ...
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1answer
64 views

“how to deal with the problem” vs “what to do with the problem” [closed]

He knows how to deal with the problem. He knows what to do with the problem. Can we switch between " how" and " what"? Why and why not?
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2answers
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A metaphor for people living up or down to their reputation

I have been asked to improve my question. Can anyone help with the full quote and derivation thereof for a metaphor that begins “give a dog a bad name and hear (or see) him bark”? My understanding is ...
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4answers
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You have the watches, but we have the time

This quote is associated with the Taliban in reference to the US occupation of Afghanistan. I understand the metaphorical meaning of the quote — i.e. the point that it makes. But I am intrigued by the ...
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3answers
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“Burning the candle at both ends” to mean being unfaithful in a relationship

I'm familiar with the idiom "burning the candle at both ends" to mean "to have expended oneself, in particular by staying up very very late". With this idiom I usually think of ...
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2answers
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Is take care proper for this picture? [closed]

I want to know the difference between look out, take care, and watch out. [![enter image description here][1]][1] [1]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/ofhzm.png![enter image description here](https://i....
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4answers
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Question about how to use the word suicide [duplicate]

I got this note from a literary agent and am curious about usage of the word suicide. I had written, "my father was a suicide." Which sounds a little archaic but wanted to avoid saying "...
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1answer
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Is there an Idiom for someone who tried but failed because it was too much for him

I'm wondering if there's an idiom similar to an idiom in Czech. In Czech, it's 'Vylámat si na něčem zuby' ~ 'To break one's teeth on something'. To try and do something but failing nonetheless. It's ...
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3answers
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Is there an idiom for when two things are the same, like tomayto-tomahto, that works well in written form?

"Tomayto-tomahto" /təˈmeɪ.t̬oʊ - təˈmɑː.təʊ/ is a spoken idiom playing on the different US and UK pronuncation of the word "tomato", used to express when two seemingly different ...
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25 views

As much as I am [migrated]

Is it grammatically correct to write a sentence like this: I enjoy spending my time with people who are as much sarcastic as I am. Or the “much” should be omitted? Thanks
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A to the B to the C: some kind of slang [closed]

I've often heard, especially in songs where slang is commonly used (pop, rap, etc.), people use a weird structure: something like "A to the B to the C...", where A, B, C, etc. are usually ...
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When Did Everyone Decide It Was Okay To Mispronounce The Word “Short-Lived”? [duplicate]

I just have one minor complaint about those who mispronounce the word "short-lived". When a dog has a short tail, we say he is "short-tailed". We say "Rottweilers are usually ...
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2answers
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'Got more sense'. What does it mean? [closed]

Can you elucidate the meaning of the third sentence in the dialogue: A: “I am no more sick than you are,” said the woman in bed. B: “Oh, yes you are!” A: “I just got more sense than you have, that’s ...
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What does 'to be a story' means?

Could you explain to me, please, what the expression "You are a story" means, used in the following dialogue: A: “You mustn’t pay any attention to old Addie,” she now said to the little girl....
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Can “raise a point” and “make a point” mean the same thing generally?

I personally think "to raise a point" means "to mention some point of interest" while "to make a point" means "to state or demonstrate something of particular ...
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How to understand the meaning of this as…as sentence seems to be self-contradictory?

This time I encountered a seemingly self-contradictory sentence from a book: It's easy to see that locate is as simple as find is complicated. Apparently, simple and complicated are two words with ...
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1answer
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Is there an idiom/phrase that describes the act of trying to fix something unfixable? [duplicate]

Most of you probably heard the phrase "gild the lily", which describes the act of trying to improve something that is already perfect. What I'm looking for is the opposite of that, is there ...
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1answer
61 views

define “the dangerous age”

How many years-old is "the dangerous age"? Where does the term come from? (Google doesn't seem to know.) "I've reached the dangerous age, and lady, I'm going to have fun." X ...
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11answers
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Idiom meaning inferring too much from the available evidence

Suppose there is a little bit of evidence available, such as a red stain on the wall, and one starts to deduce "facts" from that, for example, that someone cut their finger by a knife ...
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1answer
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The growing popularity of “on the cusp”

The term cusp is an old one and it was first used in astrology and later in other contexts: 1580s, in astrology, "first entrance of a house in the calculation of a nativity," from Latin ...
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Idiom to express 'being good at something'

I am currently working on a translation project for university (nothing profressional) and I have a question regarding the translation of a French expression which goes "je ne crains personne&...
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4answers
115 views

a person who is proud of being wrong

How do you describe a person who is proud of being wrong /someone who revels in not knowing the correct answer to a simple question? I think it might be 'inverted ....' but all suggestions welcome.
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1answer
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What did James Baldwin mean by “as clean as a bone”?

In his interview with The Paris Review, James Baldwin in answer to the question "As your experience about writing accrues, what would you say increases with knowledge?", says: You learn how ...
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2answers
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Is there an idiom for “looking for something in the wrong place”?

I want to express how someone might have an unfulfilled social need and seek to satisfy it in the wrong place. For example: someone has a romantic social need yet seeks for it to be satisfied from a ...
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2answers
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Origin of phrase 'come on'

Is the origin/first usage of the phrase 'come on' known? I know there is a similar 'kom op' in Dutch (same meaning, as well as a literal translation of the words), but I don't know which took it from ...
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2answers
458 views

What's the origin of the phrase “show true colours?”

I wonder if someone knows the actual origin and oldest printed record of the idiom "show true colours?" Other than this popular theory (seems not real to me): This phrase dates back to the ...
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10answers
5k views

If I cannot win, then I will make it impossible for you to win

We have a joke about a foreigner that went to a wet market in zone 1 and saw a farmer selling live frogs in an open basket. As we all know, frogs jump. Actually, they jump about quite a bit when in a ...
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Angel from Montgomery

Regarding the John Prine song entitled Angel from Montgomery, I’ve read online that Angel From Montgomery might be related to a pardon from Governor but was wondering if that’s a standard idiom or ...
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1answer
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What is an idiom for loneliness and unnoticed?

It is for a poem that is about loneliness and how nobody really sees you or notices you, somewhat like if you are an invisible "thing" and I don't know what I can use to describe it.
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2answers
81 views

Meaning of “Mind mice at crossroads”

What does mean: She said her landlord was so mean that she would mind mice at crossroads ?
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4answers
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Is there an idiom for saying something that might turn out wrong or making a wild prediction?

Example: I might be _______ but Brasil will win this world cup.
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5answers
2k views

Idiom similar to “if the shoe fits”

I'm looking for an idiom that describes when people get huffy and defensive about a topic even though it wasn't directed at them, similar to if the shoe fits. but not quite. A prominent example is ...
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2answers
559 views

What is the origin of “crash at someone’s place”?

I know it’s slang. But help me to find origin of crash at someone’s place
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55 views

cut/cut down when referring to price

"The supermarket cut the price." sounds correct to me. "The supermarket cut down the price." seems a bit redundant. Is my interpretation correct or are both acceptable?
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3answers
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The meaning of “They know who they are”

I'm reading a programming book and in it it is said, of a subset of engineers, "Electrical engineers and systems designers who create computer motherboards and other hardware systems ...
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1answer
45 views

Idioms/expression that means something can bring great benefit if used correctly?

I was writing a conclusion and I'm in need of using an idiom with this meaning. I remember there is one (but might be confused with other language's idioms, if so pls correct me) but it seems to have ...
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1answer
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What is different? [the something of one's choice & the choice of one's something.]

I have read two links gotten some feedback from another forum. https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/the-something-of-your-choice https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/...
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1answer
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What is going on grammatically when we speak of a “happy day”? [duplicate]

Ordinarily in English, adjectives directly describe the noun being modified; thus an adjective indicating an emotion attributes that emotion to the noun - "I am happy" means that I am the ...
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5answers
3k views

What is the English idiom for Russian “режет глаз” which literally translated as “hurts the eye”?

What is the English idiom for Russian "режет глаз" which literally can be translated as "hurts the eye"? In Russian, it is used when there is something, a thing, which does not fit ...
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1answer
36 views

What would be the word that is used to describe a person that uses dysphemisms a lot?

dys·phe·mism /ˈdisfəˌmizəm/ a derogatory or unpleasant term used instead of a pleasant or neutral one, such as “loony bin” for “mental hospital.”. (Lexico)
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2answers
328 views

Origin of “Around the clock” or “Round the clock”? [closed]

From a Google search it seems the origin is unidentifiable? Does anyone have any ideas on plausible origins?

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