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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21 views

"Not too hot" phrase vs "not too good" [closed]

I came across this phrase on a television show. I looked it up and it means "not too good". Can someone confirm whether "not too hot" (or "not doing too hot") is a AmE/ ...
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42 views

Drifting dust, and ice near the ground

Sometimes, when there is moderately strong gusting wind, one can see the wind raising a little dust just a little above the ground, from the ankle height, up to a few meters. When the wind gust is ...
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What is an idiom for making a situation worse in your efforts to make a different one better? [duplicate]

Maybe it doesn't exist, but I feel like there's an idiom for a situation where, in an effort to solve one issue, you exacerbate or create a second related issue, probably directly. Out of the frying ...
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34 views

English equivalent of Russian "понаберут по объявлению" [duplicate]

In Russian, there's an idiom "понаберут по объявлению". Directly it can be translated as "[they] recruit by ads". The intention behind this idiom is to derogate the one who was &...
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What does "Let's hogwash this VI" mean?

I'm watching Six season 2 EP2 , and a character says Okay, let's hogwash this VI. It was the leader of a Navy Seal team who said it. After saying that sentence, he starts criticizing about his team ...
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1answer
54 views

"the ride never ends"

Having a hard time understanding an idiom a person used on an anonymous bbs. Remember, the ride never ends. What could he have meant by this? I'm aware that it's a reference to an old video game ...
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1answer
31 views

Any difference between "testing out" and "testing"? [closed]

Is there a difference (in the meaning) between I've been testing out cameras... and "I've been testing cameras..." How (if at all) does the word "out" change the meaning of the ...
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5answers
102 views

Word or idiom for suggesting someone to do something that damages said person

I am looking for a word or short idiom that describes the situation when subliminal suggesting, or even slightly persuade, someone to do something that hurts that person himself. An example of such an ...
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1answer
62 views

I am familiar with the expression "early days" - but what does "early doors" mean?

I saw this answer regarding "early days" in a related question, Meaning of "Early days I know but may help.": Early days is a British idiom meaning "it’s too soon to make a ...
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26 views

Equivalent idiom for a Romanian expression regarding status

I am looking for an English equivalent of the Romanian saying "Se întâmplă și la case mai mari" (literally: it also happens in larger houses). It suggests that bad things not only happen to ...
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"Swap out with" or "Swap out for"? Also, can you specify a location after the word "out"?

I've read articles online that use "swap out with," but many dictionaries seem to prefer "swap out for." Do they differ in meaning? Also, can you specify a location after the word &...
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What's it called when you get a type of award because you didn't get the award you were supposed to get?

What's it called when you get a type of award because you didn't get the award you were supposed to get? Let's say someone was trying to get an award, and they tried really hard, but they didn't get ...
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2answers
72 views

What's the word when you're saying that the fault is from both parties. Like yours and someone else's fault and so you're both kinda sharing it

What's the word when you're saying that the fault is from both parties. Like yours and someone else's fault and so you're both kinda sharing it? I forgot the word
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3answers
227 views

What feelings are expressed by the verb "to miss (someone)"?

This might sound like a silly question, but what feelings does the verb "to miss (someone)" exactly express? I know in which context the verb is used, but not the exact feelings behind it, ...
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What is the origin of '__ cents on the dollar'?

A question about the origin of the phrase __ cents on the dollar already exists on this site, but that question was interpreted by the answerers as a request for a relatively simple explanation of its ...
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2answers
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Does "maximum" stand before or after a number? [closed]

In a table of different values, I wonder where to put the "max.": (max. 5000) or (5000 max.) I feel like one of those two should sound more idiomatic, but I am not sure which one. Or do you ...
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23 views

What does “with that” mean here?

I heard this sentence from a news program: “Anytime we release people into the United States pending a hearing with that they’re not gonna show up to, we’re gonna have tons of people across our ...
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Idiom and grammar [migrated]

The day was like any other day but the different thing it was me. Do you know any idiom for this sentence? And is this sentence right? How can I make it better?
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2answers
65 views

Is it "I tell you what" or "I'll tell you what"? [closed]

Very often you hear people preface what they're about to say with I tell you what. Or is it I'll tell you what? Is it correct to say a straight I tell you what as that interjection, or do you have to ...
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1answer
246 views

What's an early modern English excalmation roughly meaning "raise the roof!"?

I am a translator of Russian historical fiction set in the early modern period (mid-late 16th century) and I am looking for some good period-specific English equivalents of the phrase "жги-говори!...
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1answer
91 views

Idiom: bed of roses

Does anyone know why this idiom came into existence ? On this website it says: “A bed of roses” as an idiom originated in England and is quite an old expression. One of the earliest examples can be ...
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42 views

How to Form Plural Nouns of Borrowed German Terms?

Just signed up for this site and think it's great. Yesterday I encountered the artistic term 'Sturm und Drang' (roughly: storm and stress), a term that describes the literary and artistic movement ...
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What is the meaning of the phrase "slam home"?

I can't find a definition or any synonyms for the phrase "slam home" in cases like: It slams home a sense of what the wars were like. or To slam home the point, a guy from the State ...
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What does "saw the horse flinch" mean? [closed]

One of my coworkers (from the American midwest) said, "Hold up a minute, I saw the horse flinch." We weren't talking about horses or anything nearly related, but he then proceeded to ask a ...
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1answer
42 views

Where to use on and upon?

Does the meaning of the sentence change if we substitute on and upon? Some sentences- The book is on the table. I took upon his emotional burdens. I remain firm on my stance. I have noticed that ...
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2answers
79 views

Is it "what in the seven hells" or "what in the nine hells"?

I see both but Google shows more results for nine hells, though I can't find definitely what those nine are supposed to be, whereas a list pops up for the seven different levels of hell.
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What do you call using parts of sayings/idioms/proverbs for titles of movies?

There's this sort of phenomenon in English where people name things from part of a quote or proverb. I see it mostly used in movies (e.g. Soul to keep, Penny Dreadful) but I'd like to know what it's ...
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Can "resemblance" be used interchangeably with "semblance" in the idiomatic context of a comparison to a former self?

For example, After the war, Dresden retained little [re]semblance of its former self. Although he'd quit drinking, his lifestyle continued in some [re]semblance of its former self. I came across &...
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2answers
61 views

Like a pig in a wig [duplicate]

Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel — Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig. My research : I guess this is a dated idiom as well and means "someone is ...
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35 views

Can we use binomial 'wine and dine' even if we just eat usual?

This question came to my mind after reading a sub-chapter on my book about binomials. The book also defines each binomial to help the reader understand. Here's the sentence, by the way: She has to ...
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39 views

What does the phrase: "the age of ...." mean?

So for instance if someone says: This is the age of Bob. For me (non-native) this always felt like: This is the year where everything will work out for Bob. However I might be completely wrong here. ...
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1answer
34 views

To the most part vs for the most part [closed]

Currently "for the most part" yields 67.400.000 "to the most part" yields 70.500.000 results on Google. Are these two phrases interchangeable? If not, when would you use which?
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Is the expression "taken out and shot" offensive?

I refer to the expression "taken out and shot", used by Daryl Gates. I have seen this used on a couple of occasions in newspaper articles, and last year, such expression caused a lot of ...
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"Paint yourself blue”

User: It's a shame this answer was the accepted one, when it lacks detail, and doesn't address any of the ways that such a request from a recruiter could be cause for concern (or how to mitigate the ...
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1answer
36 views

Jolt to one's senses (shock/make someone sensible)

Context- Black has been trying to convince Harry that he is guilty that Harry doubt. These words jolted Harry to his senses. Even after that, he still questions Black. So I am confused if it means &...
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1answer
40 views

The good/better/best part of

The good part of the year. The better part of the year. The best part of the year. The nice part of the year (If we say so). What is the difference, if any? My research: According to the dictionaries,...
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92 views

The phrase "in (the) light of" - USAGE 2021

There is a distinction between "in the light of" and "in light of", with the first expression belonging to British English and the second to American English. The Oxford Dictionary,...
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Origin of the Expression: "Yes, Harriet"

When I was a child (in the 1970s) when my mother asked my father to do something that he had already planned to do, he would say "Yes, Harriet". Can anyone tell me where this expression &...
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46 views

you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make it drink

Is she insulting Ken to say: It is incumbent on Ken to apply that knowledge himself(you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make it drink). especially, she knows Ken is not reading her words. Of ...
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66 views

Idiom for becoming disillusioned

What idioms can be used to mean "become disillusioned with myself." my reading speed is 300 wpm and I have always considered myself a very fast reader, but today ________ when I discovered ...
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1answer
94 views

Why is it "hats off" and not "hat's off"?

Meriam-Webster has a page for "hats off to" to indicate praise and uses the example "Hats off to Susan for doing such a great job". I'm surprised that it's not "Hat's off to&...
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“pig book” – when, where & why has a booklet of college students with photos been called a “pig book”?

I’m wondering how widespread geographically and in time was the usage of calling a paper “face book” (list of 1st year college students with photos, hometown & dorm room) a “pig book”, and what ...
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1answer
46 views

"first" not really meaning the ordinal first [closed]

FIRST has many definitions, including: before any other in time, order, or importance before doing other things alternatively: in preference to something else : SOONER I am seeking use examples of ...
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What's the meaning of "He'll stay their wicked hand"

The song of The Last Rose of Cintra from the Netflix Witcher has the lines: So seek ye now the White Wolf He'll stay their wicked hand What does it mean in the context of the song? I'm reading the ...
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1answer
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What's the meaning of "scrambled up"?

I read a letter in which one professor wrote that he was scrambled up a very steep learning curve to understand nature of his new work. If the professor was qualified for the new job why he scrambled ...
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Saying, proverb, phrase for the idea of Absurdity of concentrating on pointless, over-the-top pleasantries than subject that matters the most [duplicate]

We have newly appointed 75+ power-hog manager (old school but in pejorative sense), affected by second childhood and treated like a lame duck (too good to do anything productive). He is infatuated by ...
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3answers
99 views

What is the English equivalent for "向...交代“ (meaning how am I supposed to face someone if I fail to keep the promise I made)?

This is usually used in family-related settings. The audience is usually some family member of the person with whom you made a promise. I'll give you a typical example. Tom is dying, so he asks his ...
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3answers
160 views

What is a saying for "a bookish inexperience preaching the experienced"

Like Preaching to the choir means to speak for or against something to people who already agree with one's opinions. What is saying when an idealist, bookish inexperience, fresh-out-of-college ...
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2answers
57 views

Looking for a term or phrase to describe a discussion where there is no one right answer [duplicate]

I am looking for a term or phrase to describe a discussion where there is no one right answer (e.g., tabs versus spaces). Both sides could be equally right, and the arguments are made mostly from ...
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2answers
523 views

The idiomatic way of saying stealing time

What is the idiomatic way of saying 'stealing time', if someone is so busy and he wants to work on something by sneaking to it?

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