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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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What’s another phrase for…pushed to the limits? going through great adversity?

i want to say “the protagonist of movie X goes through so much, i love movies where the protagonist is......” there’s a phrase that i had forgotten that was on the top of my tongue, no it’s not “...
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38 views

I am looking for an expression, idiom or proverb for a Hindi saying “ulta karobar” which literally means “turtled business” or “upside-down acts”

I am looking for an expression, idiom or proverb for a Hindi saying "ulta karobar" which literally means "turtled business" or "upside-down business" and relates to the disorderly handling of an issue ...
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30 views

What is idiom suiting the statement “the office boy has more importance than the manager”

What is idiom, expression or proverb suiting the statement "the office boy/office peon has more importance than the manager, so you have to bend before them" As in it is far more important to be in ...
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1answer
48 views

difficult nautical dialect

In the short story "The Last Cruise of the Judas Iscariot", by Edward Page Mitchel, Captain Cram, a sailor of Main, who builds a schooner with three masts to be frowned upon by the people of the town ...
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3answers
374 views

responsible as to her keel

In the short story, The Last Cruise of the Judas Iscariot by Edward Page Mitchel, which tells the story of Captain Cram, a sailor in Main, who builds a schooner with three masts, which was considered ...
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1answer
60 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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28 views

Is “equal to none” a fixed phrase?

I encountered this as a phrase in Trent Hawkins is a skilled pilot and war veteran, whose piloting skill are equal to none and it seems a bit strange. Is this an actual phrase or has the author of ...
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33 views

“sink my jig” in nautical dialect

In a short story by Edward Page Mitchel entitled The Last Cruise of the Judas Iscariot, captain Cram, a sailor from Main, tells the story of him building a schooner with three masts, which was frowned ...
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0answers
8 views

Is the phrase “a problem or a symptom” ambiguous?

I'm reviewing a (formal/scientific) document written by a colleague. One of the sections is titled Is [issue] a problem or a symptom? where [issue] is the phenomenon we are analysing. I'm not ...
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1answer
27 views

knocked clean out

In a short story entitled The Last Cruise of the Judas Iscariot by Edward Page Mitchel, Captain Cram, a sailor in Main, builds a schooner with three masts, which is considred by the town's people as a ...
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22 views

What is the idiom, proverb for “Little problems often become big problems if no one takes the initiative to correct them”

What is the idiom, proverb for "Little problems often become big problems if no one takes the initiative to correct them" Which means in an example that If the employees don’t bother to report a ...
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46 views

What does “a solid 8” mean?

I encountered with a sentence, "Last night when I went out with my dad, some lady was trying to tell him, "you should be confident, you're a solid 8." I'm wondering what does "you're a solid 8" mean? ...
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34 views

Is there an idiom about not listening? Or about being rude?

We have a foreign boss, he isn't very receptive if we broach subjects with him about his mannerisms. However he has been very interested in learning different colloquialisms or idioms. We have been ...
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What is the idiom, expression or proverb for 'If you let them use you once they will use you for life'?

What is the idiom, expression or proverb for If you bend once, they will bend you for life. In Indian culture in marathi language, we have a saying "Jithe oli/mau mathi, tithe atti" which ...
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1answer
43 views

Can a noun can be used as a verb for an idiom?

Is there really an idiom called "don't playground with us" which is similar to don't mess with us? I often found slang in movie/series that a noun can be used as verb also like "Let's chair him up" or ...
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2answers
64 views

What are alternatives or metaphors for the idiom of discovering a “gold mine”?

The context I am writing in is along the lines of: When we can identify and appreciate our emotions, we are able to carefully engage both emotion and cognition in the decision making process which ...
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123 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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4answers
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Idiom, proverb for “the closer the more expensive it is and the farther the cheaper it will be”

What is the idiom or proverb for what John is saying in the dialog below : Jim: The neighborhood garage estimated 200$ for the car's AC repair, so I went to the garage market's locality and found ...
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1answer
41 views

Is there any appropriate idiom for the expression “ its proved” or “ its established”? [closed]

Is there any appropriate idiom for the expression " its proved" or " its established" ? For example, its proved and established he's not a good person.
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1answer
50 views

Terminology for turning an idiom's meaning around

Just recently, I used the idiom comparing apples and oranges in an argument with someone when they compared two vastly different mathematical fields and claimed that, because deep learning neural ...
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What is the idiom for the situation “If people-in-authority don't follow their own set rules then what can one expect from rest of us” [closed]

What is the idiom for a situation that "If people-in-authority don't follow their own set rules, then what can one expect from rest of us" in similar examples given below in different settings: When ...
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27 views

Insights into the development of slang, idioms and metaphors that are used by particular social groups which then become used in mainstream language

I am looking for your insights, but also any studies you've come across into why and how social groups use particular terms, and how those terms then can become used by others outside of the original ...
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2answers
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An idiom describing the end of argument?

If some people arguing about something, a common rumor, for example which is not yet confirmed. But when the concerned party had said its word and ends the argument forever, and people stopped arguing ...
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Idiom for meeting one's match

I'm translating a comic book, and I got stumped on a certain idiom, not sure what I could use in its place in the English translation. The Polish "Trafiła kosa na kamień" (lit: the scythe hit a rock)...
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In the phrase “the scales have fallen from my eyes” why did they use the word “scales”?

It's an odd word there. I've never thought that I had "scales" on my eyes when I couldn't see. Why didn't they use something like "darkness" or "clouds"? When I think of scales I think of Lady ...
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34 views

Is this correct - “They'd very well not done it at all”?

Is this a correct tense of the idiom may very well? Can someone give me a breakdown of why this is correct grammar? It sounds right to me but I can't find any usage to check. (If this is totally ...
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79 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
56 views

Idiom for something that appears innocuous but is actually deadly [closed]

I'm looking for an idiom that describes a completely veiled threat, like when someone says something that seems perfectly polite, but a person who is familiar with the situation would know that what ...
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1answer
122 views

Can the facts literally speak for themselves? [closed]

Can the facts literally speak for themselves, or is that phrase figurative? I'm unsure, because I'm not sure whether 'speak' or 'speak for' always involves speech. In the OED entry for 'speak' (...
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1answer
47 views

Idiom “not shot in the head” to indicate a lack of enthusiasm?

Background: Native English speaker here. I grew up in India, but have lived most of my life in the United States. My fellow Americans often comment upon "Britishisms" in my usage. For example, I tend ...
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Can 'fair enough' be used in the literal sense? [migrated]

I checked similar questions regarding 'fair enough' phrase, it appears that the most frequently used meaning is an agreement with possible reluctance, this corresponds to my understanding of it. In ...
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“Monkey up” to mean bungle or mess something up

On Fox News I saw a segment where gubernatorial candidate for Florida was talking about mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, running for governor. In it he says: "Let's build off the success we've ...
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Idioms similar to “dig your own grave”

I'm looking for an idiom or phrase similar to "dig your own grave" It's for this scenario: Person 1 made a comment and is now attempting to explain it/talk themselves out of an awkward situation, ...
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Origin of “rank hath its privileges”

It's often seen with "has," but the frequent appearance of "hath" suggests the saying may be much, much older. Early Modern English always suggests Shakespeare to me, but my Google-fu hath failed me ...
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65 views

Is there an English equivalent to this French idiom : “Brasser du vent”? [closed]

This idiom means "Talking a lot without significant results". I was wondering if there was a specific idiom to say this. So far, I have found nothing but "hot air merchant".
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Look past shoulder

A friend’s coworker invited him to lunch via email and in the email he also wrote the below. if no, please look past my shoulder when you see me next time What does the “look past shoulder” mean? ...
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1answer
34 views

Idiom gone wrong [closed]

In English there's the term "dream on" , the on here gives the idea of continuing , if I wanted to use on with pass would it mean passing exams continuously? or it just simply means passing out? what ...
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“On the network” or “In the network”

The app obtains a list of devices "on the network" or "in the network". I imagine a network as a 3D structure, so it seems that "in the network" might be more appropriate here. However, I cannot be ...
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What does the idiom “funny as hell” mean? [closed]

I really don't understand this idiom, hell is supposed to be a horrible place. I understand the saying which is present in dictionaries “hot as hell”, but I could not find “funny as hell” in any ...
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2answers
27 views

Sentence /idiom describing overmarketing a product which is of little value [closed]

How do you describe something which has value but little value but exaggerating that it the best and solves all major problems,someone is overdoing/overmarketing his product
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2answers
50 views

Slang for impossible [closed]

What kind of slang word or you can say idiom can I use for something that is impossible. Like we use cherry on the top... Something like that Here the sentence is "His parents never loved each ...
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3answers
63 views

“that threshold is vast”

I've encountered this expression in DBZ Abridged, and I haven't encountered it anywhere else, save for occasional use on some forums. The context is the following: "For God's sake, I bet even your ...
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1answer
58 views

“Later, Magellan became involved in an insular conflict in the Philippines” What does “Insular” mean here?

"Later, Magellan became involved in an insular conflict in the Philippines" What does "Insular" mean here? As far as Cambridge Dictionary is concerned, Insular means: "interested only in ...
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2answers
102 views

What does “take dead aim” mean? Does “dead” do anything? [closed]

I've heard this term, to take dead aim at something. Does the "dead" in this expression do anything? I remember hearing the expression "I'll do my level best" and was quite sure leaving "level" out ...
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897 views

Is there a less pejorative term than “woolgathering” to label purposeful thought that ranges a narrow gamut

When I am writing (usually to give a lecture) I tend to gather data or quotes or other bits into a notebook without knowing in advance whether I am going to use that material. It can range quite ...
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Usage problem: to the comfort

Is "to the comfort" correct phrase ? I read it in a newspaper article. The sentence is: Which self-respecting PM would tolerate this to the comfort of his PM's post ?
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63 views

Non-metaphoric term for “selling snake oil” [closed]

Is there a single verb that denotes promoting or proselytizing an idea to a victim who stands to lose in some way if fallen prey to it? Other than "politics"... An idiomatic or metaphoric expression ...
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50 views

Can I use “replace someone with someone or something else”?

Suppose you're talking to someone (or you're doing something with someone). You're quite passionate about the conversation or, in general, the situation. Say, at a certain point, the phone of the ...
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Why is the phrase “cake walk” informally used to describe an easy to achieve task, while its origin says a different story?

From Oxford Dictionaries Online: cakewalk ˈkeɪkwɔːk/ noun 1. (informal) an absurdly or surprisingly easy task. "winning the league won't be a cakewalk for them" 2. historical a ...
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“I want to look better in the eyes of my classmates.” Is this good English? [closed]

The goal is to express my wish to be more acceptable and/or respected by my classmates. Is I want to look better in the eyes of my classmates the right way to put it?