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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1answer
20 views

Looking for the right word to express my “skin in game” when talking about someone else

For everyone who has a loved one in the fight, prayers are going out for each and everyone! Lord, keep them ALL safe and bring them home! This man is my __________ in the fight.
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1answer
91 views

Rest on your skills?

Is it possible to say "He doesn't rest on his skills", similar to "Rests on his laurels"? The meaning of that phrase (presumably) is that someone is constantly learning and doesn't let himself be ...
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1answer
25 views

“For all that” as subordinating conjunction?

In the sentence, “For all that they complain, they do nothing,” is the phrase “for all that” a subordinating conjunction akin to “notwithstanding”? Also, can “that” be omitted with no loss in meaning ...
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2answers
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An idiom for “knowing what makes the other person mad and acting that way”

It's been a while since I finished university so my memory's deteriorated a bit. English's not my first language so I need some help over here. I was trying my hardest to remember the idiom used in ...
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4answers
85 views

Idiom for reciprocate a favour

What's an idiom for the idea that if you do something good for someone you will get the favour back, like a reciprocal favour? An edit after several answers were already given follows. For example, ...
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2answers
47 views

Newspapers or the newspapers?

1a) The news is all over the newspapers around the world. 1b) The news is all over newspapers* around the world. Why exactly do we use the even though it is not specifying some newspapers? I have ...
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1answer
47 views

Is “cleared away” the right term to use in this sentence?

I am posting a photograph of the sky after the super-cyclone Amphani cleared away in Kolkata. Is cleared away the right phrase to use? (For a natural calamity) This is the text that I wrote in the ...
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7answers
4k views

Spoken word equivalent for “paper does not refuse ink”

This phrase advises a healthy skepticism of the written word. Is there a similar idiom that advises skepticism of the spoken word?
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1answer
47 views

Idiom about forgetting about someone/something

Someone provides something that only caters to half the group - what's an idiom for what he did to the other half by forgetting about them? Let them go to the dogs? Something like that...
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3answers
66 views

Idiom/proverb: if you keep calling someone a mouse, they might start thinking they're a mouse

I know there is a similar idiom in English and in other languages like Chinese languages, but I can't remember the exact idiom. It's something like "if you keep calling an elephant a mouse, it might ...
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4answers
168 views

English equivalent to the Swedish idiom “A dear child has many names”

In Sweden we have a saying that — literally translated — corresponds to “A dear child has many names” (“Kärt barn har många namn”). The meaning is pretty straightforward: popular things can have a ...
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3answers
107 views

Alternatives to “simpler is better”?

I've been thinking about idioms, metaphors, and phrases one could use in a conversation to convey the idea that simpler is better. I came up with a few: "Don't scratch your left ear with your right ...
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0answers
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Why Are Baseball Metaphors Popular for Corporate Jargon?

Why are sports metaphors (football, baseball) so popular in western corporate cultures? I find that sports metaphors are frequently used as popular jargon there. It seems like they're less used in ...
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3answers
62 views

Another phrase for “unsung hero”?

I'm sure there must be another phrase but I just can't seem to find it. I'm not looking for a word to replace "unsung", I prefer a completely new phrase/idiom that expresses the same meaning. Thank ...
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1answer
156 views

What's the origin of the phrase “bubble gum and shoe strings”

I'm not entirely sure if the idiom should be "bubble gum and shoe strings" or "bubble gum and matchsticks"; however from the context it looks like it refers to a cheaply done repair job, which may be ...
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1answer
38 views

Trying to differentiate hyperboles and idioms

I'm having a hard time differentiating between hyperboles and idioms. The sentence I have is calling someone a "dating app unicorn" because they know how to carry on a conversation. Would that be an ...
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2answers
100 views

What would you call a person who is adored because of their flaws, not despite them?

Nietzsche wrote the following: The great man of the masses. -- The great man should have all the traits of the masses: the less ashamed they are before him the more popular he is. Therefore: let ...
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3answers
2k views

English alternative of 'hungry of eyes'

Is there an English alternative of urdu idiom آنکھوں کا بھوکا which translates to hungry of eyes? We use that idiom to mean that someone takes more food but can't eat it and is greedy Example: ...
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11answers
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Word or idiom for 'when someone does something according to the regulation'

What's the word or idiom or expression for when someone does an activity or job according to regulations of the institute or situation. Example: He won the match {abiding by or according to the rules}...
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2answers
54 views

What is a friendlier way to write “at the * preference” and “at the * convenience”?

What is a friendlier (and correct) way to write the following? at the family's preference (at the family preference) at the citizens’ convenience (at the citizens convenience)
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0answers
35 views

Meaning of “they write themselves out”?

It occurs regularly in Devils by Dostoevsky: 1. These talented gentlemen of the middling sort in the decline of their venerable years usually write themselves out in the most pitiful way [...]. 2....
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1answer
131 views

What influenced people to start using “I'm good” in answer to “How are you?” and in other contexts?

There are many posts on this site about the appropriate responses to the question "How are you?" and there are many different opinions about which responses should be used. My intention is not to ...
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0answers
81 views

“Fools that they are”

I have a question about the interposition “fools that they are” in the following: “Fools that they are, they never knew thy guiltless pride, thy true spirit.” Using Google’s Ngram Viewer, I found ...
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“It's not a lottery ticket I'd like to buy.” - idiom or metaphor?

Is "It's not a lottery ticket I'd like to buy" an example of an idiom or a metaphor in this extract? Or could it be something different altogether? Context: Despite the chance that people may be ...
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0answers
32 views

What obstructs “line of sight”?

Line of sight is "a straight line along which an observer has unobstructed vision." But what constitutes "obstruction"? If there is heavy fog or it's night time, does that mean an observer does not ...
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1answer
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Meaning of “Painting the old world red” in Canterville Ghost

I was reading Wilde's written The Canterville Ghost, when I came across this idiom. This is a little excerpt from the text: "My Lord," answered the Minister, "I will take the furniture and the ...
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1answer
56 views

Idiom for ruining my life to save your own?

Long story short, I'm writing a grievance to my work. I want it to be quite emotive. In short, they cut my pay to save the company, even though, with less pay, that might put me and my life in ...
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2answers
40 views

Is there an idiomatic way to say that it took a lot of time and effort for someone to do something? [duplicate]

Is there an idiomatic way to say that it took a lot of time and effort for someone to do something? Example: you ask someone a question to which they are reluctant to give an answer, but eventually, ...
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3answers
74 views

Is there an expression that describes looking for something that probably isn't there, or looking in unlikely places for a solution [duplicate]

I am looking for an idiom or phrase that describes, in a humorous or funny way, the act of looking for something that probably isnt't there, or the act of looking for a solution in a place where it is ...
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0answers
36 views

Idiom for money disappearing quickly

Without self-control and discipline, it's a good bet your initial capital melts like snow in the sun. That idiom is French in origin; what's an English equivalent of money melting away, or dwindling ...
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2answers
69 views

What’s phrase that people use to eat as much as you want? [closed]

I love expressions and phrases. But I was wondering and I could recall that when parents have their children eat, there are those who force the food down their throats and those who let them eat as ...
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2answers
57 views

Any idiom or phrase for “refusing to admit one's mistake or one's own lack of knowledge, abilities or achievements”?

Is there any idiom or phrase for "refusing to admit one's mistake or one's own lack of knowledge, abilities or achievements"? For example, You ask your friend a simple question, but he doesn't have a ...
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1answer
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Is it natural sounding to use “passing through filters” figuratively? And if not, would you please suggest something that has the same meaning?

If we want to say a particular company is very selective about the employees they choose, can we use the following sentence: "Employees must pass (OR be passed!?) through a lot of filters to be ...
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2answers
57 views

Shoot first, ask questions later - Semicolon or comma

In the idiom "shoot first, ask questions later", should the clauses be separated by a comma or semicolon? There are many derivations from that idiom to the point at which it has become a trope, but I'...
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0answers
36 views

Recommended TV shows/ books to improve oral english( slangs, popular internet phrases, etc)

I want to learn some popular words/slangs that people nowadays say. What are some recommended books/ TV shows for me to watch? Sometimes it's hard to understand people's humors and catch the points.
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“Set in stone in 1979…” or “Carved in stone in 1979” at beginning of sentence?

If I start a sentence with "Set in stone in 1979, the government ban on so-and-so..." or "Carved in stone in 1979, the government ban on so-and-so...", are both of these examples correct in grammar? ...
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0answers
46 views

“For all those playing at home” - origin of the idiom?

I've been wondering where this idiom comes from and what the original meaning is. My guess is it comes from a radio or television broadcast of some kind of a game, but I haven't been able to confirm ...
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0answers
27 views

What does „stocks of things, recent stuff” mean?

My friend has a problem with the phrase in the title. We’re both non-natives of English and despite my advanced level I’ve never seen such a phrase. It was said by a bilingual child while telling ...
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0answers
24 views

What is word for “complaining without fully understanding”? [duplicate]

I have a situation of a co-worker who keeps complaining about process without having a deep/fully understanding of existing processes, some of things he complains already exist and some don't but ...
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2answers
57 views

Idiom for getting richer

In French there's a saying mettre un peu de beurre dans les épinards which, literally translated, means to put some butter in the spinach. It's an idiom that describes money improving one's situation. ...
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0answers
33 views

Idioms or phrases to mean that a person has an enormous influence in a country or an organization?

I came across some words and phrases like "clout", " a person of stature/standing" or "gravitas" and I wonder if there are more. Also, there's a saying in my country that goes like "He can shield the ...
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2answers
40 views

“Happy to” vs “happy for”

What should I say to wish someone a happy Easter ?? 1- Happy Easter to you and your beloved ones. 2 - Happy Easter for you and your beloved ones.
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Prepositions in a context

What is difference exactly between the following two sentences: (using "to" vs "for") 1- It is rare for a family to be one and done. 2- It is rare to a family to be one and done.
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66 views

What is the meaning of “Eagle cries”?

So I'm listening to this song by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes called "Up Where We Belong". There is a verse: Love lift us up where we belong, Where the eagles cry, On a mountain high I ...
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1answer
54 views

Is there a fresher and more original way of saying ' Cut the cackle and come to the horses?'

You sometimes find - or I do -that discussions about politically charged issues become focused into one particular aspect that becomes a weaponised media narrative that then sways popular opinion, ...
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1answer
53 views

Expression for telling someone when you're sad

Is there an idiom to mean something like when you're sad or worried and you tell someone about it. What's it called? Example: I am sad and I tell my friend about it. What did I do? Thanks in ...
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2answers
66 views

Is there a word for somone who constantly speaks their mind? [duplicate]

In this pandemic there are a lot of people who are speaking their mind without restraint. So, I was thinking about what phrase would describe that. I felt it had to do with like “open spout" or "...
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1answer
35 views

Using of “at the turn of” with words other than “century” or “year” (or similar)

I have doubts regarding the use of "at the turn of". I know that I can say "at the turn of the XX century" to point out a period in between the XIX and the XX century (straddling the two centuries). ...
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2answers
64 views

Is there an expression or idiom which corresponds to changing one's mind very often?

Ironically, what motivated my question was a French-language textbook. In French, there is an expression "changer d'avis comme de chemise" which would translate to "changing one's mind as often as one'...
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0answers
33 views

Something is“ a few feet away mind you”

I was watching a Youtube video then I heard this expression ". . . that he, from a few feet away mind you," googled it and I figured out it is quite common. What exactly does it mean?

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