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
28 views

A company's most important person in a specific task

Please suppose that the following image is a company including all of its staff, supporters, leaders and key members where the bowman and the bow and the arrow are the whole company including all the ...
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1answer
21 views

Idiom for something that can not be defined, such as job satisfaction

What could be the idioms used for saying something that can not be defined, such as job satisfaction.
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1answer
49 views

Using the preposition For to indicate a purpose

I am curious to know if the usage of "for" in the sentence below is grammatical? The reason why “socioeconomical understanding” is chosen as the umbrella section is for it to mediate the ...
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4answers
2k views

Where did “a racist bone in [one's] body” and “a mean bone in [one's] body” come from?

A recent tweet by the U.S. president includes this assurance: I don't have a Racist bone in my body! A blog post by David Graham, "The One Color the White House Sees Clearly" at The Atlantic ...
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0answers
21 views

What's another way to say, “by us following”? [closed]

What's another way to say: "By us following our standards..."?
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1answer
44 views

To get someone on…?

I'm Japanese student learning English. In this tweet(https://twitter.com/HoopDistrictDC/status/1149523950587662336), it says "Rui been on the team for like two weeks and he already got us on!" What ...
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1answer
86 views

Why do people say “no offense” when starting a sentence?

English is my second language and I mainly learn it from shows like modern family and the bigbang theory. I know what “no offense” means, but I don’t think I fully understand its usage. I’ve seen ...
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2answers
118 views

Where did Shakespeare get milk of human kindness from?

In Shakespeare's 1606 play "Macbeth" the titular character is filled with ambition to become king. His wife, Lady Macbeth, says to him: Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o' the milk of human ...
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0answers
158 views

What are some tricks to determine whether a text chat partner is a native speaker? [closed]

Update: My question is a request for idiomatic expressions satisfying certain well-defined criteria, but I am not asking for an exhaustive list; I only want some good examples. A response with 1-3 ...
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0answers
23 views

Idiom for “Moses coming down from Sinai” or “Ivory Tower Committee”?

Maybe there isn't one, but ... I thought there was an idiom like ... A person, or team, "thinking really hard" or looking inward ---- taking no feedback or actual awareness --- and "coming down from ...
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9answers
12k views

Why are they 'nude photos'? [duplicate]

Recent news events in the US have resulted in many headlines about "nude photos of young women" and variations. Obviously it's the women who are nude, not the photos, so why does this phrasing ...
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3answers
116 views

Those who speak do not know, those who know do not speak

We have this idiom-like saying in Turkish. The idea is that there are certain things, topics, etc., if one talks about it, it strongly suggests that he has no idea what he is talking about, else he ...
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2answers
43 views

First use of phrase, “That’s not going to fly.”

Would anyone one be able to ferret out the first-known use of the phrase or idiom, “That’s not going to fly”? Thank you.
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1answer
24 views

To collect someone or to pick someone - UK English

What would a receptionist say to someone having an appointment: "Please, take a seat; someone from company ABC is on the way to collect (?) you". What is more more idiomatic in a formal UK English: ...
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1answer
44 views

Please parse the phrase “time is of the essence”

Working many years in the legal field, I've seen the phrase, "time is of the essence," many times; I fully understand its meaning. What has always bothered me, though, is that the phrase doesn't seem ...
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0answers
75 views

So I damned him suitably, not seeing why a Sikh should put on airs with me

I asked Tom what he would do in the circumstances. “That will be a simple matter,” he answered. So I damned him suitably, not seeing why a Sikh should put on airs with me. “Any ignorant fool can say a ...
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3answers
85 views

What's the meaning of “there's no stinkin' way” in this paragraph?

When I started explaining the project’s work scope to people in the school, I learned quickly that most believed the technology classes would be my biggest challenge. One special education teacher’s ...
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1answer
36 views

To have your blinkers on

On the eve of England India World Cup cricket match on 30.6.2019, Jos Buttler said "The mood in the camp is still very good. Naturally there is some external pressure and it would be naive to say we ...
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16 views

Alternatives for “paint oneself into a corner” [duplicate]

The evidence the unbelievers are looking for must be in the form of a miracle. And that is where they paint themselves into a corner. They have unshakable faith that everything must have a ...
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0answers
15 views

an idiom “buzzing head/ head is buzzing”

Buzzing head/ head is buzzing. Can I use this idiom to describe a form of headache accompanied by a humming sound? Is it mostly used to depict a state of confusion when the head is full of thoughts? ...
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1answer
35 views

“Giving you with style or in style” meaning and usage idiom

I am doing fashion online shopping. I am selling branded products to my customers. In my shopping page, I want to show logo short word. What I want to show is I want to give my customer with style. So ...
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1answer
47 views

The Cliché of Using the Phrase “[Subject], and You” in Article Titles

I've noticed articles or news stories often use the phrase "[Subject], and You" in titles. I assume the intention here is creating a personal connection with the readers regarding a topic. For ...
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2answers
58 views

English equivalent of the Hindi saying “Dusre par bill fadna”, meaning “putting on others what YOU want”

What is the English equivalent of the Hindi saying "Dusre par bill fadna"? The meaning of the Hindi saying is stating a request as though it is others who want it when in fact it is you who want it ...
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1answer
33 views

Beyond reproach - alternative expressions

What are some alternative, diplomatic ways to say "beyond reproach", "above question", "of the path that is ethically spotless/sound and cannot be challenged". I was thinking, "unquestionable", but ...
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3answers
73 views

“wore at” vs “wore out”

Is the use of "wore at" vs "wore out" the same? Few Google examples: "She was tired of apologizing for the intractability of the land, its people, for the distances that wore at him, the endless ...
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1answer
62 views

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but with a more negative connotation [duplicate]

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It means: what matters is what something is, not what it's called. I feel like this phrase has a very positive ...
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10 views

What is the term to describe the state that I always experience, the rhythm of a song repeating in my head? [duplicate]

I usually obsess a song for a long time cause of its rhythm. I hear a song for weeks. Even when I'm on the road, its rhythm continues to play in my imagination. So what is the word or expression to ...
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1answer
115 views

What does it mean “to queer the pudding”?

In today's Observer, columnist Jonathan Bouquet mentions Jon Snow on Channel 4 News while interviewing Jacob Rees Mogg, having used the expression to queer the pudding. Bouquet refers to it as a "new ...
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1answer
24 views

Using 'a dime a dozen' in the 'so…that' construction

This Forbes article titled "There Are 6 'Strongest Materials' On Earth That Are Harder Than Diamonds" has this paragraph: The quest to make materials harder, stronger, more scratch-resistant, ...
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1answer
48 views

the meaning of the expression “on the eye”

Can someone tell me what this expression means? "on the eye" It accounts for the scene I witnessed in the barracks: after a particularly tasteless dinner, which was left uneaten by most of the ...
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2answers
196 views

Ruining the family name [closed]

Is the following correct usage? "They didn't want me to ruin the family name. " What are some other idiomatic expressions or phrases to say something similar? I am aware of "give a bad name" and "one'...
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1answer
101 views

“Tell and sell” idiom

Recently I was asked to evaluate my manager's work. One of the questions was whether he is a "tell and sell" person (I don't remember the exact phrase however). I'm not sure what this idiom means (or ...
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1answer
85 views

An idiom meaning “a good horse is called a sorrel, a good young man is called fearless/crazy/bold”

Is there any idiom in English similar to Horse as boy, (brave) man as kook (are best). in which boy means sorrel. The latter is obvious. It is my translation(maybe it is wrong) to describe the ...
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2answers
70 views

Where is the saying “A for away” from?

I have recently picked up the saying "A for away" (meaning, we are good to go/ready to go). I am English but live in South Africa and watch American TV, so I have no idea where this saying is from. Is ...
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1answer
45 views

How to translate “for *cough* decades”?

I came across a sentence in a comment in Stack Exchange Workplace which I can not translate: have been freelance for *cough* decades Can anyone help me? Here is the link to original post - see ...
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0answers
79 views

I have problems with some Irish slang

I am translating a text set in Ireland and there are some Irish phrases that I do not understand. 1- Bartley Butt-end-of-the-village: I could only find one reference in the internet. Does this mean a ...
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0answers
30 views

Word for participating in solving a puzzle?

Is there a word or short phrase for collaboratively solving a puzzle, or to describe the individual's role in that collaboration? Looking for something specific to solving something, ideally puzzles, ...
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1answer
51 views

Origin of “a hangdog expression of early morning”

J. K. Rowling says this about early morning commuters: "Muggles bustled past wearing the hangdog expressions of early morning". While I do understand the meaning of the idiom (the same as 'morgensur' ...
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2answers
33 views

Is the phrase “fitting (someone) in (to a schedule)” alright to use or is there a better way to say this?

fit (someone) in (to a schedule) Is this phrase useful for scheduling meetings and appointments. When you're talking to someone with a busy schedule, you may have to ask them to "fit you in". "...
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1answer
61 views

A similar English proverb to Hindi/Urdu [duplicate]

We all have heard this proverb in Urdu and Hindi धोबी का कुत्ता न घर का न घाट का Literal translation The dog of the washerman belongs to neither the riverbank nor the house An alternative: ...
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0answers
35 views

“Call” as a noun that is not for naming or ringing up

Although I now know the meaning of "call" in these examples: You need to make a judgement call Not this time sorry, though it was a close call What do we do now? Your call — they were quite ...
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5answers
121 views

Polite form of “red herring” or a word or phrase meaning unintentional distraction

In another life I posted a comment calling someone's answer a "red herring" because I felt that it was distracting from the true problem: D3 is a red herring here. Your solution works because you ...
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1answer
31 views

Idiom or expression for no-one wants to help do a task, but everyone is ready to criticise after the task is completed

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that means "no-one wants to help do a task, but everyone is ready to criticise after the task is completed" There are plenty of expressions that capture the ...
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1answer
71 views

Grammatical/Semantic basis for the phrase “what with”

Example: We are changing all the vehicles in the fleet, what with the new regulations and all... How did that what sneak in there? What is it doing?
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5answers
135 views

Word or a short phrase to describe a person who is socially responsible

I’m looking for a single catchy word or a short phrase to describe a person who is socially responsible. The “responsibility” meaning seems to be too official and not catchy enough. I’m looking for a ...
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3answers
59 views

Idiom/phrase for “example picked purposefully”

For example, when one is talking about a chemistry equation and they use values one wouldn't see in real life to illustrate a point better, or give a specific example that requires extra steps that ...
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10answers
4k views

The deliberate use of misleading terminology [duplicate]

Is there a word or phrase which describes "choice of misleading words", or the negation: "choice of non-misleading words"? The nearest phrases I can think of are linguistic deception, or controlled ...
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1answer
56 views

Is there a more modern version of the idiom “as the crow flies”?

"As the crow flies" or "as the bird flies" means the most direct path between two points, not accounting for streets and obstacles one on the ground would have to account for. The idiom feels dated. ...
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1answer
32 views

Turn and Talk Meaning [closed]

What is the idiomatic meaning of turn and talk? For example: I turn and talk like a man leaving charges before a journey.
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2answers
69 views

Why does the word “shop” behave like a non-count noun in phrases like “set up shop”?

The word "shop" seems to behave like a non-count noun in phrases like "set up shop", "shut up shop" and "close up shop". There's no article ("a"), no plural ending ("-s"). Dictionaries, such as Oxford ...