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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4 votes
5 answers
687 views

Is there any difference between the idioms "pull the rug from under" and "leave in the lurch"?

Is there any distinction between "pull from under the rug" and "leave in the lurch"? What separates them? I've scoured some online dictionaries, but I fail to see the difference. ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
17 views

Words and expressions request for order

My mom bought home some fruit last week and before we are able to finish them all she got some more today so she told me, translated to English from my first language, that I should eat the fruit that ...
user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
14 views

Is it okay to say "I need to explain why I got the results I did"? [closed]

I feel like I've heard something like it but I'm not sure if it's correct English
user avatar
  • 9
-1 votes
0 answers
25 views

What is the meaning of "unto itself"? [duplicate]

I've been scrolling through Quora.com to find posts that would make it easier for me to understand the sum and substance of the stock phrase "unto itself" but there aren't a great deal of ...
user avatar
2 votes
7 answers
3k views

What does the idiomatic phrase "err on the side of" mean?

I've looked through several online dictionaries to ferret out the meaning of "err on the side of" ("err on the side of", what I mean is I'm more concerned with the underlying ...
user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
40 views

What is the idiomatic translation of the russian phrase "дело ясное что дело темное"?

The literal translation is "it is clear that the case is dark", however, this translation does not do any good to the original. The word "дело" appears twice in the phrase, but it ...
user avatar
  • 367
2 votes
1 answer
35 views

Does "dodging a silver bullet" convey the meaning [closed]

Assuming a dialogue like this - (Bob) How is the meeting going? - (Alice) Dodging a silver bullet. The idea that Alice is trying to express is that the customer is looking for a metaphorical "...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
102 views

What is the definition of the phrase "unto itself"?

I've looked through several online dictionaries to discover the meaning of the phrase "unto itself" ("unto itself" in the sense of the phrase having no qualifying objects, people, ...
user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
120 views

Idiom for gift or gesture that isn't good enough

I'm looking for a term used when a gift/gesture/allowance of some sort isn't anywhere near good enough, and was done largely for the sake of appearance. Often used in a political context. For example,...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
40 views

I need an idiom that means "be cool"/relax

I just need something that connotes calming down from an exaggerated state. The next line afterwards is "I am cool" so I don't want the preceding line to be "be cool" but I want to ...
user avatar
  • 19
-1 votes
0 answers
35 views

Acting mature without being mature

One of my characters is a woman in her late twenties who is emotionally immature and has little life experience, but tries to act more mature than she is. Is there a word/expression/idiom to describe ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

Expression for telling someone to do something despite you not doing it yourself? [closed]

What are other idioms and expressions similar to the pot calling the kettle black?
user avatar
  • 19
1 vote
2 answers
60 views

What is the meaning of "He scowled ahead of him"?

Reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, I just found the expression “He scowled ahead of him” and it struck me as something I'd never heard or read before. The context is that this guy is sitting ...
user avatar
  • 153
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

Closest equivalent of "bless you" for coughing [closed]

There is no English equivalent of "bless you" for coughing. Some friends and I would like to use a phrase for "bless you" for coughing amongst ourselves. What would an appropriate ...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
74 views

English equivalent for the Chinese idiom 执迷不悟, to obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way [duplicate]

This means something along the lines of: To obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way. This could be translated as just being stubborn but I don't think that's as poetic. Is there a ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
44 views

Fit verb followed by in preposition

I have a question regarding the usage of the verb "fit", especially when followed by the preposition "in". Now I am aware that there is a "fit in" (as in to become ...
user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
3k views

What does "Chop chop man bun" mean?

I was watching Haikyuu dub episodes and in one episode, the coach tells Asahi (one of the players): "Chop chop man bun". What does this sentence mean? I understand the "man bun" ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
110 views

Is "cold minded" a phrase that would be readily understood?

Will it be correct to say "a cold minded person" when describing someone who acts out of pure logic and critical analysis? How would you interpret the meaning of such a description? Is it at ...
user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
89 views

Idiom for a person who gets involved in a situation that is completely irrelevant to them?

I am looking for an idiom which can be used in the following scenarios: To refer to a person who is involved in a discussion that does not concern him/her To refer to a person who goes somewhere they ...
user avatar
  • 1,438
-1 votes
1 answer
60 views

What is the meaning of "sweep overhead"?

Here again the formal-logical overstraining of a relative truth-factor leads to the theoretical and practical annihilation of the concept in question. For so rigid a formulation of responsibility is ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
553 views

What does "careabouts" mean?

What does "careabouts" mean? I saw it in a LinkedIn video regarding jobs, workplace, etc. I searched all dictionaries but got nothing! I even got nothing on Google! Like such a thing doesn't ...
user avatar
  • 59
1 vote
2 answers
51 views

How to refer to the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of someone who is deceased

I would like to translate an article title whose meaning is something along the lines: In Honor of XY on the Occasion of His Birthday/ A Tribute to XY on the Occasion of His 50th Birthday which he ...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
78 views

"Last stretch" referring to several events?

Are you ready for the last stretch (of exams)? Can you use "last stretch" to refer to one final exam? I think the last stretch is used to refer to several events upcoming, but not a single ...
user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
206 views

Does anyone know the expression "Aye Gannies" (or perhaps the spelling is "I gonees")

Growing up in the Missouri Ozarks we had a neighbor named Hicks who used this expression. One of Mr. Hick's frequent and unique expressions was, “I Gannies” (the “a” was short). The only other times ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
26 views

What's a phrase or idiom for when a person does a task already completed because they didn't know it was done? [duplicate]

Is there a phrase or idiom for "so we don't both do the same thing".
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
36 views

What's another way of saying "one step ahead"? [duplicate]

I'm looking for another way of saying "one step ahead". This phrase or idiom should be mainly used for describing someone that can think earlier than others, and can prepare in advance as ...
user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
63 views

What should I say instead of "you first"? [closed]

Are there any specific phrases for this situations below: When I am approaching to pickup something from a store shelf and somebody else is also doing same at the same time and I want to say: "...
user avatar
  • 111
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is Iroquoi the origin of American idiom “cuts no ice with me”?

In Patrick O'Brian's novel The Fortune of War, two of the characters are discussing American English and the following dialogue takes place: ‘Why, sure,’ said Evans, in his harsh nasal metallic bray, ...
user avatar
  • 319
23 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the origin of "playing into someone's hands"?

Quote: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” the US president said, as he urged democracies around the world to unite against the Russian president in a speech in Poland’s capital ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
40 views

Meaning of "stay way in droves" [closed]

What does "stay way in droves" mean in the context of this passage? I cannot find a suitable definition from Oxford. GARY: I would welcome any comments either you or other participants have ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does "a tall question" mean?

During a talk, I heard the expression "this is a tall question". May someone explain what does it mean?
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
83 views

Is there a phrase for a person who supports something which is bad for them and is held up as proof that the bad policy is good?

Is there a phrase which describes the situation in which a person supports something that is detrimental for them, and then held out as evidence that the detrimental policy is correct? For example: ...
user avatar
  • 19
0 votes
0 answers
33 views

What is the term for the 'bastardisation' of common phrases and idioms? [duplicate]

Recently, I have been analysing lyrics to songs. Frequently, the writer inverts and 'bastardises' common phrases and idioms to play off of the established meaning. I have been using the term '...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
63 views

English equivalent for the Aramaic idiom "eyes so jealous they cannot carry"

That isn't a literal translation, but it's essentially similar. When someone is jealous of you or your success and are resentful about it, in response we say "their eyes cannot carry"; Which ...
user avatar
  • 1,273
3 votes
2 answers
106 views

English equivalent for the Chinese idiom "to pass off fish eyes for pearls"

Are there any (general) English equivalent for the Chinese idiom 鱼目混珠 (to pass off fish eyes for pearls) which basically means to pretend something fake is real? IE: To try and pretend to be someone ...
user avatar
19 votes
9 answers
4k views

What is the English idiomatic equivalent to the Russian “бряцать регалиями” (to “rattle one’s medals”)?

The expression contains two words: бряцать – to rattle регалиями – stems from regalia, but more like medals here The figurative meaning is to show off one’s life experience. I.e., in an argument, ...
user avatar
  • 367
-1 votes
1 answer
42 views

Unidentified word or construction [closed]

There is a puzzling sequence of words in the following text (bold type). We live in a society in which money is needed to survive. Unfortunately, many people work in no-end jobs just to have some ...
user avatar
  • 13.1k
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

Reader, when did non-fiction writers start breaking the fourth wall? [closed]

Breaking the fourth wall is usually considered a theatrical concept, but Wikipedia notes that it can also occur in literature (ie. fiction). Use of the fourth wall in literature can be traced back as ...
user avatar
  • 505
0 votes
1 answer
42 views

A catchy way to say that someone "backed off from a deal"

I need to find an expression, idiom, or image to say: "They backed off from the deal before it even started."
user avatar
  • 1
1 vote
2 answers
81 views

At sixes and sevens

If things are in a mess, they're all "at sixes and sevens." Now, who says this in Britain? Would a working-class person say at sixes and sevens?
user avatar
  • 171
0 votes
0 answers
22 views

Clarification on double letters [duplicate]

Is it meeting your just “deserts” or “desserts”?
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

What idiom describes someone who is confident on the outside but not confident on the inside?

I am wondering what words are for this because I need to describe a person for a school essay and this is their personality.
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
69 views

A Constraint <VERB> a Certain Value

In the context of software programming, I am looking for a verb which expresses a certain relation. Using Merriam Webster online, I have not been able to find what I am looking for, due to lack of a ...
user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
68 views

Need a word or idiom or ecological term that describes vicious competition between humans or animals. Something like "reservoir dogs"

I need a phrase that describes an environmental condition or species' behavior that results in struggle for survival amongst groups or individuals. Or just a good idiom for competition. Basically just ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
114 views

Can the idiom "fall off the wagon" be said to be "chiefly American"?

I read an answer on another site which referred to the idiom of falling off the wagon as being "chiefly American". That got me curious since I would have thought that this particular idiom ...
user avatar
  • 20.7k
-1 votes
4 answers
83 views

What's a metaphor/idiom for when someone asks for help with a problem that you also have?

To elaborate, the implication is that you can't help them, because if you knew how to, you wouldn't be in the situation yourself. I could've sworn I heard there was already an established phrase for ...
user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
2 answers
56 views

Similar idioms to "beat me to it"?

I googled a bit but didn't find anything similar to it. Are there other similar idioms to "beat me to it"? For example I’ve often heard it’s used when someone does something first before you,...
user avatar
  • 358
0 votes
0 answers
19 views

Is there an idiom similar to 'closing the floodgates'? [duplicate]

I don't think 'closing the floodgates' is correct. Is there something similar. I want to express that it is too late to stop the massive flow. I know about "close​/​shut the barn/stable door ...
user avatar
  • 101
6 votes
2 answers
128 views

Idiom Where You Have Connections in the Government

I live in a corrupt country. There are some people who own establishments beside the road. They closed the whole public road so they can use it for their customers' parking. I'm finding an idiom on ...
user avatar
  • 163
0 votes
1 answer
36 views

"survey the landscape" idiomatic?

Can I use the phrase "to survey the landscape" when refering not to an actual outdoors scenery but to something more abstract? In this case, I want to express that I was researching ...
user avatar
  • 111

1
2 3 4 5
84