Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

All Questions

Tagged with
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
28
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
43 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Why do we use “in” in the phrase “in front of”?

I just realized I can't quite make out why we use the word "in." The meaning of front is generally a surface, a side - not a space you can be "in," so how did that happen? Is it an artifact of an ...
1
vote
2answers
61 views

“Beck and call” after “to be” only?

Can the phrase "at one's beck and call" only be used after "to be?" For example, I can definitely say "her daughter was at her beck and call," but I am unsure if I can use it adverbially i.e. "her ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

What' s the meaning of 'mole trap'?

sorry if my English is not good . in season 1-episode 3 of "killing Eve", there a conversation about a murder between Eve and Jin. Jin want to give something Secretly to Eve. Eve : What is that? ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Use of “Well…” instead of “What?” in response to being summoned [duplicate]

In the 1940s and 1950s, if Mother were to call for one, "Oh, Jamieeee?", one was to respond "Well, Mother..." and never "What, Mother...?", the latter being considered vulgar and ill-spoken. Locale ...
6
votes
2answers
986 views

“I hope she hangs the moon”

I am always on the watch out for new unfamiliar idioms, especially in American English, and today I found one “to hang the moon”. "And so she's now talked about a lot," McCaskill added. "I'm not ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Is it a must to add “that of” when using “different from”?

Is it ok to say "the flow structure of wave-driven flow is much different from single-direction flow" or must I say "the flow structure of wave-driven flow is much different from that of single-...
1
vote
1answer
321 views

Usage of the idiom “to set the Thames on fire”

I wonder whether the idiom "to set the Thames on fire" is currently in use and universally understood. Will it be correctly understood outside the United Kingdom? Would it be correct to say "to set ...
2
votes
1answer
101 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-...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

When should I use “Keep it civil”?

Here is where I first heard the slang: Champion for Democracy? - Woodrow Wilson Towards the end of the video, Neidell urges viewers to post their views about Wilson and says: "Please keep it civil!",...
0
votes
1answer
580 views

What does “surprise on the upside” mean?

There was a phrase, “surprise on the upside” with specific quotation marks in the Washington Post (June 9) article with a headline, “Trump says he’ll size up Kim Jong Un within the first minutes of ...
1
vote
1answer
421 views

Hit as “arrive at, come to, reach” (a place, limit etc)

Do you have any idea how "hit" came to mean reach or arrive at a point, place, or limit and the like? Oxford: reach (a particular level, point, or figure) : "his career hit rock bottom" arrive at ...
0
votes
1answer
197 views

Is there a difference in usage between the idioms “through the ringer” and “through the wringer”?

Is there any difference in usage between the idioms "through the ringer" and "through the wringer"? As I have found out they are pretty similar (for example here and here) but I have no idea when to ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

What does it mean when Nancy Pelosi criticizes the revised Republican Health-care plan as "doo-doo stuck to their shoe”?

Washington Examiner (April 27) carries an article titled “Pelosi: GOP will have 'doo-doo' on its shoes if Obamacare repeal," in which she argues; “I think President Trump is really making fools of ...
0
votes
1answer
888 views

Word or expression meaning giving value to something that apparently doesn't [closed]

I'm trying to find an expression that means seeing value in something (or someone) when no one else sees it. The idea I'm trying to put into words is the fact of challenging the defects of something ...
0
votes
2answers
401 views

Ordering at a restaurant and giving notice

Can ordering a meal at a restaurant be considered an act of 'giving notice'? Some people (I am not sure whether it should be a majority) find the following sentence unacceptable: The waiter ...
-1
votes
1answer
587 views

Usage of 'get going'?

I would like to know more about the idiom "to get going" especially in the meaning "to depart", I mostly use it to mean "get started" but I've heard that it has very many other meanings. Is "get ...
1
vote
1answer
653 views

Can I use “to bite the bullet” in this situation?

To bite the bullet means to decide to do something difficult or unpleasant that one has been putting off or hesitating over, according to Google. I'm not sure that I can use it when I was supposed to ...
3
votes
1answer
363 views

Is “within a nose-hair of (a position / status)” a common idiom?

I was drawn to the phrase, “a man now within a nose-hair of the presidency" in the article that came under the title, “Fat-Shamer in Chief” in New York Times September 30 issue that begins with the ...
1
vote
0answers
700 views

Working vs walking on both sides of the street

Dictionary.com renders "work both sides of the street" as: To take two contrary positions at once; have it both ways Similarly, idiom.thefreedictionary.com has "work both sides of the street" as: ...
-1
votes
2answers
683 views

“There's no block I put my head on” (“put one's head on the block”) [closed]

There's an idiom "put one's head on the block" which means "to risk doing something which will make other people lose their good opinion of you if it fails". So I have a question: If I convince ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Super Duper -usage and nuance

I'd like to know how to use the idiom: Super Duper. It seems to be a slang which means great or marvelous. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superduper But, one of my colleagues sometimes says "I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What does “drop and give me zen” mean? [closed]

What does "drop and give me zen" mean? Maybe it's some kind of idiom. Can you explain it to me?
3
votes
1answer
759 views

Is “thanks to” now used also in negative contexts? [closed]

Recently I saw some uses of the idiom thanks to in negative contexts. They sound strange to me, probably because thanks express a grateful feeling or acknowledgment of a benefit, so I thought thanks ...
10
votes
17answers
11k views

Idioms for a 'obvious' or 'needs no explanation'

I need to find an idiom for the following situation. I am talking to the HR department about a particular policy. I did not know about the policy beforehand and HR had never explained it to me. For ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How do I understand when to use the phrase 'mad props'?

In Legally Blond the musical they use the phrase: MARGOT: Dear Elle, He's a lucky guy. I'm like gonna cry, I got tears coming out of my nose! Mad Props! He's the campus catch, You're a perfect ...
22
votes
4answers
52k views

Is it “chalk it up to” or “chock it up to”?

Grammarist & Our beloved StackExchange both say that the phrase "Chalk it up to" dates back to, among other things, debts being tallied on a chalkboard. However, when I hear the phrase "chock it ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Pending tasks and goals

I am trying to communicate that I wish I could have done something. That "something" would be a ____________ for me. Since I speak Spanish as a first language, I am biased to think of the direct ...
15
votes
6answers
13k views

“He's unarguably the best” or “He's arguably the best”

I keep hearing the phrases unarguably the best and arguably the best. Some people say one, some people say the other when they mean he's the best. However which one is actually correct? If he's ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “Give a chicken in every pot” mean?

There was the following statement in October 29 New Yorker’s article that came under the title, “Why the G.O.P. Candidates Don’t Do Substance”: Did any of the candidates detail how they would pay ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “pride and joy” singular or plural?

Which is correct: Her pride and joy are ... Her pride and joy is ... Or does the use of 'are' or 'is' in this case depend on whether the object of the sentence is singular or plural?
9
votes
1answer
6k views

Source of the phrase “call [somebody] out of name”

I was introduced today to the phrase "Call out of name" as in: She claimed the other girl called her out of name. I had to ask what it meant and the answer was "she called her a bitch". I'm ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why in Britain do we stop for a 'coffee', but a 'cup of tea'?

In polite company in Britain one asks ones guest if they have time for a coffee - usually if it is morning. But if it is afternoon one would ask them if they would like a cup of tea. Now this is not ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Why “off the table” is not included in major English dictionaries while “on the table” is shown as an idiom in all of them?

I recently saw a cartoon in which President Obama in a physician’s costume followed by an elephant and a buffalo in a suit is lifting up the one end of a surgery trolley marked “Big pharma and ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “work a rope line” mean?

When Presidential race and caucuses are close, the candidates seem to be busy in “working a lope line” as in the following examples:. Wolf needs to work on his rope line speed. - www.pennlive....
0
votes
1answer
110 views

Can “in alpha” be used as an antonym to “in beta,” or it’s a totally different animal?

I was drown to the phrase, “in beta” in the following passage of New York Times’ (June 16) publicity of their own new scheme, Trending: “The Times unveils a new tool, Trending, that shows you what ...
2
votes
0answers
106 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?

I frequently see bumper stickers with quotations attributed to Mother Teresa that begin with the words "It is a poverty," for example: It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you ...
1
vote
2answers
36k views

as best I can vs as well as I can [duplicate]

I have to say I have an issue with the phrase "as best I can". After all, "best" is the superlative form of "well" and does not belong in the comparative construction "as... as" - not to mention that ...
2
votes
2answers
45k views

“Time” versus “Times”: When is time plural?

I have difficulty in using time and times correctly. I understand that times may be used for some idiomatic purposes such as "at all times" or "of all times" or "some times", although sometimes it ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Are "out of the box“ and “(right) off the bat” interchangeable”?

I came across with two idioms associated with immediacy in different context recently: (1) Anyone who was hoping that the Watch would flop out of the box and fall short of the high standard that ...
0
votes
2answers
518 views

How to refer to something “demanding” which doesn't happen all of a sudden?

Looking for a verb to express something that requires some time and effort to evolve, like collecting. I want to express that collecting requires some time and the collection doesn't just come out ...
0
votes
1answer
158 views

Is it correct to say “Can I enter if don't have a ticket”? [closed]

Is it correct to say "Can I come in if don't have a ticket"? or, Which is more common in ordinary life: A. Can I enter if don't have a ticket? B. Can I enter if I don't have a ticket?
2
votes
3answers
789 views

“come on as” versus “come across as”

Would you say that both sentences sound correct? On the whole, I think you came ON as sincere and credible, and your soft-spoken demeanor, laced with a dash of wry humor, was quite charming. On the ...
4
votes
1answer
13k views

Why do we say “be to blame”, not “be to be blamed”?

I wonder why "be to blame" is used rather than "be to be blamed"? I've googled it, and what I found is that it is considered as an idiomatic expression.
3
votes
2answers
298 views

What does “About its lot” mean?

In Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Chapter 2, when talking about how long the Electric Monk believed silly things, the book says: How long did the Monk believe these things? ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “Anyone who is married” mean in “Anyone who is married should know that facts and logic are not always helpful to one’s cause”? [closed]

I’m drawn to the phrase, “anyone who is married” taken from Benn Steil's recently published book, The Battle of Bretton Woods that deals with the battle engaged by Maynard Keynes and Harry White, each ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

“Short for” vs. “Stands for”

US stands for "the United States". US is short for "the United States". What are the subtle differences between them?
-1
votes
4answers
2k views

I'm tired of writing out the phrase “himself or herself”. What are my options? [duplicate]

Because of English's lack of a gender neutral third person singular possessive pronoun, whenever the need for such a referent presents itself in the course of writing, we seem to be left with ...