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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3
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0answers
32 views

To be through the roof

can someone let me know the meaning of "through the roof" in this sentence? "Your mom was just probably through the roof". Online I found the meaning of the expression "go through the roof" = "to get ...
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54 views

“Balls sit softly in a sack”

I am translating a subtitle and I'm having difficulty with an idiomatic expression. A woman says to a man: "Your balls, sir, sit softly in a sack to give you quick advantage on every effort of my ...
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1answer
42 views

What would be english equivalent of Hindi proverb char aane ki murgi barah aane ka masala-Chicken is dirt cheap but its ingredients are costing a bomb

What would be english equivalent of Hindi proverb "char aane (Rs. 0.25) ki murgi (Chicken) barah aane (Rs. 0.75) ka masala (spice)" is an old phrase around 60's and the 70's India which mean Chicken ...
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24 views

Is the phrase 'to deal a blow at somebody' correct?

I have found in The Free Dictionary the following idiom: deal (someone or something) a blow or deal a blow to (somebody/something) However, I have also found in Diagoras Dictionary,wich is a ...
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1answer
62 views

What expression should I use after I have digressed and I want to continue with what I was talking about initially?

If I say "but I digress," then that indicates I have already digressed and I am finished. However, my concern is with the expression "if I may digress." So suppose I am talking about tanks and it ...
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31 views

Idioms for when doing something needless when you really have many important things to do first

Are there English idioms for voicing the needlessness of engaging in a particular, low or no priority action when you already have a number of high priority tasks on your hands?
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1answer
58 views

Is there an English version for “Unum castigabis, centum emendabis”?

The Latin saying Unum castigabis, centum emendabis is commonly and currently used in Italian as “punirne uno per educarne cento”. Literally the expression means “punish one, to correct one hundred”....
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6answers
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Is “to go berserk” used by native speakers or is it obsolete? [closed]

Is "to go berserk" used by native speakers or is it obsolete? BTW, what is the best online source to check whether a phrase or word is obsolete? Thanks!
2
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2answers
108 views

Idiom for someone who needs constant babysitting

I work in an I.T. company and I was assigned to work with a lazy guy who needs constant baby sitting. For instance, yesterday he asked me to go to his desk because he could not type the "@" symbol. ...
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1answer
62 views

Is there an expression that implies the same sort of idea as “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” [duplicate]

Looking for a clever title for a short paper on Oscar Wilde's humor, where the reader can never quite figure out if he stands for something or nothing at all. Any ideas are appreciated.
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1answer
86 views

Is there a better Idiom to explain airing grievances to someone who has it worse?

I was recently speaking with my boss about how I dislike my new commute to work. I also know she has a commute longer than mine. I was going to tell her I knew I was "preaching to the choir" but that ...
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1answer
98 views

What does “That stick through they man through the BS with” mean?

I'm concerned with the second line of the first verse of "By a Stranger" by Black Rob: We came to give love to our die hearted real bitches That stick through they man through the bullshit with ...
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39 views

“complexity of bug finding” or “complexity of finding bugs”

Which of the two following sentences sounds more idiomatic? This report contributes theoretical results concerning the complexity of bug finding in finite-state programs with bounded queues. This ...
4
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1answer
73 views

Idiom for opposite of “chain is only as strong as its weakest link”?

Generally when working in teams, people are quick to say the common adage that A chain is only as strong as its weakest link Which implies that it only takes one poor team member to destroy a team'...
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38 views

How to parse “It follows that”

Since non-count nouns like "sugar" take singular verb agreement it follows that the verb must be the singular "has". How do you parse the structure of it? Does "it" serve as a dummy subject, with the ...
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2answers
50 views

red handed war: is “red handed” specific to blood?

In my impression it is generally accepted that "red handed" referred to the blood-red evidence found on a thus discriminated criminal. Then, what does "red handed war" mean? New-York daily tribune....
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2answers
57 views

What does it mean to “survive oneself?”

I just can't realize what it means to "survive oneself?" Please help.
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2answers
70 views

An idiom from Dostoyevsky

My first question is straightforward. What is the meaning of the following idiom (from Dusa McDuff's translation of Crime and Punishment):- "some bread and salt together but a pinch of sniff apart." ...
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1answer
38 views

Does “stand” have the meaning of “be helpful for”?

"something stands somebody in good stead" is a common idiom, which means "something is helpful for somebody in the present and future". However, under the entry "stand" in the OXFORD dictionary, ...
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2answers
142 views

A young woman's old husband is taken away by a crocodile

A young woman 's going for an ablution in the Ganges with her fellow women resulted in her old husband being taken away by a crocodile Telugu: Satt varito sariganga snanalu chestunte ,...
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2answers
112 views

Why are there so many American phrases about derrières?

Some examples: Piece-of-ass Move that ass Haul your ass Your ass is mine I'm gonna beat your ass Get that ass in gear Get your ass over here put a cap in that ass cover my ass kick ass ass kicking ...
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1answer
48 views

Medicating Uvula resulted in making the tongue fall out [duplicate]

Medicating Uvula resulted in making the tongue fall out The proverb means sometimes remedying a simple problem may turn out to be a different problem of great magnitude I ...
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0answers
27 views

I am looking for the correct expression for being happily and shocked/confused about an experience mostly about a culture

I am a native turkish speaker and trying to add an English translation to my youtube video. I am trying to say both shocked/confused and happy about having a meal with Japanese family when we are ...
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2answers
148 views

Throwing a pot of water out looking at the clouds

It is like an old woman throwing a pot of water out looking at the water in the clouds The above is an Indian proverb meaning some innocent people foolishly forego what is ...
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1answer
137 views

Is there a name for an idiom that intentionally reverses key words for dramatic effect?

I have in mind a particular kind of expression which employs a repeated sentence structure, but with key words reversed for dramatic or emphatic effect. Here are two examples: "It's not the size of ...
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4answers
132 views

I have really scratched my head with fire by asking the question!

It is like scratching one's head with fire I have really scratched my head with fire by asking this question I have really put my foot in it by asking the question If ...
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2answers
121 views

The dog started barking after the thief had left the place six months ago [duplicate]

It is like a dog barking six months after the thief left. This is an Indian Idiom and is used when someone fails to do their duty at the right time and makes unnecessary fuss very late after the ...
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2answers
132 views

What is the equivalent proverb/idiom for Hindi saying in English?

Muh mein ram ram bagal mein churi It means Speak praise on the face and stab him from behind.
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36 views

“If it's not soup, it's wet bread” [duplicate]

In Italian (at least in the area where I come from) it's common to say If it's not soup, it's wet bread to say that you might call something a different way, but it's still the same thing. It's also ...
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3answers
72 views

Did anyone actually use the expression “Go to Jericho!”?

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/go+to+Jericho go to Jericho Go away. Oh, go to Jericho, you're annoying me here! I found this expression randomly. But I could not even find one ...
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0answers
31 views

Which regions say “on the button” vs. “on the nose” vs. “on the dot”?

Anecdotally, I've noticed that Brits/Aussies favor "on the nose" (though sometimes in a sarcastic way), while mid-west/west-coast Americans say "on the button", and east-coasters say "on the dot." Is ...
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9answers
7k views

Washing the skin of a dead rat

There is an idiom in Indian languages : There is no use washing the skin of a dead rat for even a year The idiom means a foolish person or thing can not become useful even if ...
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2answers
136 views

Touching leaves after burning your hands

I would like to know an equal idiom in English for an Idiom in Telugu it is like touching leaves after burning your hands meaning doing something to rectify the situation ...
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7answers
7k views

English equivalent of the Malayalam saying “don't stab/poke the dead body”?

ശവത്തിൽ കുത്തരുത് (śavattil kuttarut) is a Malayalam saying that in literal translation means "Don't stab/poke the dead body". The meaning would be something like: don't humiliate a person when he is ...
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1answer
54 views

When does the idiom 'breathed new life into' originate from?

My assumption is it derives from Genesis, but even if that's the case, what I'm really wondering is at what point did it become a common idiom in English, that could be used in contexts that don't ...
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0answers
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What does the exact phrase “on part with” mean?

I encountered that phrase in the following context. The first numbered item in an unofficial translation of the "Casablanca Protocol"of 1965 says: "(1) Whilst retaining their Palestinian nationality, ...
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1answer
40 views

Using commas and pronouns correctly in “Not only because, but also” construct

Firstly, I know that there are plenty of questions concerning "not only, but also" construct on StackExchange. However, none of them could give me an explanation for what I am trying to figure out... ...
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3answers
46 views

Idiom request:putting forth an effort but it isn’t doing any good

Context: when someone thinks they are in control but they aren’t. Like a captain steering his ship in a storm. The captain is trying to control his ship but it isn’t doing any good because the ship is ...
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0answers
33 views

lose track of (the) time

Which is right: lose track of time or lose track of the time? In CAE, when practicing in transforming key words: "I'm so sorry, I didn't realise it was so late. TRACK. Sorry, I have lost track of the ...
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0answers
34 views

“Argues how” or “argues that”?

The phrase "argues how," as in "the writer argues how essays are not taken seriously," sounds incorrect to me, and I would say "argues that." Similarly, "I am irritated how writers use commas" seems ...
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3answers
95 views

Can an inanimate object “get something wrongˮ? [closed]

The following is an excerpt from an article about spelling mistakes: Can you spot the mistakes? Building signs which get standard English phrases wrong; posters and other material featuring ...
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0answers
63 views

Confused of “beat around the bush”

I have searched "beat around the bush" but it seems that it has two meanings based on my understanding. First is it's like you're insinuating or implying a topic/question to someone so it is not ...
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1answer
44 views

Biding their time to reveal their hidden depths

Is there a phrase for what a person is or is doing who is underrated by people but then shows themselves to contain hidden depths? Not quite a diamond in the rough. Sort of like dark horse. Hmm? Not ...
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1answer
39 views

What is it called when one believes to be superior but objectively is not?

On a television documentary, a small group of people declared and truly believed themselves to be superior to other groups. They referred to themselves as "thoroughbreds" citing physical, mental and ...
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2answers
56 views

What is the meaning of To Keep Tally

Here is a quot from Bloom's essay on Whitman: His knowledge and sexuality are one, and we need to ask: how does that sexual self-knowing keep tally with the meaning of all things? It refers to ...
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22 views

Narrowing Down a Phrase

In a story I am reading the narrator overhears snippets of someone else's conversation. In context, the sentence looks like this: Most of it was about story arcs and podcasts and montages and ...
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1answer
53 views

“You could never tell me the odds” as an idiom of improbability

I'm currently writing a small essay for my English class and I'd like to know if this sentence would work as an idiom of improbability You could never tell me the odds when I noticed that this ...
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1answer
58 views

Usage of the “too … to” structure

Do the following sentences make sense to you: (1) "No people are too old but too lazy to learn." (2) "There are no people too old but too lazy to learn." What I mean to say is you can always learn ...
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8answers
5k views

What is an idiom, phrase or expression for situation such as “throw a pigeon among cats”

Normally there is a idiom "throw a cat among pigeons" but what is being inquired here is "throwing a pigeon among cats" where cats are predator and pigeon is the prey and pigeon is trapped between ...
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0answers
16 views

Repeating “can” in this context [duplicate]

I am writing to inquire the correctness of the following usage of "can": ...can cause much confusion and can be potentially used by adversaries Or can I just omit the second "can"? ...can cause ...