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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Is it fine answering “I hope it's nothing.” instead “I hope it's nothing serious.”?

Is there any misunderstanding at Sam's answer? Isn't it infered that Sam means "nothing serious"? Jenny: "I have to leave the office and go back home at once – something's happened&...
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Why is 'in danger' considered by most conventional dictionaries to be an idiom?

Merriam Webster defines an idiom as: an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own< It then goes on to categorise the ...
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94 views

The “few would argue” idiomatic phrase

Taken literally from a modern US English viewpoint, the phrase "few would argue that" would mean that the statement the phrase appears before is widely held to be false. The specific wording ...
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71 views

As I stand on/at the ______ of a new chapter?

Can someone please fill in the blank for me? I can't remember how the phrase goes. I don't want to say "stand at the start of a new chapter" because that sounds clumsy. I had originally ...
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111 views

Let me guys know

I'm a native English speaker and I recently caught myself saying 'let me guys know', then immediately realized that it makes no grammatical sense whatsoever. My question is whether this is actually an ...
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2answers
131 views

Are “consider” and “take into account” always interchangeable?

I had this sentence in my writing: "The images were adjusted for white balance to take into account differences in light environment." One of my supervisors thought it was wordy, and ...
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44 views

What is the difference between “by habit” and “out of habit”?

As far as I understand both phrases "by habit" and "out of habit" are valid. What is the difference, if any, between the two? For example: She was doing it by habit. vs She was ...
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227 views

What is the original version of these two popular idioms? [duplicate]

When I was but a young lad, I often heard the following saying; If “ifs”and “ands” were pots and pans, we would never do the dishes. There is also another similar saying; If ‘ifs” and “buts” were ...
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3answers
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An idiom expressing the circularity of tool making

Is there an idiom or a proverb like "in order to make a knife you need to use another knife", or, better, "in order to make a sharp knife you need to use a duller knife", ...
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Come back hard on us [closed]

I want to convey to a client that if they don't take things seriously and provide incorrect information then our management will come back very hard on us.is this the right sentence or any idiom or ...
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25 views

How to say “drawn into the depth”

Apologies in advance for the naivety of my question, I am a non-native speaker. I am trying to say this : "I thought it would be a quick read, but I became fascinated by it and was drawn into the ...
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Looking for an idiom for expressing difficulties at an early stage of a process [closed]

In Hebrew there's an expression to describe this - "Labor Pains" It expresses the difficulties experienced in the very first stages of a long process. For example, the difficulties ...
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On the hunt for him VS On his hunt

I know the idiom On the hunt But I have a question about the usage. I believe these are correct: He was on the hunt for clues. She was on the hunt for the escaped criminal. However, (1) can I use it ...
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Idiom or phrase to indicate that mere sympathy does not help

Are there any idioms or phrases to indicate that mere sympathy does not make a good case in the context of the following sentence? Instead of proving his innocence, he relied on his personal stories. ...
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What does “antelope slapping” mean (context in body)? Is it some kind of idiom or euphemism?

I just encountered the phrase "antelope slapping" in the following article (first sentence, pasted below): Ya know, when you’ve come inside from a hard day of unnecessary antelope slapping, ...
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What does 'yep clock' mean?

Been seeing this term on twitch lately. For example, it is referred to starting at 19 min 00 secs of this video https://www.twitch.tv/videos/821017035 Is it some meme or slang term?
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“Predicts the lack of …” or “predicts a lack of …”?

Which expression is better: "It predicts the lack of new effects" or "It predicts a lack of new effects"? Would be happy to hear your opinion.
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Proverb, quote or phrase which convey that the approach, ideas that are meant to improve the system or process are the onces which fail them [duplicate]

I am looking for a proverb, quote or phrase describing the processes (or structures or ideas) which are supposed to bring in efficiency, enhance the gaps and increases in-efficiencies, but instead ...
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2answers
51 views

Idiom or phrase to describe a short-lived reward

Are there any idioms or phrases to describe a short-lived reward For example, in a gang robbery incident where the robbers robbed a million, but three days later, all of them were caught with the ...
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71 views

What is the correct idiom to say that “I read” many papers “without considering the details”? [closed]

What is the correct idiom to say that "I read" many papers "without considering the details" only to get the necessary pieces of information I needed and in a very fast way. Is ...
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264 views

Which one is more idiomatic: ‘valid concern’ or ‘legitimate concern’?

I am looking for an adjective for the word ‘concern’. I want to say that the concern is one of the cases where one should have concern, that is, there are good reason to have such a concern. Example: ...
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Meaning of “with him strength took the form of wealth”

This is one paragraph from the story "The Wit of Porportuk" by Jack London Porportuk became angry. His pride was touched; his strength was challenged, and with him strength took the form of ...
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Idiom to say “with lowest impact”

We are changing a process in our company and I'd like to convey the message below to my clients. "We are trying our best to change this process without affecting dependent processes" . Is ...
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Does the first sentence have the same meaning as the second?

He put his hand in his pocket and bought it for the guy. I'll have to put my hand in my pocket to fix my car. Do these sentences have the same meaning: to spend money, or to give some to someone or ...
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What’s the meaning of “split wide open”

What’s the meaning of “split wide open”?? I’m confused and I found it in this sentence: “everything I knew was split wide open” Source (UCLA magazine) “The world cracked down the middle,” she wrote ...
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Since when is “Don't be too fool to use…” an English expression

I was horrified to see our company create an ad that reads: Don't be too fool to use the hard drive" However, Googling the expression "Don't be too fool" seems to show that it's a ...
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proverbial idiom that fits the point that “Main contractor asking (polite forcing) subcontractor to spoon feed his own duty in its entirety”

In business, a main contractor is the one who takes up the responsibility of the whole project which he understands he can undertake in its entirety, some without and part with help of a subcontractor....
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Idiom about doing things right way?

Any idiom do you know means like"we'll do this one time but the hard way"?
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What are other idiomatic expressions similar to “shed light on”

Are there any idioms or expressions similar to "shed light on" Example: this evidence sheds light on the complicity of the accused
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Can “By means of” be used with a verb phrase?

The idiom "by means of" is ussualy used to explain the use of a tool or method with a noun phrase, but is it strictly correct to use it with a verb phrase? For example: "The results ...
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593 views

Where does the phrase, “to stop on a dime” come from? [duplicate]

I grew up hearing phrases like, "X can stop on a dime," meaning that X, presumably at the controls of some kind of vehicle, can bring that vehicle to a stop in as short a distance as the ...
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Idiom for incomplete investigation

What is the best idiom to describe improper investigation? Scenario- the investigation was improper and hence prejudicial to the accused.
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Meaning of the phrase “rhetorical flab”

I have just read the following sentence, and It was difficult for me to understand what the author aimed to convey when she has used "rhetorical flab" in the sentence. I would be grateful if ...
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Is there a grammatically correct replacement for “a whole nother level” that retains the intended meaning and emphasis?

In the sentence "I had had great experiences before, but this one was like a whole nother level", I understand the idea, but I'm also aware that saying a whole nother is not grammatical. Is ...
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Long (Pole/Poll/Pull)?

When you're indicating that something is the critical path that causes the whole project to take a long time, which one is it? Long Pole Long Poll Long Pull I actually find various sources when I ...
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Word/phrase that represents “unknowingly Arguing against something/explaining something based on false statement X given”

I'm looking for a word or phrase that encapsulates the action of defending statement X of opponent, despite X having no validity, or unknowingly arguing/explaining based on a false statement X. For ...
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Put the right man “on the right job” or “in the right job”?

I googled and found some examples with "in". But when I asked my native friend, he told me it should be "on".
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Two expressions in english [duplicate]

What is the meaning of these two expressions: the pitch was now coming across the plate I was staring at my chance to knock the ball out of the park These two phrases was taken from the text below: ...
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Understanding Sentence — blasting things off

I am having trouble in understanding the last sentence. Could you please simplify the sentence? Thanks! IF HUMAN BEINGS should ever wish to build bases on the Moon, those bases will need water. ...
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In the rearview mirror

for a book I will write a chapter on what the utopian literature said about a certain technology which is commonplace nowadays. Would something like "XYZ in the rearview mirror" work or ...
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Is there a term for words that super narrow in usage? I.e. “Figment”

There are few other ones I've thought of and forgotten, but it seems there are some words in English that although seemingly very general, are actually very narrow in usage. Like the word "...
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Idioms: Exploiting/Taking Advantage of Others (negative connotation) [duplicate]

Could you please give me an idiom, proverb, or saying that describes someone who exploits and take advantage of others? An idiomatic expression that has a negative connotation. Or maybe to say that ...
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What does the phrase “a mouth by gum have I” mean?

I came across this song by Frank Sinatra "Pass Me By", with the following lyrics: I got me ten fine toes to wiggle in the sand, Lots of idle fingers snap to my command, A loverly pair of ...
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No test that you wouldn't have had done before

No test that you wouldn't have had done before https://youtu.be/4nm6Xaxvqd0?t=200 (3:20) Is this phrase grammatical? There's no idiom such as would (not) have or have done. What about No test you ...
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“Let Alone” in a sentence

For the sake of grammar, is this phrasing correct: Python is something that not all adults know, let alone do the children. or Python is something that not all adults know, let alone the children. ...
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“Fresh off of” or “Fresh off” in the idiom? [closed]

If I wanted to say something like "Fresh off of the jolt after ...", would it be better written as "Fresh off the jolt after..."?
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Words or idioms to describe burden of knowledge but not doing or caring about it

I want to capture the pain which comes from having knowledge that will improve the situation or make the world a better place but being apathetic towards it. They care, but not enough. They can act ...
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27 views

Adages for telling the essential from the trivial

What are some of the idioms, adages, expressions or slangs for saying someone being incapable of distinguishing the essential from the trivial? This is close to this question but not exactly.
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315 views

Usage of “I couldn't agree/disagree more”

Someone said: "couldn't agree any less" Upon me finding this weird and asking, they told me their intent was "I disagree". I believe the idiomatic form is "I couldn't ______ ...
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What does the phrase “utterly McKinley” mean?

In a spoken introduction from a live recoding made in Pasadena, CA, in 1956, on the album Round About Midnight by Miles Davis, the MC Gene Norman is heard saying: A little bit unlikely that so much ...

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