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
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Synonym for “in the blink of an eye”

I am translating from Middle Egyptian to English. For those who are curious, here is the hieroglyphic inscription: However, this is not a question about Middle Egyptian, but rather English. The ...
19
votes
9answers
8k views

PETA wants workers to “bring home the bagels”

On December 4, the animal rights organization, PETA, asked anglophone speakers (in the US) to quit using anti-animal idioms cold turkey. In a Tweet they proselytized: Words matter, and as our ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

The Etymology of “husband’s tea”

I am an English teacher. While teaching my students l am often asked about English idioms and their etymologies and meanings. As a rule, I can find the answers to their questions. But there's an idiom ...
2
votes
2answers
216 views

A word that means “presenting something without context”

I think there is a word that means something is presented or said without context, like a statement that appears random. "Leftfield statement" comes close, but I think there's something more concise. ...
0
votes
2answers
213 views

Is this a saying? “I am here to [show/tell/…] you …”

I am not a native English speaker, but I translate English texts into my native language, Danish. I sometimes come across phrases like "Many believe that (x) but I am here to show you that (y)." I ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

A less morbid equivalent of the idiom “Giving someone enough rope to hang himself”

What may be a less morbid equivalent of the idiom "Giving someone enough rope to hang himself"? In other words, an idiom for empowering someone with a capability that they might, through ignorance, ...
-1
votes
3answers
525 views

English idiom or proverb equivalent for “saying something, and doing the opposite”

Could somebody please help me by giving an English idiom or proverb used for the people who say something and do exactly opposite
-1
votes
3answers
51 views

What does 'charge about' mean?

For example: "Me sitting here on the landing,too nervous to go downstairs ?" "And me charging about." I can't find 'charge about' on dictionaries.
0
votes
2answers
664 views

Does “everywhere and nowhere” mean “irrelevant”?

An Italian student, a young man of twenty, came to me today with a bunch of papers in his bag. It was the questions and answers to a multiple choice English quiz. We're talking hundreds of questions. ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the meaning of an expression “Tufted titmouse”?

I watch the show "The Good Doctor". It was used in season 2 episode 4. In flashbacks, Shawn had with his mother/caregiver (couldn't quite figure it out), she was dying and he had to move. They used it ...
4
votes
2answers
244 views

When and where did “bad boy” start being used to mean something impressive, e.g. “Let's take this bad boy out for a spin!”

The term "bad boy" literally means a boy who is bad. Those of us who were boys and grew up speaking English are likely to have heard it applied to us, either as a description or a warning. Somewhere ...
1
vote
1answer
278 views

Aim at verb+ING vs Aim to verb

In a book about the philosopher Collingwood, I have found the following statement about logic. At first glance, it seems to me that the change from aim to to aim at is merely stylistic, but I think ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Why is “as fit as a fiddle” about being fit and well?

This article is on the origin of the idiom as fit as a fiddle. It is said that of course the 'fiddle' here is the colloquial name for violin. 'Fit' didn't originally mean healthy and energetic, ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Does this sentence sound weird in English? [closed]

"Neptune’s natural light coming in through the top windows washed the station in baby blue hues." I am alluding to the "washed with light" part. Does it sound like a legitimate literary expression or ...
6
votes
1answer
91 views

Looking for an English idiom

In Russian language we have this joke: -- Is this a taxi? -- Yes -- Why isn't the car yellow then? -- Do you want a yellow car or do you need a ride? We often use the last phrase of the joke as an ...
0
votes
2answers
656 views

A good word for a “tough journey full of rich experiences” [closed]

I am at loss for a word/phrase/idiom that captures the situation of a person having been on a difficult journey yet replete with fruitful/rich experiences. Any help will be appreciated. Edit: An ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Is it idiomatically to say “It is <adverb> doesn't …”?

Several times I met the phrase as: "It is currently doesn't ...", for example "It is currently doesn't work...". First of all, it seems that the phrase itself is grammatically incorrect, because the ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Idiom/phrase when one takes some share from the shared resources & offers it to others as if he is offering with his own money & appearing generous

When Jack takes some leftover beverages (shared-resource) from chip-in that is contributed for a party without other member's consent and are yet required for the coming guests. Jack then leaves the ...
-1
votes
1answer
64 views

Idiom about an equivalent explanation

When one asks for explanation of something, the other give an equivalent explanation. Examples: "the weather is hot because it is not cold", "I am smart because I am not stupid". So what is the common ...
4
votes
2answers
120 views

A few bricks short of a hod - what is the name for this type of saying?

I've collected a list of sayings that describe something or someone that fails to meet expectations, such as: A few bricks short of a hod. A few fries short of a Happy Meal. That ship never left port....
2
votes
3answers
140 views

Equivalent phrase to: “tell it to the marines” [closed]

What is a more contemporary equivalent of the phrase: "tell it to the marines"? One whose intent is to deflect or dismiss a preposterous proposition? Edited to add a possibility that occurred to me ...
1
vote
3answers
75 views

Reprimanding (pejorative) Idiom, phrase or expression for when one wants to pay less (minuscule) and get maximum out of a deal (basically greediness)

What is pejorative phrase, idiom for one wants to pay less (minuscule) and get maximum out of a deal (basically greediness). Example The management wants to get talented employee but hire employees ...
1
vote
1answer
368 views

What is a similar phrase to “scratch that”?

On Twitter, a reporter tweeted a phrase similar to "scratch that" once he realized he had made a factual error in his original tweet -- I cannot for the life of me remember what that phrase was! Any ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“To the best of one's ability” - Synonym?

I'm trying to rephrase We help children move and play to the best of their ability. It's about children with movement concerns, so this seems semantically correct to me. I just need a different ...
1
vote
4answers
364 views

Expression for loading more work on someone who is already busy [closed]

I'm looking for something you'd say to a co-worker when you're asking him/her for help, even though he/she is already super busy. Something like: "I don't mean to _____ , but ...". Thanks in ...
0
votes
2answers
27 views

Is “track adequately down” a correct phrasing?

According to Collins Dictionary: If you track down someone or something, you find them, or find information about them, after a difficult or long search. Now, I want to put some more emphasis in ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

Idiom for dismissing collegue's correction in first place, but heeding, acting upon when management says to do it

Context: Jack has total 15 years experience, 12 years experienced in a company XYZ, Jim has total 15 years experience in same field as jack but 10 years in XYZ. That makes Jack a senior to Jim ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Phrase, idiom, expression suited for putting one's own requirement saying that it is instruction coming from someone else

Context My boss one day called me in his office and said that now i have to include tasks 3,5,6 to complete the entire assignment. Traditionally, the usual sequence of task was from 1 through 10, but ...
-2
votes
1answer
68 views

Embarrassment/awkward feeling/moment while watching movie scene as if you are on the spot [closed]

My younger brother was watching this movie the other day called Take Me Home Tonight (2011). and I walked in. There was this scene where Topher Grace and his mate with his twin sister as come to a ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

What is “one” in “put one over on (someone)”?

To "put one over" is a slang expression for deceiving someone. The online Oxford Dictionary defines it as follows: put one over on Deceive (someone) into accepting something false. ‘he ...
3
votes
2answers
244 views

Usage of the idiom ‘Crossing the Rubicon’

Wikipedia gives the following information on the search “Crossing the Rubicon” Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon river was an event in 49 BC that precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ...
1
vote
2answers
68 views

What is equivalent of “pottakkannente Maaveleru” means blindman throwing stones in a waterless well, but he thinks he is throw stones at mango tree

What is equivalent of Indian saying "pottakkannente Maaveleru" means while actually the blind man is throwing stones in a waterless well (a job in vain), but he thinks he is throw stones at mango tree ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

What is the effect an average person feels when he/she meets a celebrity like Justin Beber or JFK in person?

What is the effect an average person feels when, for example, that person meets a Justin Beber or JFK in person? I saw a documentary on JFK (I don't remember which one) once and they mentioned this ...
1
vote
6answers
398 views

A word for when one thanks another for being exact?

So I sent an email to a Prof. asking for an invitation letter for a position. Now I receive his reply, and I am fascinated by the exactitude and precision in his reply. It is obvious that he has taken ...
2
votes
3answers
89 views

Idiomatic expression meaning “invented by someone and having caught on”

In Russian, we have an expression с лёгкой руки (кого-то), literally "from the light hand (of smbd)", or, if I may, "by the light touch (of smbd)". It is used when someone coins a new word, or ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Meaning of “to live one's own bit”

Speaking of Richard Henry Dana, at the end of his study, D. H. Lawrence states: Dana lived his bit in two years, and drummed out the rest. Could we say that "lived his bit" is akin to "sow (one's) ...
-1
votes
1answer
70 views

Wink at / Tipp the wink - usage

to convey the meaning of "Promised with a wink" what would be a better choice: Dan felt like she winked at him that they'd meet in person one day. This sounds US Eng. OR Dan felt like she ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Poetic usage of “scream” and “way out of the door” to convey a meaning [closed]

In the following sentence: The kid was laughing out loud, as those three frightened adults "screamed their way out of the door" and vanished. -Can I use the above sentence "as is" to convey the ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

How does “A hit dog will holler” work as a metaphor?

Background: I, an Australian, once had a co-worker in North Carolina who would often use Southern-US idioms that confused me. I spent an evening panicked about how to handle "This dog will hunt" as ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What do you call it when one does something (may be committedly) but actually because it is instructed by a book

What do you call it when you do something (may be committedly) because it is instructed by a book (divine book). When an outsider looks at it, it feels that the act is for lack of word "spiritually ...
3
votes
1answer
344 views

Phrase: “goes like a rattlesnake”?

While watching episode 3 of season 2 of "Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father" I came across the the following sentences, all by the same native (British) English speaker (aged 78 at the time of ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

looking for a proverb regarding defeat of man

There is a saying in my local language, Urdu, which loosely translates to "Man tastes the defeat always from his favorite woman." in English. Is there any proper idiom for it in English? The saying ...
10
votes
11answers
3k views

Is there a single word meaning figuratively 'separate wheat from chaff' (good from bad), about teaching ideas?

Is there a single word meaning 'separate wheat from chaff'? The closest I've found is 'winnow' but it doesn't really capture the sentiment. I'm looking for a word to help describe a person, an ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Phrase or expression to describe intentional upward discrimination when the favorable situation comes along

An employee would normally come 5 to 10 minutes before 8 AM to the office or the least at the stroke of 8 AM when he has the main boss coming in everyday (never late unless informed). What do you ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Is there one phrase, expression/ idiom for a social vice of mean/self centered/inconsiderate people who always want everything first for themselves

In south asian culture, we would use a roundabout saying as "Window seat" syndrome, that means mean/self centered/inconsiderate people (for spoil brats) always want everything first for themselves (to ...
3
votes
2answers
128 views

Looking for equivalent of Indian (Marathi) saying “Makdach ghar” which translates “Monkey's house”(never ready when you expect it should be)

I am looking for equivalent of Indian saying "Makdach ghar" which is "Monkey's house" the meaning is a monkey always starts to built his house only after it starts to rain. It has the analogy of "Ants ...
0
votes
4answers
89 views

Idiom meaning to seize an oppportunity hungrily

There is an idiomatic phrase I have in my head but I can't seem to find it in online resources so I'm wondering if I've misremembered and in fact it doesn't exist or if I've remembered it correctly ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Looking for equivalent of Indian saying “ Apne gali mein kutta bhi sher hota hey” which means Every dog in his own territory is/becomes a lion

I am looking for equivalent of Indian saying " Apne gali mein kutte bhi sher hota hey" which is "In their own lane ( or street or area) dogs also are lions". the meaning is when the territory/terrain ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“abundant in” vs “abundant with”

I am curious as to whether abundant in is a more correct usage than abundant with? For example, the sentence: "The mail room is abundant in letters" seems to have the same meaning when compared to "...
2
votes
1answer
154 views

Stick through? or something else?

When I am trying to say I'll hang on and persist through tough situations, I first thought of 'sticking through', but today when I think about it, I am not sure if this usage is correct so I found its ...