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Questions tagged [popular-refrains]

A saying is something that is said, notable in one respect or another, to be "a pithy expression of wisdom or truth." (Bernice Randall)

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What is the saying blank 101? [closed]

What is the general saying of "_____ 101"? It can be used for university studies, for example "physics 101" but there is a standard general saying (which can sound a little ...
Sarah's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
52 views

Are there sentimental connotations to the phrase "all grown up"?

I tried some internet searches and couldn't get a clear take on this. If someone makes a comment along the lines of "Look at Chris, all grown up", do most people interpret that at face value?...
abalter's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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What does "in a quiet pool" mean?

While I was watching a a True Crime documentary, the narrator said: The young pastor, his wife, and their three daughters looked happy and had everything they needed to live a comfortable life ...
basilinnia's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the origin of “give it the beans!”?

There’s a phrase, possibly specific to British English, to “Give it [some/the] beans!” when referring to a task that somebody should put more effort into. It’s similar to “Give it some welly!”. What I ...
deeBo's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
345 views

Is there such a thing as a new adage?

I was brought up to understand that a proverb that is described as an adage is, by virtue of its longevity, old. Take, for exapmle, the Old Testament book of Proverbs, some of which date back ...
Lesley's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
128 views

Which work of Shakespeare "oftentimes better than a master of one" appears in if it it accredited to him? [duplicate]

A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one is apparently accredited to William Shakespeare. Just to clarify - I mean the FULL quote, not just 'Jack of all ...
Ziarek's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
112 views

Word/term/saying that encapsulates the notion of something being ethically convenient

Lately I've encountered a few situations in discussions where I feel like there may be a word that is either more succinct and/or perhaps more wry than just 'ethically convenient'. An example sentence ...
Lamar Latrell's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

"The boil must be lanced if it is to heal"? [closed]

In Final Fantasy 16 (FFXVI), which has a medieval-ish setting, C says that "The boil must be lanced if it is to heal". I'm...not sure I understand the phrase. For context, C is in a ...
chausies's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
78 views

Is "that's what you get" likely to be used sarcastically/to rub something in?

Take this phrase: "That's what you get." The wording implies that it could be used both positively and negatively, à la 'what goes around comes around.' That is, if I do something good, I '...
Maslow's user avatar
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3 votes
5 answers
482 views

A word or a phrase for aphorism-like rules?

I'm writing something about sets "life rules" like The Rules - The Way of The Cycling Disciple. I want to relate a proposed "set of rules" to existing "rules/sets of rules&...
Ward - Trying Codidact's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

An idiom or a saying like "give a dog a bone" or "throw someone a crumb"

This expression is often used to describe situations where someone is given a small reward or token gesture to keep them content, while the larger, more significant prize or benefit is kept hidden or ...
aarnav's user avatar
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1 answer
83 views

Idiom for modeling after the wrong thing?

Person A: "If X can do this, so can I." Person B: "Well, [insert idiom]." In this situation X is someone who should not be emulated or treated as a role model. For example, X may ...
austin's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
98 views

Is “out of sorts” in The Proverbs of John Heywood?

The origin of the popular saying out of sorts is still unclear, but the more common theory states that the expression comes from the world of printing where “sorts” was used to refer to boxes of ...
user 66974's user avatar
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1 answer
165 views

What's a saying for "talking bad in someone's ear"

There's a saying I'm thinking of. Let's say I worked on your car and you were happy with it. Then your friend told you that the work was dissatisfactory and making up things to change your opinion, as ...
Immigrant's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
67 views

A phrase/expression/saying for coming in an already-stablished situation and so accept it for granted [duplicate]

You become a member of a particular society/community, and there are certain norms/conventions/lifestyles in that community which you take for granted and don’t question. Sometimes they are ...
Sasan's user avatar
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36 votes
7 answers
9k views

What does "darkest Africa" refer to?

Many times in my life, I have heard phrases such as "in darkest Africa...", seemingly to refer to somewhere in Africa. It is never explained, and appears to be considered so obvious as to ...
R. Aue's user avatar
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-1 votes
2 answers
98 views

Common saying in English when someone is being scolded for not doing their part or being lazy

I'm simply reaching out with a query in regards to common English saying. For life of me, I'm unable to recall the entire phrase people typically use when stating a fact about someone, who is not ...
Anonymous's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
97 views

Closest saying for "If you don't busy yourself doing something constructive, you'll find yourself doing something destructive"

In Arabic and Hebrew there is a saying that roughly translates to the title. What is the closest saying in English, if any.
Adam's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where does the saying "My house is my castle" come from?

This wiki page seems to state that this phrase was concocted by Edward Coke, but I don't understand what meaning he implied in it. It looks to me that the meaning was quite negative - almost like &...
brilliant's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
190 views

What exactly are "beasts that perish"?

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly ...
Chozyn Cranshaw's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

Was "Get in, jump in, if you can't get in, throw your money in" once a common saying?

My great grandmother had a saying: Get in, jump in, if you can't get in, throw your money in. I've never heard anyone else use it but somehow I always had the feeling that she got it from somewhere. ...
john whipple's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Saying or expression about modesty [duplicate]

I am looking for a saying or expression in English that is equivalent to "what is an ant that you want to make a meal from?" meaning that, I dont consider myself that important to make such ...
Hemn's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
394 views

Which saying means to sell a part as the whole?

I'm looking for an English (or foreign saying often used in English) which mean that it is made to believe that part of a thing can achieve what the whole thing only can achieve. Examples : To sell a ...
WaterBearer's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
3k views

What is an idiom for making a situation worse in your efforts to make a different one better? [duplicate]

Maybe it doesn't exist, but I feel like there's an idiom for a situation where, in an effort to solve one issue, you exacerbate or create a second related issue, probably directly. Out of the frying ...
Rudy Bakin's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
198 views

A word meaning both masturbating and consoling oneself?

In Chinese, 自慰 means '(of a person, genderless) to masturbate', and it also means 'to console oneself'. I took it as an extension of 'God helps whose who help themselves' for a certain period of time. ...
Steven Liang's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
20 views

Saying, proverb, phrase for the idea of Absurdity of concentrating on pointless, over-the-top pleasantries than subject that matters the most [duplicate]

We have newly appointed 75+ power-hog manager (old school but in pejorative sense), affected by second childhood and treated like a lame duck (too good to do anything productive). He is infatuated by ...
AMN's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
117 views

Is there a saying in English similar to Croatian "Mate-matematika, ljuta je k'o paprika!" (meaning "I don't like maths!")?

Is there a saying in English similar to Croatian "Mate-matematika, ljuta je k'o paprika!"? The Croatian phrase literally translates to "Ma-ma-maths, it is as hot as chili-pepper!" (...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
90 views

English equivalent of "send the demon to fill a wicker basket with water" [closed]

In Catalan language, there is a popular refrain that talks about someone meeting a demon, and the demon offer the person to perform any tasks they want them to do, which the demon will gladly do for ...
719016's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
58 views

What is the name of the literary technique for this?

So the common adage is "The apple never falls far from the tree." So what would you call: "Sometimes the apple falls very far from the tree." It points out an exception to the rule....
Ihsan's user avatar
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-1 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why has everyone started saying "it is what it is"? And what does it mean?

Few expressions anger me more than "it is what it is". It sounds so incredibly dumb to me. And I keep hearing it lately, from all kinds of people: Any sentence goes here. It is what it is. ...
Tace Hilb's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

What does the expression "in with the loaves, out with the fairy cakes" mean?

In this recent news article I noted the following quote, attributed to a Cornish fisherman: Another fisher, David Bliss, added: “It’s a bit stupid isn’t it, let’s be honest. They’ve gone in with the ...
arboviral's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
76 views

What is a clever saying that means, 'It's impossible to stop natural phenomena? [closed]

What is a popular-refrain that means it is pointless to try and stop a naturally occuring phenomenon?
Jared Robert Tolken's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
21k views

You have the watches, but we have the time

This quote is associated with the Taliban in reference to the US occupation of Afghanistan. I understand the metaphorical meaning of the quote — i.e. the point that it makes. But I am intrigued by the ...
Karl's user avatar
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-2 votes
3 answers
442 views

Is "green ones" not slang for money? [closed]

I wish I could bring in some green ones. I cannot bring in the green ones. I'm making tons of the green ones. Are these proper English/American English sentences? Can you use "green ones" ...
M Kelzenberg's user avatar
15 votes
15 answers
3k views

A saying similar to "playing whack-a-mole"

My wife is looking for a phrase or saying in English that is similar to... Lo urgente no deja tiempo para lo importante ...which means "Urgent matters do not leave time for what is really ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
71 views

Does "don't cry over lost Bitcoins" really work? [closed]

There's the old saying: Don't cry over spilled milk! Its meaning, AFAIK, is that you should not cry/be sad/get hung up over losing something trivial which can easily be replaced. If you spill some ...
Domino's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Campaigner8's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
831 views

What does the saying, "I don't like to eat what I can't swallow" mean?

My friend said this to me in regards to his girlfriend being older than he is. I don't understand what the saying means.
Taylene Onwuka's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
914 views

Does English have a version of "pouring water on a goose"?

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/verkan Det där har lika mycket verkan som att hälla vatten på en gås. That has as much effect as pouring water on a goose. It means that something is futile or ...
Youcef N.'s user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
365 views

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 ...
Leen Aljadid's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Which phrase attributed to the “cat-o'-nine tails” is the most credible?

In one of many online articles professing the origin of well-known and popular English sayings, I was particularly struck by the one related to "Cat got your tongue". The author writes ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
8k views

"Everything's coming up X"?

I've heard several Americans say "everything's coming up X". Sometimes, it's a person's name, and sometimes, it can be anything. Example: https://youtu.be/ivW7z3wGAl8?t=175 Everything was ...
Asaya C.'s user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the "narrow" road/path metaphor?

All my life, I've regularly heard phrases such as: Walk on the narrow road, never steering off into Hell! Don't listen to the Devil trying to lure you into his dark path! This, to me, metaphorically ...
Priscilla Bess's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

A literary idiom/expression that means someone is worthless or express about this imagery ( he is not equal to stitch on the sole)

I have to translate a poem from Arabic into English, so I need an equivalent expression to Arabic imagery.
user395072's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
896 views

What is origin of the phrase "as gay as cheese"?

A little while back, I was trying to find an old Hitchcock anthology story that turned out to be Joan Aiken's "As Gay as Cheese" where the eponymous phrase is one of many that the main ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
  • 1,389
0 votes
1 answer
159 views

fantasy and reality sayings

You should never act out a fantasy because the reality never matches up. Is this a famous saying (especially about sexual fantasies)? Or is there any sayings or quotes similar to this? I read this in ...
ayasasu's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
160 views

Looking for a descriptive word(s)) to describe digest/summation/pocket culture

I am looking for a generic word(s) to describe summary digest cultural of modern society. (or a Neologism) A word(s) for culture that describes "Take what is useful, discard what is useless" ...
greay's user avatar
  • 182
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

What should I use when I want to say "without further ado"

I have just read another post on here which taught me that the phrase "without further ado" is misused often. Most of the time, I suspect people say it (including me, before now) to mean "without ...
Jake Ireland's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
352 views

Origin of saying 'Thank Buddha it's Tuesday'

What is the origin of the saying 'Thank Buddha it's Tuesday.'?
John Harris's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
77 views

When was the term "All lives matter" first used and what was it meant?

These days these two terms "Black lives matter" and "All lives matter" are in the centre of the discussion. Although, it is understood what "All lives matter" in context of "black lives matter", Can ...
Amit's user avatar
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