Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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."

1
vote
0answers
33 views

Is there an old saying/joke about “Where would I go if I were a [name of lost object]?”

In the 1950s my mother used to say, if I lost (for example) a glove, "Where would you go if you were a glove?" More recently I read this in a novel by my father from the mid-1960s: "... the old gag ...
2
votes
6answers
119 views

What is the saying for when “early adaptors (first timers) always takes the hit” which is opposite of “early bird catches the worm”

While we say "early bird catches the worm" which means whoever arrives first has the best chance of success; some opportunities are only available to the first competitors. On the opposite end, what ...
0
votes
3answers
66 views

What is a good metaphor/analogy/idiom espousing the virtues of “developing something gradually over time”? [closed]

My question specifically relates to learning a new skill. Which could be used in the following example: An aspiring athlete trains for an hour each day without feeling like she is making much ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Origin of the saying “you can't put a price on sanity”?

This is something my mother used to say on a daily basis, and I grew up thinking it was a common saying. Today it occurred to me that I've never heard anyone else say it, and when I googled it, no ...
27
votes
5answers
9k views

What does “stay in vegetables” mean?

The quote says "Don't do school, eat your drugs, stay in vegetables". I realize the last part does not mean something like "remain in the box with potatoes" literally, so what does it mean?
3
votes
1answer
47 views

Origin of “Don't ask the question if you're not prepared to hear the answer”?

It is a saying, or life advice perhaps. Not everyone is taught it. Where did it come from? The Bible? A philosopher? Literature? Does it have a canonical name?
6
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

Proper spelling/saying

My 90 year old father has a saying, "I've been dragged through an auger hole and beat with a sut rake." It means you're worn out or have been treated badly. "Sut" pronounced almost like "soot." Not ...
4
votes
1answer
272 views

How would you translate this Spanish saying “Sacar un clavo con otro clavo” to English?

Fellow English Speakers, I've been trying to translate this common saying from Spanish to English: Sacar un clavo con otro clavo. However, I cannot find any translation that satisfies my ...
-3
votes
3answers
83 views

Help recall the exact idiom “I'm against my brother, I'm with my brother against my cousin, I'm with my brother and cousing against everyone else”

There's a very interesting asian saying, describing dichotomy of a person's attitude towards others. My quote is probably incorrect, but it says roughy: "I'm against my brother, I'm with my ...
3
votes
2answers
192 views

Does English have a saying for “The person who orders something is the one has to pay for it”?

In German, we have the saying Wer bestellt, bezahlt, which translates literally into Who(ever) orders, pays in English. Is there a corresponding English idiomatic expression or proverbial refrain for ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Origin of “rank hath its privileges”

It's often seen with "has," but the frequent appearance of "hath" suggests the saying may be much, much older. Early Modern English always suggests Shakespeare to me, but my Google-fu hath failed me ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

What's the old saying that means “the written word is more powerful than the spoken”

I'm looking for that old saying that means "the written word is more powerful than the spoken" It suggests that getting an idea on paper and publishing it can reach many more people (because of books,...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “it’s the head of the fish that stinks” mean?

In a text regarding the meeting of the members of a automotive company appears: In the past, there was one clear rule at our plant, I hope I’m not going to make anyone uncomfortable, but it’s the ...
1
vote
3answers
302 views

What is the idiom for “ If it is something impossible to believe it”

Often, when something really odd is said,or if something impossible to believe is said to have happened, Turks say:" Yeah, if you eat it". I wonder what is the corresponding idiom in English? If I ...
1
vote
1answer
158 views

Meaning of “That sort of says something”

What does "That sort of says something" mean? What says what? One man tells another: He used to say when his wife died it killed the whole family. That sort of says something, sir. That you kept ...
0
votes
0answers
86 views

Is the phrase “you always do that” a logical fallacy, and if so which one?

For example, if someone says "you always do that" or "this always happens" but in reality it only happened a couple times (or it happened in the past) isn't this a logical fallacy? I see people ...
3
votes
0answers
89 views

Unit testing frameworks for C/C++ for Linux, or unit testing frameworks for C/C++ on Linux? [closed]

My colleagues and I had a little debate. We are working with Linux, and we use a mocking framework to test our code. Since the mocking framework is used to test the code that is written in C and C++ ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

How to say “I started timing”

So my question basically is how to say that I started timing. For example, if I am a referee in a game and I wanted to tell the players that I started counting the time. Does time's on express what I ...
2
votes
2answers
246 views

Is there a proverb of proverbs?

In my language (Vietnamese), there is a proverb (or at least a common saying) that proverbs are the treasure of our ancestors. Do we have such proverbs, proverbial phrases or sayings in English? ...
44
votes
14answers
20k views

Is there a common saying in English that means “It's just business, I don't feel any shame”

In Gujarati language there is a saying which literally means "no shame in business". It is used in a context where one has to do something unpleasant (or immoral) for the sake of their business (...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Quote/saying to mean “the only worthwhile object of study is Man himself”?

Looking for a known Greek/Roman quote/saying that expresses the opinion why the humanities are the only worthwhile subjects to study. Yes, dad. I know studying Philosophy is a waste of time but as ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

A more eloquent way to say “messed up”

How can you describe something as fucked up or messed up? Specifically talking about a bunch of pictures. A better way of saying “These pictures are fucked up.” A picture like this would be fucked up ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Getting credit for trying?

Is there an idiom, saying, or an epigram that expresses the meaning of getting the credit for trying even without the success of outcome?
0
votes
5answers
132 views

A speaker of truth must have his/her horse saddled up

The implication is that, upon telling the truth, one must be ready to gallop his/her horse away, any moment because, people may find such justness unacceptable and resort to violence in response. ...
0
votes
2answers
90 views

The quail did not perch in a tree, that wasn’t its way

This is a Georgian idiomatic expression. It conveys the idea that, as a quail will never perch in a tree because it can not, so a person will not be able to accomplish a task or perform, due to his/...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

If there is honey, the bees will come from nine mountains away

This idiomatic expression implies that, if there is a favorable financial situation ( a situation in which money can be made ) people who would like to use such a situation to their advantage, will ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the second part of the saying “Give someone an inch”?

What's the second part of the saying "Give someone an inch"? I've consulted a number of dictionaries, and they all say the second part is "and they'll take a mile." This is while in real life I've ...
2
votes
2answers
815 views

Is there an English version of the saying “sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata”?

This very common Italian proverb which literally means “wet bride, lucky bride” is used during weddings which take place in rainy days. The proverb represents a wish for future prosperity, as a ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Is there a phrase to use when someone is using a tool incorrectly so that to barely achieve the result?

I am looking for hyperbolic word or phrase for the case when you are using very complex or capable thing in such a way that even though the purpose is served, it was not used in the optimal way thus ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

“gusto and abandon” origin [closed]

While I rarely see "gusto and abandon" used in a text, it has popped up in an article I have read yesterday. The sentence in the article says: "But before we plunge headfirst into the fray with ...
59
votes
12answers
19k views

Is there a non-vulgar version of “pulled it out of their ass”? [duplicate]

Is there a non-vulgar version of “pulled it out of their ass” ? It's a useful phrase, but not one to be used in professional environments. For example: There is no way John’s projections for next ...
1
vote
1answer
211 views

Idiomatic expression about the insignificance of details [duplicate]

I'm trying to find an idiomatic expression that discards the importance of little details for seeing at the big picture. In Spanish we have a saying that goes something like "Sometimes the trees do ...
40
votes
15answers
12k views

Backstabs you constantly in a subtle way

What do call call when someone Backstabs you constantly subtlely with you only realizing it after a fixed time because of the subtle nature and you always giving them the benefit of the doubt. The ...
5
votes
1answer
394 views

At what point did “what a shame” come to mean “what a disappointment” or “what a missed opportunity”?

This is the common usage of "what a shame". used for expressing sympathy or disappointment (MacMillan Dictionary) another common usage spoken used when you wish a situation was different (...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Is there a proverb/saying or idiom for insiders are always treated badly and outsiders and guest are treated unfairly well

Is there a proverb/saying or idiom for insiders are always undermined and treated badly and outsiders and guest are treated unfairly well. Like in trivial dispute you wouldn't believe or treat your ...
0
votes
2answers
338 views

Should I capitalise 'God' in the saying 'He's playing God' or not?

Should I capitalise 'god' in the saying 'He's playing God' or not? I looked at an old thread about capitalising 'god', but didn't see mention of this particular saying. At the moment, I think I ...
1
vote
1answer
221 views

Is there a proverb/saying which means “good people are always treated terribly and unfairly"?

In English, is there a proverb/saying that means good people are always treated terribly and unfairly ?
4
votes
3answers
92 views

Is there a proverb/saying which means “someone in authority can break the rules”?

Is there a proverb or saying or expression that means "someone in authority will do anything they want"? Eg: My boss used to warn me about coming late to work, but he was late to work yesterday. I ...
2
votes
2answers
219 views

English equivalents of Slovak saying [closed]

Is there an English equivalent of the Slovak saying: Someone else's wounds don't bleed ? This is literal translation of a saying, meaning "someone else's loss doesn't bother me".
3
votes
1answer
434 views

'never peg the needle on your spending meter'

I've met the phrase in this article: Never peg the needle on your spending meter. After some research I found 'What is the meaning of the phrase “moving the needle”?' here. Now the original phrase ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Is there a saying describing a person who attacks member of his/her community to appeal to another community?

I am looking for a saying or idiomatic expression about a person from a community who attacks (verbally) his own members just to please the members of the other community on an controversial issue. ...
1
vote
3answers
686 views

Shouldn’t the sixth “buffalo” in the famous buffalo sentence be in the third person and thus take an “s”? [duplicate]

The famous Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. means: Buffalo from Buffalo – whom other buffalo from Buffalo bully – bullies buffalo from Buffalo. So, the sixth ...
1
vote
1answer
266 views

How do you quote an adage?

How do you quote an adage in English? For example, assume you are giving an speech and you want to add an adage. Do you say "there is a saying ..."? or "as they say ... " What are the best ways to ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Possession of the matter is the end of the entertainment/fun?

In the Netherlands, where I live, we have a saying: Het bezit van de zaak, is het einde van het vermaak. This roughly translates to: Possession of the matter is the end of the entertainment/fun....
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Art-related idiom

Is there an art-related idiom that compares two things/people as being alike but different in some way? For example, if I were comparing two bankers who are different, I'd say they were two sides of ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Idiom or saying for “nothing is bad without being good for something”

In Danish there's a saying: Intet er skidt uden at være godt for noget Which means (literally) Nothing is bad without being good for something. I want to say that this exact wording is also ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

What's a saying for “haggling/arguing about the details of something that you ultimately won't interact with or buy?”

Something like, "you're arguing about the drapes but you don't even want to buy this house." Haggling over a deal that you don't want to close (or isn't yours to close). That sort of thing.
0
votes
3answers
382 views

Programmer slang expression for “We'll cross the bridge when we get there”

What is the software industry word/term/phrase for the saying "We'll cross the bridge when we will get there"? I need to refer to a feature that can be deferred until its time comes. For example, ...
3
votes
2answers
87 views

What are these “THREE OPTION” phrases specifically called

Even though I came up with some pretty good categorizations, I'd still like to get the proper terminology! What I came up with: a) Conceptual Beliefs / Actions b) Philosophical Choices / Options ...