47 votes

Is there a word for colloquial forms of address?

Informal forms of address: colloquial vocatives, faux intimates, hailnames What you’re talking about are informal forms of address, colloquial vocatives, faux intimates, or my favorite from William ...
tchrist's user avatar
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45 votes
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Naturalness of expressions like "Me and Adam have discovered ....." in conversational English

Using "me" (or indeed other object pronouns) like this generally considered to be grammatically incorrect, because a subject pronoun ("I") should be used as subject of the verb. In ...
phhu's user avatar
  • 523
40 votes
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"Your fly is open" "You mean my flies?"

In Britain the term was always flies, as in your flies are undone. The only people I have heard refer to a fly in this regard are Americans. However the two expressions can sound the same, and the ...
WS2's user avatar
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34 votes

Can I use the word "mill" as a synonym for "destroy"?

Something that none of the other answers have brought up so far is that mill already has an established technical meaning in certain subsets of the gaming community. In the trading card game Magic: ...
qoheleth's user avatar
  • 569
32 votes

Clinton's “wonky”

It derives from the OED sense 4 of the word wonk. It is often used of government officials with a very narrow, but deep field of expertise. For example someone within the Foreign Office, or State ...
WS2's user avatar
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32 votes

People who frequently travel in planes are called…?

Frequent Flyer is a good label. Cambridge Dictionary online show: a person who often travels by plane, especially someone who usually uses the same airline and belongs to that airline's club, which ...
EvanNguyen's user avatar
30 votes
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Closest equivalent to the Chinese jocular use of 职业病 (occupational disease): job creates habits that manifest inappropriately outside work

The most straightforwardly similar term is "occupational hazard", which is frequently used this way (in my experience). Bruce Sterling writes in his book "The Hacker Crackdown": ...
Spehro Pefhany's user avatar
25 votes
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What is a "work wife"?

According to the following article the idea of using terminology typical of marriage relationship dates back to the ‘30s. But the terms work wife/husband are relatively recent and date to the ...
user 66974's user avatar
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23 votes

Words are not sparrows; once they have flown they cannot be recaptured

The bell, once rung, cannot be unrung. or You cannot unring the bell. Google books traces "cannot be unrung" to 1924: ... what is learned or suspected outside of court may have some influence ...
Ben's user avatar
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21 votes
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What does the word "waaaaay" mean?

Don't worry! It's not a new word. It's used as a colloquial emphasis - they're using the extended "aaay"s to emphasise the word way, as someone might use in normal or friendly conversation.
SocialiteTortoise's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

What's the origin of "and sh*t"

"And stuff" has been used in this way since the late 17th century, according to Green's Dictionary of Slang. The OED has this definition: Worthless ideas, discourse, or writing; nonsense, rubbish. ...
rjpond's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of the phrase to "wake up dead"

It's a way of saying that a person might die in his sleep, and thus never wake up at all.
Pete's user avatar
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18 votes

Can I use the word "mill" as a synonym for "destroy"?

The word mill already has a metaphorical meaning. The expression They've gone through the mill, means that they have gone through a very difficult experience. [See Cambridge dictionary and Merriam-...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
17 votes

Closest equivalent to the Chinese jocular use of 职业病 (occupational disease): job creates habits that manifest inappropriately outside work

In English, in a conversation, we can say "Sorry, work habit" followed by a sheepish smile or "(It's) just a work habit". It's difficult to find written usages as it is mainly ...
ermanen's user avatar
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16 votes

"Your fly is open" "You mean my flies?"

Part 1 of your question: As an American, I can say that I have never heard the term flies in this context before, but it seems that the words are interchangeable as they refer to the same thing ...
TimC's user avatar
  • 161
16 votes

What is a politer way to criticize someone's throwing than 'throws like a girl'?

While I don't believe this is a common expression, you could possibly replace "girl" with "child" to give the same impression: "Throws like a child" This keeps the same ...
DBS's user avatar
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16 votes
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People who frequently travel in planes are called…?

I personally find air traveller more elegant than “plane” traveller, and it’s difficult to argue the need to differentiate between planes and helicopters. A Google ngram comparison shows my ...
David's user avatar
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15 votes
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Is it colloquially acceptable to use ETA in place of "estimated time to completion"?

Yes, at least in the hi-tech and software development industry. This phrase/acronym is used for the date of task completion. See, for example, this forum question: ETA on fixing the underlying issue
DAE's user avatar
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15 votes

Word or phrase which means purposely playing below your skill level?

It is called sandbagging and the verb is to sandbag. It started in poker and extended to other areas. The definition of the term from Wikipedia: To disguise the level of one's ability to play in ...
ermanen's user avatar
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15 votes

What is a politer way to criticize someone's throwing than 'throws like a girl'?

There is no one set phrase that would substitute for "like a girl." You could just call it a weak throw or you could express the body motion involved. The main issue with throwing "like ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of "barnet front"?

Barnet is Cockney rhyming slang: Barnet Fair → hair. On the X front is a set phrase relating to the particular situation of X: 2.3 A particular situation or sphere of operation: ‘there was ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
  • 102k
14 votes

Words are not sparrows; once they have flown they cannot be recaptured

Little said is soonest mended. George Wither (1588-1667) [Wiseoldsayings.com] The always thorough Ken Greenwood, at Wordwizard, adds this research: LEAST SAID, SOONEST MENDED proverb: ... ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
14 votes

Is the use of "boot" in "it'll boot you none to try" weird or strange?

This wasn't in the first online dictionary I looked in, so here's an answer. boot ... [2] [verb] (1) booted; booting; boots [archaic]: avail, profit [Merriam-Webster] The sense is very rare nowadays,...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
13 votes

Can you "do" Science?

Collins doesn't even mark this usage of 'do' colloquial: do ... v ... (Professions) (tr) to work at, esp as a course of study or a profession: he is doing chemistry; what do you do for a living?. (...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
13 votes

Clinton's “wonky”

In A Political Theory of Geeks and Wonks, Jeffrey Tucker characterized wonks as Political wonks are fascinated by process. They love the game. They get as much satisfaction from observing as ...
Greg Bacon's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

English equivalent for the French expression "péter de santé"

In English we have an expression that basically means someone is very healthy: "fit as a fiddle" (which if taken literally, brings a strange picture to mind!) According to the website ...
Kristina Lopez's user avatar
12 votes

What does the word "waaaaay" mean?

'way' is an informal intensifer, similar to 'really', 'pretty', or 'very'. It has been around for a while, but much more common (way too common?) in the past twenty years. From Dictionary.com. ...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 71.5k
12 votes

What is a "work wife"?

To expand on my comment and address some usage aspects from a UK perspective at least (I suggest reading user240918's answer first): The history of the phrase has more than a hint of sexism and out-...
Chris H's user avatar
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