New answers tagged

-1

There's more than one way to skin a cat.


1

[1] The information for which I asked. [2] *The information across which I came. The ungrammaticality of [2] arises because in the idiom "come across" (meaning "find by chance") the prep "across" is specified by the verb, and thus cannot be separated from it. We need to distinguish two types of specified preposition, mobile ...


0

The problem isn't the past tense but rather the passive voice. It would be completely normal to say something like "He made up for taking a long lunch break yesterday by working through lunch today." I posit that the second contributor to why your example sounds odd is because it has not just one but two trailing prepositions (and it would seem ...


2

'Why' questions seem to come with the presupposition that some authority designed the language in all its details like an engineer, attempting to keep consistent both with itself and against all other varieties. By looking at numerous languages it is easy to see that that is not always the case. Many times there are options and the options are chosen in free ...


3

The earliest match I've been able to find for any close variant of "You have the watches, but we have the time" is in testimony by Ambassador William Taylor, identified as "coordinator for Afghanistan, U.S. Department of State," in Hearing Before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives: Afghanistan Drugs and ...


2

As is often the case, the concept is older than the precise form of words "race to the bottom". Wikipedia suggests the concept is late 19th century but without that precise name. Brandeis is often cited as inventing or popularising the concept but what he actually wrote was "The race was one not of diligence, but of laxity." (Louis K. ...


1

It is a direct reference to a Supreme Court precedent written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that acknowledged that people must engage with the government on the government's terms. Holmes is famous for writing that is easy to understand by laypeople -- the idiom "to shout fire in a crowded theater" is also originated by him. Gorsuch is binding ...


0

I have never encountered the expression in the context of sexual infidelity and if so it possibly stems from some misunderstanding of the phrase. I think it originally applied to someone who rose early and worked late hence burned the candle at both ends of the day. That is to light a dark morning and the the darkness of the evening.


1

Both possibilities amount to the same thing: being aware of the various steps to be taken amounts to knowing how to deal with the problem and vice-versa. However, in the second sentence, on top of the change of verb, I would use a different preposition. For instance (there are others) He knows what to do about the problem. He knows what to do regarding the ...


1

The blog of Bruce D. Greenberg explains the legal concept: The “Square Corners” Doctrine Estate of Taylor v. Director, Div. of Taxation, 422 N.J. Super. 336 (App. Div. 2011). In FMC Stores v. Borough of Morris Plains, 100 N.J. 418 (1985), the Supreme Court announced the “square corners” doctrine. That doctrine says, in essence, that in dealing with the ...


1

"Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Perhaps this? Though I suspect you are looking for something shorter


0

There is a popular adage that connote this try at paraphrasing (which I find, by the way a perfect candidate for a second version). Speak of the devil (and it appears) (Wikipedia)


35

Several sources I've checked attribute this quote to an Afghan proverb. The meaning of the second part is clear: time is on our side. But what does the "watches" in the first part refer to? Benjamin Harman's answer argues that the saying is a double entendre between "watch" as in "wristwatch" and "watch" as in "...


5

I suggest that both meaning of 'you have the watches' are valid and intended. You have the high-technology wristwatches (as an ironic or even dismissive Synecdoche of 'watches' for the entire panoply of hardware), we can still outwait you. You are standing watches, but we can stand here forever.


7

I've always taken that alternate meaning of burning the candle at both ends to mean the person doing so is two-timing, which means cheating or usually means cheating, but is nonetheless an important distinction because of its word choice. With "two-timing" in mind, burning the candle at both ends' second meaning became inevitable. It contains an ...


9

"You have the watches, but we have the time." The above is a double-entendre, meaning it has two meanings, a superficial meaning and a deeper meaning. At first blush, or superficially, it looks like by "watches," it's referring to wristwatches, wristwatches almost always being simply called "watches." When one doesn't have a ...


10

Too long for a comment, but not much of an answer: The origin of the phrase is Edna St. Vincent Millay's "First Fig" "My candle burns at both ends It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light." One analysis of this short poem comments: ...there are various things that the candle can ...


1

Meh. It even has a Wikipedia entry now. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meh


-1

I've concluded the "scales" referred to are fish scales. Ancient (And modern) Jews needed to identify which fish had scales to conform with dietary restrictions. I have no direct association with fish scale, but believe them to be small semi-transparent bits of tissue found on a fish's skin (or maybe it is the skin). Check this website for ...


0

“... was a suicide” is perfectly grammatical: Your literary agent wants to avoid it on different grounds. The same advice is given in an article by the International Risk Management Institute: [U]sing "suicide" as a noun to describe a person ("the suicide was wheeled into the morgue") is considered dehumanizing and reductionist. When we ...


0

I would use "Die by suicide" For more information check: https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/suicideandlanguage/


0

No. Take care implies behavior that improves ones wellbeing over an extended period. Look out and watch out are synonymous, and urge taking immediate action to avoid an accident.


1

If the point is to soft-pedal "committed suicide" or "killed himself," then the common phrasing is "take one's own life" (e.g., "My father took his own life."). While calling your father "a suicide" isn't ungrammatical and doesn't definitively misuse the word "suicide" (see def. 3), it also isn't ...


0

No differences can be seen between look out and watch out, yet take care is quite different. Watch out is the best, I believe. There are also many other choices like Cautious. Still I assume watch out is the best.


4

This is perfectly correct since this person did commit suicide; this is a formal term. You find the following definition of it in OALD, n° 3. [countable] (formal) a person who commits suicide As this dictionary (OALD) is aimed at present day learners, there is no possibility of this word being archaic. A complete definition of it is found in the SOED. 2. ...


0

If the context is primarily one of affections, then one could say Looking for love in all the wrong places This song by Johnny Lee is from the soundtrack of Urban Cowboy (1980). I spent a lifetime lookin' for you Single bars and good time lovers were never true Playing a fools game, hopin' to win Tellin' those sweet lies and losin' again. (Chorus) I was ...


2

The origin of "come on" seems hard to find, but I can find it in English here (1691): The Miser: a comedy in five acts and in prose. It says: Come on, Musicianers, strike up, Hey: Here forsooth, here's your health; and would I might ne're go out of this place. Early uses of "come on" seem to only be to get moving. In Dutch, it has ...


1

Are you looking for bite off more than you can chew? To try to do something that is too difficult for you: We bit off more than we could chew in our original reform proposals. [Cambridge Dictionary]


2

Another idiom that could be used is two peas in a pod. Lexico has: So similar as to be indistinguishable or nearly so. ‘they were two peas in a pod, both with the same high cheekbones and hairline’


7

It's six of one and half a dozen of the other works in both written and spoken English without modification. Wiktionary: (idiomatic) The two alternatives are equivalent or indifferent; it doesn't matter which one we choose.


2

It's just a matter of semantics. From an earlier thread: [If we consider the way in which the word 'semantics' must be interpreted in the fixed expression 'It's just a matter of / merely semantics'] ... ['Semantics' in this sense may be seen] as being about very fine distinctions, such as: I think it's just a matter of semantics, not so much a difference ...


0

Mother and son are one. The boy and his family are one. The idiom is hard to find and substantiate because the common and frequent occurrence of “are one” in prose confuses the search. Examples are the book titles “Beloved , We are One”, by Lee McKeachern Google Books And Jennifer Black’s “We are One” WE ARE ONE is a rhythmic poem accompanied by vibrant ...


0

It is up to the creative talent that is creating the story to find the associative element that keeps them together despite their separate travails. We could offer examples of "draining down to the same sewer" or "being blown to the same lofty mountain tops" but it is up to you to find the description of their inseparable relationship ...


0

Mental health is overstating it. "Sense" the characteristic of having good judgment, especially when it is based on practical ideas or understanding: People can have bad judgment -- as in this case, where one sick woman is foolishly avoiding the rest she needs to recover -- without being insane


-1

The first woman's comment, "I am no more sick than you are," needs to be interpreted correctly. Like "got more sense," the phrase is idiomatic. Another way of phrasing the sentence "I am no more sick than you are" could be: Neither of us is sick. I'm not sick, and you're not sick. If you think you are sick, then you're wrong. I'...


3

The term "a dangerous age" is used most often to refer to the susceptibility to ideas, passions, and temptations of young people as they emerge from childhood and move toward adulthood. Patricia Meyer Spacks, in a 1978 article titled "The Dangerous Age" (Eighteenth-Century Studies , Summer 1978, Vol. 11, No. 4) cites two 18th century ...


0

Sisyphean is a good word for it. Sisyphus knows just how you feel. The inevitable failure even after all the efforts that were made. Depending on your context your task of fixing the unfix-able may feel doomed from the start. In that case it may not be entirely "Sisyphean". You could still share the crush of inevitable failure. There's that. On ...


2

As tchrist notes in a comment beneath the posted question, one of the earliest instances where ad hoc appears in the midst of English text without translation is in William Lawd, A Relation of the Conference Betweene William Lawd, then, Lrd. Bishop of St. Davids; now, Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury: and Mr. Fisher the Jesuite by the Command of King James of ...


0

to presuppose to accept that something is true before it has been proved


0

An idiomatic and alliterative expression might be: An inflated inference.


0

Not exactly an idiom, but a familiar saying in some circles is "multiplying causes beyond necessity", which in the negative injunction- "Do not multiply causes beyond necessity", is the guiding principle called Occam's Razor. This may not be useful for your purposes, but it is precisely about inferring more than is warranted by the ...


2

Conjecture NOUN An opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information. VERB Form an opinion or supposition about (something) on the basis of incomplete information. Source: Oxford English Dictionary (Lexico link)


2

Jonathon Green, Chambers Dictionary of Slang (2008) offers this reference to "go with a swing": swing n.2 {1970s+} (US black) stimulation, excitement, something that makes things 'go with a swing'. However, none of the four Black/African-American slang dictionaries I have on hand, published from 1994 to 2006, mentions "swing" in the ...


1

The phrase "Take a button and sew a vest on it" expresses this nicely. (Erle Stanley Gardner was fond of this phrase. I can't recall seeing it elsewhere.)


3

Reading Tea Leaves This is perhaps a bit more obscure than you're looking for, but it's a form of divination: you make some tea, drink it off, and then look at the pattern left behind by the leaves to infer the answer to some question you have. The expression is often used to describe the process of finding patterns in randomness and possibly using them to ...


1

In such a scenario I would say "That's a long shot." when I heard their theory for the first time.


2

Both the aforementioned "reading too much into something" and "jumping to conclusions" are good idiomatic expressions for the meaning sought by the OP. "Jumping to conclusions" can be expressed less idiomatically and more formally as "faulty generalization". The Wikipedia page cited currently includes some eleven ...


5

In a case like this I think I'd say: You put (or added) two and two together, and got five. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/put-two-and-two-together-and-make-five Although this expression does suggest that the inference is wrong, rather than only unjustified.


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