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Why do we say "I envy you your <something>"?

Syntactically, these indirect objects can be viewed as introduced by applicative -functional- heads, which add different kinds of arguments that are not required semantically. High applicatives appear ...
María's user avatar
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5 votes

Origin of the idiom "a few trombones short of a marching band"

A few X short of a Y This Spoken English - Namrata Palta · 2006 Not possessing all of one's mental faculties; crazy, stupid In these phrases, X is a common component of Y. Y represents full mental ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
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The meaning of the expression "Never laugh at live dragons"

Maybe it means not to provoke those dangerous and easily provoked.
I'd Rather Not Say My Name's user avatar
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“pig book” – when, where & why has a booklet of college students with photos been called a “pig book”?

Among the materials I received at the start of my first year at Tufts University (1968) was a publication containing the names and photos of my fellow freshman, unofficially called the “pig book”. ...
Douglas Clark's user avatar
1 vote

What is the meaning of "paying in buttons"?

I was born in the 60's in Manchester, UK. My parents would use the phrase "it costs buttons". This meant it was of little financial cost. I now assume this must therefor be a mancunian only ...
Satsuma's user avatar
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1 vote

Origin of "turn the other cheek"

From the Bible ... Matthew 5:38-40 (New International Version) You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you ...
GEdgar's user avatar
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5 votes

What is the etymology of "business end"?

According to their entry last updated in 2012: OED's earliest evidence for business end is from 1828, in Daily National Intelligencer (Washington). This isn't however the usual modern meaning but ...
Laurel's user avatar
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1 vote

Why do we say "Eastern Europe" but "East Asia"?

I think the best answer is: We don’t know and no one questioned it for so long and now it stuck. The first response is correct in terms of how East vs Eastern should be used, but this principle may ...
Sanjeet Hattarki's user avatar
1 vote

"Out of sight" to refer to something that is very good — could it be based on German?

As a German native speaker, I cannot agree. As Shoe has already stated in a comment, "ausgezeichnet" is the past participle of the verb "auszeichnen" (to award something to ...
sisee's user avatar
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3 votes

"Out of sight" to refer to something that is very good — could it be based on German?

Yes, out of sight may be connected to ausgezeichnet, though whether it is directly connected or a folk etymology isn't clear. [Note: this is a downgrade of my previous confidence due to new evidence ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
3 votes

"Out of sight" to refer to something that is very good — could it be based on German?

James Main Dixon glosses out of sight as "incomparably; beyond comparison" in his Dictionary of Idiomatic English Phrases (London, Edinburgh, and New York, 1891), offering this attestation: ...
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