Skip to main content
182 votes

Is there a non-vulgar version of "pulled it out of their ass"?

Pulled it out of thin air works well. It keeps the pulled which reminds people of the phrase you're avoiding, while out of thin air means from nothing. A (probably older) variation is plucked out of ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 21.8k
134 votes
Accepted

What does "stay in vegetables" mean?

A bit of context to where this comes from might help. This is pretty clearly a humorous transposition of phrases. It's mixing up "Don't do drugs, eat your vegetables, stay in school" I don't think ...
MarkTO's user avatar
  • 1,567
122 votes

What's a good idiom or saying to say "don't leave your current job before getting another"?

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," It's better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing. This 16th century proverb ...
mahmud k pukayoor's user avatar
115 votes
Accepted

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

"Nothing personal, it's just business." Coined by Otto "Abbadabba" Berman an accountant for the Mafia in early 1900’s in New York. See Wikipedia In The Godfather movie, Michael ...
k1eran's user avatar
  • 22.6k
65 votes

Is there a non-vulgar version of "pulled it out of their ass"?

For a usage that implies that something (an object or idea, etc.) appeared from nowhere, you could say, "He pulled it out of thin air." On the other hand, if what you want is a usage meaning that ...
Geoffrey's user avatar
  • 1,498
61 votes

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

business is business In The Free Dictionary: A phrase that emphasizes business decisions as completely separate from emotions or personal issues. In Merriam-Webster: used to say that in order ...
David K's user avatar
  • 2,847
52 votes

What's a good idiom or saying to say "don't leave your current job before getting another"?

Look before you leap. A common idiomatic caveat, often said to those who may not be considering the downside consequences of a potential change. This seems to be a good fit, for the cautious and ...
MikeRoger's user avatar
  • 3,771
52 votes
Accepted

What's a good idiom or saying to say "don't leave your current job before getting another"?

The metaphor used in my family has always likened this to climbing a ladder...don't release your hold on one rung until you've got a grasp on the next.
GetterAtomsk's user avatar
52 votes

What does "darkest Africa" refer to?

In a general sense, “darkest” is used to refer to places which are hard to reach and about which little is known: Darkest Africa/South America etc. (old-fashioned) the parts of Africa etc about which ...
user 66974's user avatar
  • 67.4k
47 votes

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

"All is fair in love and war." Like the Gujarati phrase as described in the question, this makes the specific claim that ethics don't apply when certain vital interests are at stake for the speaker. ...
Ron's user avatar
  • 595
44 votes
Accepted

A term for "it's raining while the sun is shining"

Here is an excerpt from the results of a 2003 dialect survey in the United States (Vaux, Bert and Scott Golder. 2003. The Harvard Dialect Survey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Linguistics ...
acvill's user avatar
  • 844
42 votes
Accepted

More eloquent idiom/expression for the phrase "cut it at the roots/source to prevent the problem from growing/escalating "

I suggest: Nip it in the bud Which means cut it off before it has a chance to grow. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs to put an end to something before it develops ...
Dan Bron's user avatar
  • 28.4k
42 votes
Accepted

You have the watches, but we have the time

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? ...
walen's user avatar
  • 614
39 votes

Is there a non-vulgar version of "pulled it out of their ass"?

"Pulled it out of their hat" - English usage, common. Says exactly the same thing but less offensively. Tone of speech does that for you - the more dripping with sarcasm and disbelief, the better. Add ...
user276543's user avatar
38 votes

Nonreligious version of "heaven knows that…"

Goodness knows... (when I'll see you again). http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/goodness+knows OR, Who knows/can tell...(when I'll see you again). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/who_knows
Dan's user avatar
  • 18k
37 votes
Accepted

Nonreligious version of "heaven knows that…"

Goodness knows is a derivation of God knows, so it is still 'religious' but not overtly so. goodness knows No one knows. (A variant of "God knows.") Goodness knows how long it will take for ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 11.7k
36 votes

Translate the French quote "Il n’y a pas d'amour, il n’y a que des preuves d’amour" to English?

If you're looking for a similar saying in English, you could use: Actions speak louder than words. Which Cambridge Dictionary says means what you do is more important than what you say, because ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
34 votes

Is the form "double Dutch" still used?

I heard the phrase “double Dutch” often growing up—but never in the sense you have here. I didn’t know it ever had that meaning until just now. Rather, “double Dutch” to me refers exclusively to a ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 4,705
34 votes

Is there a non-vulgar version of "pulled it out of their ass"?

If you really want to sound professional without anyone knowing that you made everything up you can say: The data comes from applying the Stetson-Harrison method From the entry on Urban Dictionary: ...
pipe's user avatar
  • 509
33 votes

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

As suggested by Dan Bron, "you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette" may fit. We use it to imply that to achieve a purpose, something must be sacrificed. (in this case, principles, moral ...
Centaurus's user avatar
  • 50.1k
28 votes

Nonreligious version of "heaven knows that…"

E.g. "heaven knows I'm not perfect when it comes to exercise." The real meaning of "heaven knows" in the given example is a statement of a fact that cannot be refuted (though it may not be ...
michael.hor257k's user avatar
28 votes

What's a good idiom or saying to say "don't leave your current job before getting another"?

Don't put the cart before the horse Which basically means "Don't do things in the wrong order". Leaving a job before applying to another one is the wrong order.
ProGrammar's user avatar
27 votes

A term for "it's raining while the sun is shining"

Sunshower appears to be a common term: A sunshower or sun shower is a meteorological phenomenon in which rain falls while the sun is shining. A sunshower is usually the result of accompanying winds ...
user 66974's user avatar
  • 67.4k
25 votes
Accepted

Translate the French quote "Il n’y a pas d'amour, il n’y a que des preuves d’amour" to English?

The French proverb implies that the expression of love indicates the sole reality of love. The proof is in the pudding implies that the real worth, success, or effectiveness of something can only be ...
rajah9's user avatar
  • 16.2k
24 votes

What do you call a phrase that doesn't need to be completed?

Could it be the word ellipsis? According to Oxford Learner's Dictionaries: The act of leaving out a word or words from a sentence deliberately, when the meaning can be understood without them. Three ...
Mrt's user avatar
  • 1,458
23 votes

What does "darkest Africa" refer to?

The meaning of "dark" is generally "unilluminated" either intentionally, as per 11a below, or by misfortune, as per 13 below: OED: 11.a. Hidden from view or knowledge; concealed; ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 42.4k
22 votes

What's an idiom to express the idea "the correcter stands corrected"

To be hoist with/by/on one’s own petard. "A-ha! You who are a linguist and always correcting everyone's spoken and written language, you have been hoisted with your own petard". OED to ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 42.4k
21 votes

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

The thrill is [in] the chase. It isn't extremely popular, but I think it would be recognized by most English speakers, and it would certainly be understood because its meaning is pretty literal. The ...
Cody Gray - on strike's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

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

Yes, the expression is a variant of the one cited by the Phrase Finder. They are saying that safety rules must be observed by everyone in the company, starting from the management level, down to the ...
user 66974's user avatar
  • 67.4k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible