Questions tagged [expressions]

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer asking the meaning of a particular expression.

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Explanation of idiomatic expression

Well, of all the nerve, she thought. Of all the nerve is an expression that expresses indignation, anger and shock. Is there any simpler way to rewrite the same sentence that clearly explains this ...
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Synonymous expressions for "Little did I imagine that..."

Which of the sentences below expresses the idea that a person could not envisage what would happen in the future. I could not imagine I could not have imagined Little could I have imagined
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A specific case of sexual harassment

How can we refer to the action where a lady is a subject to the sexual harassment with a man when the man touches the lady's private organs with hand at a public area? She came to me with tearful ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Remember something like a snake bite

In my native language, there is this expression - to remember something (an unpleasant, bitter experience of the past) like a snake bite. Are there expressions in English with the similar meaning?
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Why does he say that there is a selfie squared in this photo?

So why is Dr.Gregory Sadler saying this image could be described as a selfie squared? I.e why is taking a selfie of a selfie like the comment on this picture states a selfie squared? Why does the fact ...
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1 answer
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"Under a different light" or "in a different light"

I have always thought that the correct expression is "in a different light," as in: I saw my mother in a different light. We all need to do that. You have to be displaced from what’s ...
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2 answers
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Why do people use this expression?

Lets say someone states "Tom runs fast, how fast is another question." Why do and can people say 'is another question' even if there is no previous question explicitly stated?
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3 votes
2 answers
405 views

An idiom for "making one's final / last attempt / effort"

I am wondering what are the nuances among the following options and whether they all work properly in this sentence: After so much work, just keep it up a little longer! You've got this far. If I ...
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1 answer
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Standing pools gather filth / dirt

I am wondering whether the German proverb: Stehend Wasser stinkt. Literal translation: Standing waters start to stink. Makes sense in English. I also came across an English version: ...
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1 answer
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Cold hard truth [closed]

I am wondering what does the idiom "cold, hard truth" mean. Example: “The atmosphere on Jupiter doesn’t support Netflix,” I said. “That means you won’t be able to watch Peppa Pig.” His face ...
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1 answer
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What does "We stand grateful" mean?

I am writing a thank-you letter to donors. I noticed that previous letters used "We stand grateful" as the ending. I was wondering if this expression is ok and if there is a better ...
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1 answer
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"can optionally be" vs. "can be optionally"

"can optionally be" and "can be optionally" - is there any difference in their meaning or tone? This might look as I haven't tried to find the answer myself, but Google doesn't ...
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2 answers
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Meaning of "make" in "Can you make me a copy of this?"

I found it's spoken quite commonly but if I'm a speaker, I'd rather try to say something like "can you make a copy of this for me", that is using "for me". The original sentence ...
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2 answers
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No preposition in "Why can't you get a girlfriend your own age" before "your own age"?

While I was re-watching a Friends episode (S6E21), I stumbled the line as below. Why can't you get a girlfriend your own age? I can understand what he meant (a girlfriend from your own age group), ...
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2 answers
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Do I need to use future perfect tense for expectation?

Which one is the correct or I mean a more formal way to tell about an expectation? "By the 15 May, we expect everyone to already complete their tasks" or "By the 15 May, we expect ...
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Can I use "the then" to refer to a previous name of something? [duplicate]

Is the use of "the then" in the following sentence correct? (That is, the pub that is now called "the Hops" used to be called "Addy's" back when "he" used to be ...
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1 answer
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How to mention your family ties in your cover letter

I'm writing my cover letter for visa application and I want to mention about my father who is late (when I was in my fifth standard) and I'll be taking care of my mom after the completion of my ...
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3 answers
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What does "Jewish nose" imply? [closed]

In the following link of the youtube video at 1:10, the bride says: "He is an Irishman with a Jewish nose." What does "Jewish nose" imply to make people laugh out loud in the video?...
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2 votes
1 answer
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The flower is the rose./ The flower is roses./ The flowers are roses [closed]

‎When you are looking at a drawing with roses and want to tell the person looking it together the kind of the flowers, what do you say? Are the following sentences correct? Which one is best? The ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
36 views

Idiom for "I thought about it a lot"

I am wondering what are the alternatives for "I thought a lot about it" in English using an idiom or fixed expression? I thought a lot about it, but I couldn't find any answer to it. I ...
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3 answers
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Is 'We are impossible to master English in a short time' unnatural?

I'm Chinese, my teacher told me don't use the means of code-switching to learn foreign languages, she made an instance for this: Chinese: 我们不可能在很短的时间内就掌握英语。 Divided into words by gaps: 我们 不可能 在 很短的 ...
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6 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does a native speaker say when he feels the urge to defecate?

What does a native speaker say when he feels the urge to defecate? Is it, I have got to go potty or something else?
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When someone is falling out of favor with someone else (Informal equivalent)

I am intrigued to know how would you normally imply the following notion in everyday speech? When you do something which makes people stop liking you or admiring you you might fall out of favor with ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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When someone suddenly slows down or stops doing what they started passionately and vigorously

When a runner gets exhausted during a competition, they might slow down either: to save energy to keep back going after a short time (intentionally) or just due to the lack of adequate and required ...
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1 answer
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What is a good way to describe this kind of behavior?

I've been watching a lot of Norm Macdonald lately, and inevitably, you get those kind of comments: RIP Norm - not a good time to lose voices like yours Which is true, but at the same time, on ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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A verb to imply something has made you feel not tired anymore

Work can wear you out, whether your job requires physical labor or not. Imagine you feel really tired due to a long time of hard work either (either mentally or physically), or when you are back home ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Could 'you were not' be used to replace 'you were away' here?

I was making a sentence to polish up my fiction, I wrote down it out of my instinctive understanding. The three-year time you were not was terrible. This is the background: during the three-year ...
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2 answers
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Does the expression "sideways glance" have a negative connotation?

I ask this question thinking of my native language, Italian, in which "guardare di traverso" has a negative meaning, implying the idea of a sly or threatening look. Is it the same in English,...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Dialed in and unplugged in formal English

Actually, I kind of understand the meanings of "dialed in" and "unplugged" in the following context, but it strikes me that they are a little informal. I am intrigued to know what ...
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1 vote
1 answer
29 views

The verb for overtaking in a specific way

I am wondering what is the verb, expression or idiom which is used when a car tries to overtake its adjacent car and since there is another car ahead, the driver has to deviate their car and pass ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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"Work ethic" or what?

There is a belief that "work is the essence of man" (literal translation), which means: being human without working is useless and gradually makes one unmotivated and even ruined. I was ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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What does it mean "to give the huffle of something"?

I've been reading When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne and stumbled upon the expression to give the huffle of something in the The Four Friends poem. Here's some context: Ernest started trumpeting, ...
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1 answer
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Into <the> possession of

The bottle really does contain perfumed mud. How Harry came into the possession of this outlandish stuff makes an interesting story which he is fond of relating. Furthermore, the acquisition of this ...
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2 answers
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"How will I know?" vs "How should I know?"

When I am asked some question, and I don't know the answer, which is the right answer? How will I know? How should I know? And what is the difference between the two expressions?
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1 answer
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Can "be in service" be used to mean the opposite of "be on leave"?

I have checked various dictionaries and also googled the phrase, but I remain unsure as to whether or not "be in service" can be used as the opposite of "be on leave", so now I'm ...
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3 answers
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“have/get your car checked” or inspected/serviced?

Before a long distance journey it is wise to have/get your car checked to check the car do an MOT (a Ministry of Transport test) service the car inspect the car have/get your car inspected I am ...
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1 answer
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"One better not try to do sth": correction or incorrect?

I have read the expression you better not try in several texts. Is it ok to switch you with one? I.e.,: One better not try to do [...]. Here is an example of a full sentence: United Airlines' ...
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2 votes
2 answers
345 views

Have a bond with someone

An American native speaker wrote me: When I play the PlayStation games, I feel like I have a bond with the player in the game. Bond: a close connection joining two or more people. I wonder ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Fire away (please)

According to the dictionary definition: Fire away is used for giving sb permission to ask a question. Can I ask you a question? --- Fire away. I was wondering if a university professor asks me: ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Usage of 'expected of' in this sentence

Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them. I understand that 'that humiliates...' refers to the preceding '...
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0 votes
1 answer
51 views

I like your taste in stroller. You too. What does "you too" mean?

A and B are meeting for the first time. They both take a baby in a stroller. A: Hey I like your taste in stroller. B: You too. What does you too mean? Does it mean I like your taste in stroller too?...
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2 votes
2 answers
72 views

Can I use "drag it me"?

Can I use the expression "drag it me"? It means "it (something) is dragging me".
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1 vote
1 answer
25 views

Would it be perfectly idiomatic to use "on and off" here?

Dialog: Guy: How long have you been drawing? Woman: For a few years. Guy: Really? Woman: Yeah. On and off. The expression "on and off" used in contexts like this sounds very odd to me, but ...
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3 votes
3 answers
587 views

Learn something the hard way

To learn the hard way: to discover what you need to know through experience or by making mistakes: He doesn’t want to take my advice, so I guess he'll have to learn the hard way. I was wondering ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Walk one's feet into the ground

I was wondering what does the expression "walk one's feet into the ground" mean. Someone wrote me: Yesterday, on my way to work I walked my feet into the ground. Does it mean: "I ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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How to answer the question "have you got something" (meaning: do you have something)

Have you got a brother? (meaning: Do you have a brother?) How do you answer this question? Yes, I do. or Yes, I have. or either?
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2 votes
2 answers
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What does the phrase "Go bury my heart at Wounded Knee" mean?

I've been watching Mission Hill, and in this episode around 3 minutes and 20 seconds, the bouncer at the club says "Well, bury my heart at Wounded Knee". What does this mean? I've looked it ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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meaning: You are not fooling me

This is from Good Luck Charlie. Teddy, Gabe and PJ came to a restaurant to see their parents to tell them Charlie was lost. But suddenly they saw Charlie was in the restaurant. They were very excited. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What does "let me at her" mean? What does "at" mean?

This is from Good Luck Charlie. Dad and mom are dating. They are having a dinner at a restaurant. Charlie's siblings take her to the restaurant. Teddy goes up to mom, saying, We think you must be ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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What is the expression with “tail” about looking at the bigger picture?

I can't seem to retrieve an expression I read, that effectively meant “look at the bigger picture and don't be distracted by the details”. It had to do with a (dog?) tail (that acted as the ...
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