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Questions tagged [figurative-language]

For questions about language where the words have meaning other than their literal sense. For example, metaphor or simile.

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1answer
32 views

What is to trip down the aisle?

Check the box office for great seats! The smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA MAMMA MIA! A mother. A daughter. 3 possible dads. And a trip down ...
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3answers
53 views

When is “may” a fact?

Why is "may" found in sentences that express fact? For example: "They may be friends, but that doesn't meant that they don't fight." "I may be 63, but I can still dance out the evening."
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6answers
6k views

“When you Frankenstein a team together…” - Is “Frankenstein” a new verb?

I did not know that "Frankenstein" can be used as a verb. Max Kellerman, a highly reputed sports analyst working for ESPN, says "When you Frankenstein a team together, usually it doesn't work ...
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1answer
26 views

How can I interpret “soundtrack” here?

Architecture and design guru William T. Georgis designed his dramatic pool for his private West Coast getaway. A raised planter ingeniously created planting space at the foot of a large retaining ...
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2answers
44 views

Understanding - “Cantaloupe-colored sunrises … all kinds of things that didn't include black plastic mountains of trash and the smell of dog urine.”

I am helping a friend who is preparing for their GRE (Graduate Record Examinations). In the "reading comprehension" section, there is a passage and then there are some questions. While I can easily ...
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4answers
1k views

Is “of blue” in order to mean “blue” grammatical?

Is "of blue" in order to mean "blue" grammatical? I am wondering if saying "blue sky" means the same thing as "sky of blue"? Is it grammatical? How idiomatic it is? I've seen some passage use similar ...
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2answers
127 views

“March to the beat of one's own drum” Positive or Negative

In the view of the dictionary definition, the idiom "March to the beat of one's own drum, is more or less something negative which has a connotation of being inattentive, inconsiderate or reckless and ...
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1answer
47 views

“Go Back to square one” VS “Go back to the drawing board”

I am going to say: In spite of all my efforts, I couldn't pass the final exam and I have to attend all these sessions from the beginning again and start everything from the outset! The same old ...
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2answers
767 views

What does the phrase “The horse has left the barn” mean?

What does the phrase "The horse has left the barn" mean? I'm asking this question because I was watching the live testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire before a ...
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1answer
79 views

Why are the poor duck and the goose targetted in a derogatory sense In English?

He is a lame duck Becoming a doctor is a wild goose chase. you bloody goose He was out for a duck or golden duck. These are some of the terms associated with duck and geese ...
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0answers
12 views

Difference between Metonymy and Synecdoche

"One thousand hands made the pyramids of Egypt." How is the word 'hands' used in the sentence? Is it metonymy or synecdoche?
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2answers
3k views

What does “boys rule, girls drool” mean?

What does "Boys rule, girls drool," mean? I googled it but did not get a straightforward answer. It is a dialogue of Dumb And Dumber (2014) film.
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1answer
46 views

Meaning of “Reverse my Polarity”

In Talking Tom and Friends, Season 1 Episode 5, "Magnetic Ben", when Ben became a magnet and got stuck to the garage door, he said to Angela: "I need you to reverse my polarity!" Immediately, Angela ...
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2answers
38 views

Persistent much? (What does it mean)

Someone had written “Persistent much, huh? Well, then let’s start with my family background.” What does “Persistent much” mean? I looked it up, but I couldn’t find it’s meaning.........
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1answer
51 views

Can “watermelon” and “brain” be used to refer to one's head metaphorically?

There's a joke, written in my native language, where a blind man in a grocery store starts tapping (or patting) on a child's head, asking about the price of this watermelon, thinking it is an actual ...
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1answer
37 views

Did Percy use an omission after “fed”?

The poem is called Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the ...
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2answers
40 views

What is the meaning of brush in this sentence

I came across a sentence while reading which was: Not a trace of Wu Daozi's brush was left - and the artist was never seen again in this world. I don't think it here means an act or instance of ...
2
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2answers
61 views

What does “moanest loud” mean?

A Dirge Rough wind, that moanest loud Grief too sad for song; Wild wind, when sullen cloud Knells all the night long; Sad storm whose tears are vain, Bare woods, whose branches strain, ...
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2answers
269 views

What is the literary device used here?

I remember my teacher talking about literary devices, I have a sentence below. What literary device is use here? To bring peace, you must bring war.
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3answers
31 views

were anchored from?

I'm translating an English article to Persian (my mother tongue). I didn't understand the meaning of this phrase or anything!: "The employee relations aspect of sustainable HRM reflects an ...
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3answers
90 views

Is this phrase a dramatic effect? [closed]

What does the highlighted expression mean, is it a dramatic effect? SIGHTS During: a car in one’s lane or a barrier approaching, the frightened faces of the people in the oncoming vehicle right ...
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1answer
85 views

What does 'cogs' mean in this context?

He stopped there to enjoy the effect of these words. He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon's thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius ...
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2answers
166 views

under cover of pinkness?

What does "pinkness" mean in the following? Something significant happened under cover of pinkness while we were busy agonising over Scotland and Ed Miliband's dodgy memory. The Financial Times ...
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1answer
36 views

What does this figurative usage of “swampy” mean?

Not to pooh-pooh the Doobs and their smooth, aged take on swampy, countrified soul, but this show belongs to Steely Dan. (source) I have checked several dictionaries but haven't found one listing a ...
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2answers
103 views

What does “tripwire” mean as a verb?

Half Nelson offers an opportunity to marvel, once again, at the dazzling talent of Ryan Gosling for playing young men as believable as they are psychologically trip-wired. (source) Though familiar ...
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3answers
130 views

what is the meaning of communion in the paragraph?

“Sometimes a meal is just a meal, and eating with others is simply eating with others. More often than not, though, it’s not. Once or twice a semester at least, I will stop discussion of the story or ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Metaphor vs Analogy

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something ...
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2answers
92 views

none has come up with

I want to know the meaning of the bold portion, please. Also the meaning of the "come up with" and what is subject for the bold portion. She has seen six doctors so far but none has come up with ...
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1answer
76 views

Figure of Speech - Comparing Singular with Plural, and Vice Versa

Can I compare nouns with contrasting numbers. Assume I'm in a furniture shop: These cabinets are like the guy from yesterday. Or should I always tie the numbers? So I should just pick one cabinet ...
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1answer
4k views

Based on the context of the story, could this sentence be literal or figurative?

A story named The Centipede, written by Rony V. Diaz is used as the basis for some English lessons. You can read and analyze the story here at this link. There is also a summary and review here. For ...
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2answers
571 views

Is the expression “sick to hell” too strong? [closed]

For example, can I use it while I'm talking to a kid or could it sound vulgar? So when do you exactly use it?
5
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1answer
4k views

“figurative” vs “metaphorical”

What is the difference between two these terms? Are they interchangeably used? Because when I sometimes look at the dictionary, I see this term, figurative, attached to some words which can be used ...
3
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2answers
4k views

“The best outcome for Spain…” Is there any ambiguity as to the meaning of this phrase?

Consider this sentence: "The best outcome for Spain would be to permit the referendum, and for Catalan voters to reject independence" (Source, In the last paragraph) Would this mean that the best ...
2
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1answer
1k views

“Hot embers” and “cold ice”. Is this a figure of speech?

I've often come across phrases such as "hot embers" and "cold ice" (I'd be hard pressed to cite sources...I don't remember any). I found the adjectives "hot" and "cold" used with "embers" and "ice" ...
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3answers
2k views

How do I understand a sentence without subject and verb in novels?

She was meant to stay indoors but everything looked varnished and bright after the rain, so she put her coat on and went outside, then came back in and slung the camera over her shoulder. Through ...
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2answers
2k views

“if it/that were possible”

This is an excerpt using the expression 'if it were possible.' I would like to be able to use it in my composition in the future. But the rule that governs the use seems more than just a little ...
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3answers
606 views

Expression for “abundant source of”

What figurative expression could I use to describe "an abundant source of"? The context is the following: the Amazon is a true Free University of Sciences and Philosophy, and authentic ___________ ...
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1answer
41 views

Can I say 'I will keep your heart from the fall'

Can I say in the poem: "I will keep your heart from the fall"? Or "I will save your heart from the fall'? Of course, it's indirect meaning.
3
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2answers
529 views

Can a person be described as “squeaky”?

In one of our tests here at the school where I work we had the following question: Which adjective can be used to describe a person? The correct answer was wacky, but among the incorrect ones, there ...
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2answers
2k views

What's a common idiom to say someone is strong?

I have no idea how Americans convey the message that someone is physically very strong in informal everyday English. [In my mother language we say someone has a power of a donkey.] The only ...
4
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2answers
276 views

What is a “middle class injury”?

From Buzzfeed I found the following article 36 Truly Terrifying Middle-Class Injuries I spent the morning reproofing our Barbour jackets and now my forearm is sore #middleclassinjuries —...
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1answer
68 views

To “favor someone's side of the house”

I just read the sci-fi short story "And all the earth a grave", and I don't get the punch line. To summarize the story: A company starts an aggressive marketing effort on selling coffins, which ...
2
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2answers
18k views

What is P***Y? Is it giving a bad impression?

I saw movie of this post. I found this sentence: And bragged about grabbing women by the P***Y What's P***Y? I think it is not a good expression... (Because I hear bleep censor while the man is ...
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2answers
149 views

A verb which used to describe process of problem solving or making something good to differentiate a person involved from others?

In Russian there r words "вытаскивать" (basically it means to "pull off" something from something) & "вытягивать" (basically it means to "draw" something out of something), but in informal speech ...
2
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1answer
368 views

Why “John lost his coat and his temper” has logically and grammatically different ideas?

Consider this quote first please. For instance, in a sentence “John lost his coat and his temper”, the verb “lost” applies to both noun “coat” and “temper”. Losing a coat and losing temper are ...
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2answers
5k views

what is the meaning of “call all the shots”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/should-you-let-your-customer-call-all-shots-martin-connor Should you let your customer call all the shots? what is the meaning of "call all the shots"? I guess it ...
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8answers
2k views

Is there a figure of speech for “illlness which passes without a special treatment”?

In German we have a figure of speech: "Das geht von selbst vorbei", which normally means that an illness will pass without the need to treat it with medicaments or something special at all. Is there a ...
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3answers
432 views

Spooking at shadows

What does 'to spook at shadow' mean in the following context? My sense of the issue is that a lot of engineers are spooking at shadows, worried about their performance reviews if they spend 80% ...
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2answers
220 views

Spine/stem synonym with figurative meaning

I know the word 'spine' can be used like a metaphor for person's courage or assertiveness or inner strength. I'm looking for synonyms for this meaning but with one additional meaning related to a tree ...
0
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2answers
2k views

Expressing the idea that one can barely live or survive (figurative, if possible)

It took me some time to find out the English word waterline whose presence wasn't as yet included in my vocabulary. As an aside, in my language in a literal translation this would be called floating ...