Questions tagged [idioms]

Use the idiom tag for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about set phrases with unusual meanings that can't be properly understood just from the separate words in them.

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1answer
25 views

Sneak around with someone (meaning)

I came across this expression "sneak around with someone". What does it mean? Does it have to do with "date someone"? Here is an example: We all know that John has been sneaking around with ...
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1answer
29 views

Poison the well - well is poisoned

What does it mean when someone says: "You have to decide if the well is poisoned for you."
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1answer
21 views

holes-in-her-purse bail meaning

In Breaking bad, when Hank was up against Walt, after everyone else was "out" in the game, he said the following: When old holes-in-her-purse bails, you know you're in deep. I know of money ...
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1answer
31 views

“It was reported that..”, which is closer to this idiom: rumor or a fact?

I'm translating the 'Spectre (security vulnerability)' Wikipedia article to my mother tongue, and it contains a sentence like below; It was reported that Intel shared news of the Meltdown and ...
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1answer
25 views

Looking for an idiom for boring but critical part of work

I sincerely hope this is relevant: I am looking for an idiom for a boring but essential part of work, that goes hand in hand with the core interesting parts of it. On the lines of "peas and carrots" ...
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5answers
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Please tell me what “count with” means

Among the lyrics, there is the sentence "you can count me with the dreamers." This phrase is from movie called Tangled. It's the lyrics from "I've got a dream". What exactly does that mean? count A ...
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1answer
26 views

Can these be used interchangeably?

I would like to know if the following expressions can be used interchangeably. just in case/out of caution/for caution’s sake/for the sake of caution/ err on the side of caution. a. I took an ...
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0answers
26 views

Idiom “Do the best”

Does the second sentence mean the same as the first one? They are doing all possible to further the passage of the Senate. They are doing the best to facilitate the passage of the Senate.
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2answers
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How can “jemand muss funktionieren” be translated to english?

The german term Jemand muss funktionieren is often used to express that somebody has to continue doing his stuff (work, house work, ...) because otherwise there are negative consequences (e.g. for ...
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5answers
2k views

How to understand “waving it in the bloke from the Ministry's face”

"The ring, the ring that became the Horcurx, Marvolo Gaunt said it had the Peverell coat of arms on it! I saw him waving it in the bloke from the Ministry's face, he nearly shoved it up his nose!" ...
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2answers
29 views

Alternative expressions for “there's a possibility of something”

I usually say "there is a possibility of ..." to describe something that can still happen anytime later, but I don't think this is the only way to describe it. The problem is that, while searching ...
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1answer
34 views

What does “work one's way across” mean?

Is work one's way across an idiom or does it mean literally? Examples: I should like to travel and work my way across the USA. I am planning to work my way across Australia. I work my ...
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1answer
25 views

“Not like that” and “such”

Is it possible to say so, meaning "like this"? I know I used to be selfish, but I'm not like that anymore. I know I used to be selfish, but I'm not such anymore.
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2answers
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Phrase from the fairy tale

Could somebody explain me what it means: "They knocked the hard ground into soft, the soft into hard, the rocks into spring wells, and the spring wells into rocks". This phrase I took from the fairy ...
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0answers
15 views

How do we say add through CGI video edit?

How do we say add through CGI video edit? I am sure there's a proper way to say this, but I have no idea how to say it in an idiomatic way. Someone need to make a video and add in a CGI hat of ...
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2answers
32 views

Is it correct saying “buy something hand-to-hand”?

In trades I really need to know if is correct the use of this idiom. If its ok or not, would you tell me what are the common ways to express when we need to buy or sell some goods when the buyer and ...
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1answer
36 views

What is the significance of 1st of October?

In the song Paper Planes, there's a passage as quoted below. My name is Olushola, I just got off my visa I live everyday like it's the first of October I wonder what the significance of the 1st ...
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Idiom: It follows that

Since non-count nouns like "sugar" take singular verb agreement it follows that the verb must be the singular "has". How do you parse the structure of it? Does "it" serve as a dummy subject, with the ...
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1answer
866 views

What does “seas the day” mean?

What does the idiom seas the day mean? An Indian cricketor tweets that he seas the day. What part of speech is seas in the phrase? Is it a verb? How did the phrase come ...
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1answer
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What's the plural of “that x of a y”?

But that did not solve his problem, his mother's birthday was next week, he had counted on Arsenal beating Manchester and if that idiot of a referee had not awarded that idiotic penalty. I am ...
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2answers
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Can 'get stuffed' be used in a more literal way, instead of 'stuff oneself' (with food, for example)?

'I'm starving! I'm going to go to Chick-fil-A and get stuffed', does it sound okay to a native's ear? British people would use it in a whole different sense but maybe a literal usage of that phrase ...
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1answer
41 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “Are you a man or a mouse?” [closed]

Today, my teacher gave me an assignment to write down a conversation using the phrase: Are you a man or a mouse? I don't know what that phrase means, can you please help me with this?
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are “go or walk barefoot”, “go on foot”, “walk in bare feet” the same? what about “go on bare foot”, “go or walk with your bare feet”?

Ok, in the dictionary, we say We came on foot (= we walked). Source walking around the house in bare feet (= not wearing shoes or socks) Source barefoot: adjective,adverb: not wearing anything on ...
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Making one's own word / opinion the one that counts

I am looking for an idiom/expression which implies defeating the opponent in a debate / an argument / a discussion and making one's own word / opinion the one that counts. I know the idiom "have the ...
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4answers
82 views

To beat someone in a competition/debate/etc in a humiliating way

What is the most common informal/casual idiom / expression / verb to imply making someone feel defeated in a humiliating way in AE? For instance, let's say two youngsters are playing soccer against ...
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1answer
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Idiom for a doctor telling a patient that he's terminally ill

Suppose a doctor is telling his patient that he is terminally ill and he's got only a few months to live. I assume this kind of situation can be described concisely with this form, A doctor is X-...
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4answers
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Idiom using the metaphore of “shouting in the dark” & English equivalent

In Czech, we say something is a "shout in the dark" when you do something without expecting it to fulfill the purpose (usually, it's used when someone is pushing for a change and gets no response). Is ...
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0answers
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Can I say “empower toward”?

This is a one line description about how I am trying to describe my work. However afraid the grammar is not correct and can't find anything about it on the web. "Empowering teams toward efficient &...
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2answers
38 views

“Close/shut one's eyes to sth” VS “Turn a blind eye to sth”

I was wondering what is the difference between these two phrases. For me, they both mean very similar and I cannot differentiate between them. For more clarification, let me provide you with an ...
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1answer
14 views

To think…I think

I am wondering if this is the correct usage To think I thought I had seen everything when she slipped on her own spit, I think I cannot be surprised anymore. I am wondering if this is the only ...
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1answer
48 views

What does “take a nap between the snoozing lion and lamb” means?

This phrase is from the below paragraph in the book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. The book has a number of personal roots. One is that, having had ...
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2answers
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What's the origin of “price of fish”?

I heard an old song by Scooter where he sings "How much is the fish?", realizing that it sounds so irrelevant and stupid that it might be something idiomatic with it. Turns out it's an expression ...
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2answers
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Is “button down” a real idiom?

I was watching a former Watergate prosecutor interview on CNN and heard the following passage: one of the things that the House Judiciary Committee, the House Intelligence Committee absolutely ...
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2answers
402 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
54 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
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What is the equivalent idiom for the German “Existenzberechtigung”?

"Existenzberechtigung" is a German word used to assert something has a reason/justification to exist, but most often used negated to say something has no reason to exist / should not exist because it ...
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2answers
1k 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
45 views

“Give someone the cold shoulder” VS “Snub someone”

As The Free Dictionary says: To give somebody the cold shoulder: - To intentionally appear disinterested toward one; to snub. This phrase usually refers to the act of ignoring someone. Example: ...
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1answer
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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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3answers
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What is omitted in the idiom “do somebody good”?

An example sentence: "Exercising regularly would do you good." Is a word such as "things", is omitted in this idiom? ("Exercising regularly would do you good (things).") I don't get why an adjective(...
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1answer
76 views

What does “racking my sack” mean?

Here is a dialogue from the movie Dumb And Dumber: 1: I wonder what's in this sucker. 2: That thing is worth a fortune! Be careful! 3: It would be nice to know what's in it, though. ...
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1answer
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Why, speaking of a colonoscopy, does it say “they put it up your bottom” and not “they put it up through your bottom”?

This is a piece of dialogue about a colonoscopy from the series "Outnumbered" s03e03: — Yes, but how does it get inside your insides? — Well, they put it up your bottom. Why not "they put it ...
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1answer
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Can we use “all manners of” in this particular way?

The definition of the phrase is as follows: all kinds or sorts of (things or people) It seems to be used when you have a lot of things or people of different kinds, so can it be used in the ...
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1answer
120 views

I want to make friendship with you

I know that to make friends with somebody is idiomatic in English. But in India I hear people saying I want to make friendship with you I think native speakers do not accept make friendship with ...
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4answers
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“Literally” Vs “In the true sense of the word”

The Cambridge and other dictionaries say that "literally" can be used as an emphasis on something. But there is another term: "in the true sense of the word", which to mea has a quite similar meaning ...
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2answers
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What does the phrase 'a punch above your weight' in the sentence ''Get a punch above your weight mug for your mother-in-law Helena''mean?

What does the phrase 'a punch above your weight' in the sentence ''Get a punch above your weight mug for your mother-in-law Helena''mean? I have found in Urban Dictionary the following: to ...
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1answer
27 views

Does 'getting ages' idiomatically sound natural?

We're usually taught (in Korea) to say getting old to describe that something/someone is aging, but I found out this can sound unnecessarily exaggerated as if it's running out of its lifespan. To tone ...
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2answers
105 views

How to ask someone (e.g. my kid) idiomatically to “hurry up” when he/she is dilatory?

When, for example, your kid is dilatory and we are running out of time, how to express "hurry up"? I'm not asking how to educate kids, that is another story. I wonder how do Americans or British ...
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1answer
194 views

How to ask someone idiomatically if he/she feels hot or cold?

I'm not a native English user, so when I want to ask someone if he/she feels hot / cold, I will ask the question as per the grammar: Are you hot? Are you cold? But I wonder how do Americans or ...
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1answer
93 views

An idiom to mean: to accept / expand someone's statements in formal speech

Let's assume you and someone else (say: Dr. Adam) are giving speech in a meeting. Dr. Adam says something and after his remarks and statements, you'd like to say: I accept Dr. Adam's statements ...