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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using an idiom on your own

There is an idiom in English 'sit at the feet of', i.e. to admire somebody very much, especially a teacher or somebody from whom you try to learn. Can we use it this way: I would sacrifice everything ...
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46 views

Do people still use "(I'm) your servant, sir/mam?" When they get introduced?

I was watching the TV series "Poldark" on Netflix and I've realized when someone introduces a gentleman, the guy says: Your servant, sir/ma'am In which if the other person (if not a lady) ...
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Looking for an idiom meaning "you haven't changed"

Is there any idiom that means "you have not changed" that you could use in a conversation when you catch up with an old friend? Thank you.
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* towards my novel

Over the course of November, I wrote 50,012 words towards my novel Found this on Google I don't think wrote towards my novel makes any sense. I am looking for the exact phrase that means the same ...
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1answer
28 views

Is it correct to say "you expect above yourself"?

Is it correct to use the idiom "above yourself" in this sentence to mean "having too high an opinion of yourself"? Here's the sentence: "You expect above yourself". What ...
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38 views

"be already dishing" - what does it mean?

I am reading a book about Elon Musk and when the writer came to interview him. He was already dishing What does it mean? For more context Our conversation began with a discussion of public-relations ...
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1answer
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Idiomatic usage of "drop the ball"

(1) OED states that "to drop the ball" is a North American idiom (probably makes more sense in baseball than in cricket), while the Cambridge Dictionary does not mark it as such. I believe, ...
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1answer
41 views

Word usage: "either" or both? [closed]

Consider the following usages: Either the book and the pen are neither in the pocket nor in the backpack of either Sally or Peter. Both the book and the pen are neither in the pocket nor in the ...
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1answer
49 views

What is the meaning of "I'm afraid that...."

If said, "I am afraid that Shadow was the thief." Am I saying, (1) I am sorry to say that or I say with regret that Shadow was the thief. So that, I am definitively saying that Shadow was ...
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2answers
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Commonly used construct to express the meaning of "let yourself to do something"

This is a commonly used word to construct a phrase, which means to "let yourself to do something" or maybe "pamper yourself". It is used like: "Today I decided to verb a ...
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1answer
171 views

What does "putting up" mean in this context?

I just read a question on Stack Overflow, here. The question starts with: I've been somewhat "putting up" with GitHub always asking for my username and password when I clone a repository. [....
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47 views

What does "on top of something" mean in the following sentanes?

I saw some sentences using "on top of" while I was reading some book which was about ASP.NET Core (which is a Microsoft Web Development Framework). the sentences: 1-(MVC) It was created on ...
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What does 'gutter' refer to in the phrase 'throw money in the gutter'?

Below are the images of the definition of gutter on Google, which is a trough on the edge of a roof. However, in the phrase 'throw money in the gutter', I imagine gutter means something related to ...
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Has a ring to it

I was watching a video where a guys says something that rhymes, and the other guys says: "I like it. It's got a nice ring to it." Do we say it when something rhymes? When I looked up 'has a ...
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What does "blood drains from stomach"mean?

what is the meaning of "blood drains from stomach"? Elisa is shocked, so I suppose it's the same like "stomach churns​/​lurches​/​tightens", but is it really so? And then ... next ...
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Usage of "Amen to [something]"

Does the phrase "Amen to some common sense" in the below example have a positive or negative connotation? "Students will gain that eligibility automatically; amen to some common sense.&...
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Can't do it just like that

a. You can't carry out a scientific experiment just like that. You need to use the proper method. or b. You can't carry out a scientific experiment in any old manner. You need to use the proper ...
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1answer
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What might be another expression for "to build that loss into something"?

The sentence is from a business talk about the amount financial loss, which is caused some of their products being damaged during transportation. The man from the company says: "Of course we ...
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"Get on one's nerves" VS "Get to someone"

Could anyone let me know how the following examples differ in meaning? She’s always moaning. It really gets on my nerves. She’s always moaning. It really gets to me. Get on someone's nerves: If ...
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Can we use the verb 'hath' in modern English? [closed]

I've checked the discussion here and someone said that this verb must never be used in modern English. I've also looked up and this is the old use of has according to OALD. However, I found this ...
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Translation of Hindi idiom ‘Keep someone on your head’

Keep someone on your head That is the translation of Hindi idiom that if you keep someone on your head, you love and excessively treat them. For example: When you come home too late, and your mother ...
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1answer
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Can we substitute 'as to' with 'for'?

This question came to me after reading someone's comment somewhere. She wrote: She did not have a clue as to how to relate to the teenagers. I've seen people here commonly use the phrase as to when ...
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30 views

Healthy (environment / atmosphere / get-together / company etc.)

I wonder what do you call a place / a get-together / a company / an environment, an atmosphere which is safe morally and sexually. In such a place etc. people do not use drugs, do not look for someone ...
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An incompetent person in some actions (Informal AE) [closed]

Edited: I was wondering what is the AE idiom / expression in casual / informal speech which describes someone with little or no ability to do something well? Such people often have a great difficulty ...
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1answer
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What does "looking like a zygote" mean?

In this review of The Wheel of Time tv series, the reviewer, Lucy Mangan, writes: There is also Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) – a Wisdom who, despite looking like a zygote, seems to be a protective village ...
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Where you are in the top 1%

This is a skill where you are in the top 1%. This is an area in which you are in the top 1%. This is an ability or skill where you are in the top 1%. None of them sound idiomatic, is there a better ...
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2answers
247 views

put pen to paper

What does "They’ve put pen to paper" exactly refer to in the following news extract? Is it a paraphrase of the preceding "The early parts of the deal have been inked already'? They’ve ...
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Is it correct to say "Keep Your Eyes on the Road" when the person is riding a bike on a ground not on a road?

I heard a lot of people say "Eyes on the Road" in action films, but I couldn't see any dictionary mentioning it. It seems to mean that you must pay attention when you are driving to avoid ...
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starting a sentence with i mean for no reason

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/i-mean "Do people think what the country did was wrong?" "I mean, they were the worst of the worst, because they completely made up ...
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2answers
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The meaning of "Booking off/on duty"

I am doing a translation from English to Indonesian and there is a phrase that confuses me. What does "book off/on duty" mean. For example, "I will be booking off duty shortly". I ...
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Reminiscing about (someone / something) - A casual alternative

I wonder what do you usually say when you recall pleasant past memories about someone? The only word I know is "reminisce" which sounds formal for everyday speech. Example: I'm reminiscing ...
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1answer
78 views

What someone means when says "I'm hiding under my bed" in a conversation? [closed]

What someone means when says "I'm hiding under my bed" in a conversation? I heard someone said this sentence in a political conversation, I did a little search but didn't find something that ...
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Idiom and grammar

The day was like any other day but the different thing it was me. Do you know any idiom for this sentence? And is this sentence right? How can I make it better?
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1answer
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Someone's laughing stock

Imagine someone is so silly or behaves so stupidly or often says so foolish stuff that makes him sound ridiculous. I wonder how can one mention such a person? I know the term "laughing stock&...
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To go in cycles

“If ever you wanted proof football goes in cycles, then surely it was the sight of Leicester being confounded by an opposition playing 4-4‑2” https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/oct/30/leicester-...
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Is it ok to say "I had a question", when you in fact mean "I was asked a question"

In an English teaching video, the teacher who is a native British English speaker answers the questions from the learners. And he says: "I had a question". And he starts to say what the ...
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1answer
283 views

What does (a bed on someone's floor) mean?

This is a sentence I took from a book: 'Any chance of a bed on your floor this weekend?' 'Yes, of course, I can put you up. The sentence is on the unit discussing about expressions with set and put ...
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Are idioms not recommended in a formal situation?

This is what my English book[1] says (I've condensed the paragraphs so they're a bit shorter and straight to the point.): Fixed expressions, also known as idioms, are often rather informal. Never use ...
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An expression for someone who teaches in people's home

Is there a short expression for a teacher that teaches to his/her pupils in their homes, as opposed to in a classroom ? My guess would be home teacher but I'm not sure (it is unclear if home refers to ...
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2answers
47 views

a/the ghost of a chance [duplicate]

Can we use "ghost of a chance" with a or the without any difference? a ghost of a chance the ghost of a chance
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What does "all right" mean when placed at the end of a sentence? [closed]

Those are credit cards all right. What does that sentence mean? "those are credit cards, ok? not anything else you moron. Is that clear to you now?" (an impatient/~aggressive way of ...
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1answer
47 views

hold one's breath

I was told that "holding her breath" is not used properly in sentence a. What about b and c? If the latter two sentences are okay, how do they differ from a? a. Leslie is holding her breath ...
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We'll put on a fresh pot and just talk about anything. (What does this sentence mean?) [closed]

We'll put on a fresh pot and just talk about anything. What does this phrase, 'put on a fresh pot', mean?
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1answer
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Meaning of "slaughtered on the altar of expediency"

I was reading the book The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research by Marian Petre when I came across the following idiom: ... anyone with an armchair and reasonable general knowledge can usually find ...
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997 views

Meaning of "You're one rib short of a barbecue"

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS8oLlPOhPY&t=5m49s In an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Michelangelo is attacked by a crocodile. After managing to escape it, he tells his ...
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1answer
22 views

What's the point using 'Mind you' in just one clause? [closed]

To be honest, after reading about 4-5 definitions of this phrase/idiom and some relevant discussions, I still find it opaque. These sentences I took from Collin online dictionary uses Mind you without ...
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1answer
49 views

Subject+got+object+past participle

I have always thought it means someone did something for you but recently i came across this structure can mean that you did some thing yourself. What do you reckon Eg i got the task complete/...
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67 views

"He gets awake " "He gets waken up"

As with can use "get" with both "an adjective" and 'past participle". SO can i say "He gets awake = he awakes. He gets woken up= he wakes up.
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Does "it will only be lifting a stone to hit one's foot" mean that "it'll backfire"?

In this article at first paragraph there's written: The United States must not tolerate any force that is anti-China and stirs troubles in Hong Kong, or else it will only be lifting a stone to hit ...
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What does it mean by "down to the metal" in the following sentence?

dotnet has been out for many years and currently in the year of our lord 2020 we have long-term support, three years of support, It's open source all the way down to the metal and it runs on Mac and ...

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