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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5answers
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What is the meaning of “Dog ate my car”?

I was watching a movie called The book of Henry. One day Henry's mother goes to work late. Her manager told her, "Late again!", and she replied, "Dog ate my car." So, I heard about ...
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“Let's draw lots for it” vs “Let's draw straws for it” when deciding at random

Imagine there are two people who want to play a game. Each one wants to play first, so you or one of them suggests that the first player will be decided randomly using any random device, and says: ...
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1answer
31 views

A saying about Satan's ultimate power

I once came across an English saying that says Satan's ultimate power or trick is that he is hidden or cannot be seen (the saying might have the word conceal-not sure though). I could not find that ...
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1answer
30 views

What does “Stone walls do not make a prison” mean?

What does the following idiom mean Stone walls do not make a prison. Can anyone tell me situations where the given idiom can be used?
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0answers
32 views

Idiom for when you're bad at something

What are some idioms for when you're bad at something? Like: I can't (do something) to save my life. But aside from that what are other idioms. Maybe something similar to the one above.
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0answers
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What does “mirror in my bathroom” mean? [migrated]

What does "mirror in my bathroom" mean? A: ‘’Are you quieter and lonelier than me, Rachel?’’ B: ‘’Perhaps, Martin. Perhaps. I want to be good to myself. I have a mirror in my bathroom.’’ A: ...
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3answers
71 views

Does “Jump the Shark” mean a bad attempt when it looked successful?

I don't quite get what it means by Jumping the Shark. From the YouTube video, it looked like it was successful and nothing is wrong about it.
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1answer
22 views

Sentence: “I had got one over on the man.”

I came across this sentence: “ I had got one over on the man.” Does it mean that somehow ... he won the first round in a battle? Can it be a nice way to put it sometimes? Good colloquial English?
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1answer
29 views

What does it mean “the purpose being to”?

Hello distinguished friends, I've come across a word with which I am unfamiliar. Without further ado, I am putting the text: It is perhaps risky to begin a paper by suggesting a possible change of ...
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2answers
3k views

What does “some type of sheep meat” mean

I read a comment on StackOverflow about "What is depending typing?". And the poster complained about Wikipedia's hard-to-read article about dependent typing. The exact comment is: Well, the ...
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2answers
30 views

meaning of “speaking voice” [closed]

Occasionally, I hear someone speak favorably of a person's "speaking voice". I have no sources, but have heard the expression several times in daily activity. Is it more likely to refer to ...
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1answer
51 views

“[NOUN] in veins” eg. “MUSICIAN in veins” meaning

Phrase: "Musician in veins" Is it correct? Can it be misinterpreted? Is it easily understandable for english speaking person? How do YOU understand it?
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1answer
36 views

paying a tip on a service or for a service?

Is it grammatical to say "pay a tip on a service" or should I use "for" instead? Which one is more grammatical? Also, do you say "pay a tip on the 20$"? If it's for? Then ...
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0answers
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Please contact our office and we will arrange for a sales representative to call on you. (call on = visit)

Please contact our office and we will arrange for a sales representative to call on you. He will be glad to explain our terms, discount policies, and sales procedures. call on sb : visit Wonder why '...
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1answer
40 views

Idioms about the word pride

I’m trying to find the right idiom, the correct way of forming the sentence for the following case. Let me give an example. The boy breaks up with his girlfriend and then after some time he apologises ...
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1answer
19 views

Usage of the idiom TAR AND FEATHER

Does the idiom tar and feather only apply to human? Would it sound awkward to the native English speakers if the idiom is used in the context of the following sentence? The contradictory pieces of ...
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1answer
20 views

What is the grammar of the construction “Prove them wrong”? Why not “to prove they are wrong”?

"Prove them wrong." this sentence was a part of this phrase: "Everyone thinks I'm guilty. It's time to prove them wrong." What does the hero literally means, saying "Prove ...
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2answers
34 views

Main stream synonym of “clown fiesta” meaning consummate display of ineptitude

I seem to remember having read or heard a possibly compound noun describing a hilariously incompetent performance. The context at the time was football (soccer). Trying to remember what it was I came ...
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1answer
25 views

What does do me the honour mean?

I just found a formal phrase do sb the honour. And one of the examples of how it's used is: would you do me the honour of dining with me?. is that sentence synonymous with would you mind dining with ...
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0answers
26 views

brink of error vs brink of mistake

How to fill the gap "Musician should teeter on the brink of ___ while playing." error mistake failure Is any of these alternatives more "idiomatic" for the expression? The ...
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1answer
18 views

what does “make difficulty” mean?

What does "make difficulty" mean? in the following quote from Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen: If I had made any difficulty about fetching the key, there might have been some excuse, but ...
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1answer
27 views

What's an idiom for intentional misinterpretation (of an agreement etc.)?

In Swedish, we have the expression for intentional misinterpretation of the intended content. An example is we have between two and three million dollars and someone saying that two dollars isn't much....
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0answers
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Meaning of: Make that leap

In the Dictator movie, Alaeddin says to his double: How would you even make that leap? Tamir to Dennis? What does make that leap mean? I can't understand based on the meaning of leap in dictionaries....
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2answers
33 views

How often is “best of a bad bunch” used in the Anglosphere?

I found this expression at the COBUILD Advanced Leraner's Dictionary which for the most part is a British English dictionary, and I wonder whether it is commonly used by English speakers all around ...
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1answer
34 views

Does “trap” make sense in this context?

The non native speaker does not want to fall into the trap of using a foreign strange word. Does the word trap in the above sentence make sense in context?
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2answers
71 views

What does “I Know This Much Is True” mean?

There is a novel titled "I Know This Much Is True", and I find the title puzzling. I know this much is true. At first, I parsed it as I know this much it's true. where this much shows ...
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1answer
34 views

Is the phrase “Mary is a friend in need” confusing?

This is quite confusing. In the dictionary, they say a friend in need: someone who helps you when you need it Say, Tom was broke and he needed help and some financial support. Mary helped him while ...
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3answers
35 views

Meaning of: Walk round with (or walk around with)

Is walk round with an idiom? So we walk round with this fear that the other person isn’t going to be interested in talking to us The text is from BBC 6 minute English. It might be a typo and be Walk ...
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2answers
33 views

What does “It's all in where you are standing” mean?

I was reading the novel A Song of Ice and Fire and this phrase came up twice and I don't get what it means at all. “Winterfell’s not in the south,” Jon objected. “Yes it is. Everything below the Wall’...
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1answer
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what does “ We have to flip the leadership playbook.” mean?

We have to flip the leadership playbook. ( From TED) What does this mean? To learn from the metaphorical playbook or to upend it?
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【Idioms】 get something over with = get something over and done with

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/ko/%EC%82%AC%EC%A0%84/%EC%98%81%EC%96%B4/get-something-over-with https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/get+(something)+over+and+done+with https://www.merriam-webster....
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3answers
2k views

Meaning of “who's who”

I was doing an English exercise and I read the following sentence: Ask Walter, he knows who's who. Here, what is the meaning of "who's who"?
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1answer
16 views

Meaning of “graced their sight with its presence”

What is the meaning of "graced their sight with its presence" in below sentence? One night when they stood at their respective balconies looking skyward at the starry night, a shooting star ...
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1answer
38 views

Can we “do up” or “button up” a single button?

I know we can "do up" or "button up" multiple buttons, but can we use these phrases when we talk about one single button as well? For example, is it correct to say, "One of ...
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0answers
26 views

Is it “I slipped through the cracks” or “I fell through the cracks”?

One of my friends said to me: "You have such a good job though." And I responded by saying: "I slipped through the cracks." I was trying to imply that my interviewers went easy ...
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2answers
17 views

I'm in a place where

The truth is that things have been a little difficult for me after my accident last year, but now I finally feel that I'm in a place where I can enjoy life again, so I'm great. Is "in a place&...
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0answers
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<a colloquial expression> and all that / and (all) that / and all (that)

Happy New Year. Indeed, I have learned "and all that" / "and (all) that". <and all? or all but?> Well, the thing is he is really attractive and all but he is not funny. I ...
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1answer
144 views

Is the phrase “like a fish in water” a valid English phrase meaning feel comfortable in a certain place?

Could you tell me if the phrase like a fish in water is a valid English phrase meaning feel comfortable in a certain place? For example: Mike is like a fish in water when he is abroad. If it's not, ...
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2answers
39 views

Die a Noun: died a hero

I know the following form is possible. "He died a hero." = "He died the death of a hero." In light of this, can I also say something like these? "He died a poor man." &...
3
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1answer
26 views

Regard or consider?

Question 27 from the SAT Practice Test 3 – Writing and Language Test – from McGraw-Hill Education Eight SAT Practice Tests by Christopher Black and Mark Anestis, 2020 Edition. *We don’t regard our ...
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1answer
79 views

What does “return to the well” mean in these sentences?

Context 1: "I remember pa's hand in mine. Grasping and shaking for what felt like a thousand years...before he finally let go. His spirit released, allowing me brief communion before returning to ...
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1answer
30 views

Idiom: use of “all things X”

While understanding the general meaning of "all things X" ("All Things Electronic", for instance), I'm having some issue putting it into a sentence. Would you rather use (I can't ...
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3answers
805 views

Meaning of 'make hay' in this context

This is an article published in the Fox News: In raising the subject of Hunter Biden, the liberal comedian Colbert claimed to Joe Biden that "the people who want to make hay in Washington are ...
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2answers
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“Be done with someone” VS “Be through with somebody”

I was wondering whether either one of the sentences below: a. I'm done with you. b. I'm through with you. can be used in AmE to imply: "our relationship is over" for the speaker. If no, ...
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1answer
33 views

When you “love somebody so much”

I am looking for some fixed American expressions / idiom to convey my love to someone in an exaggerated way! I was wondering whether the following structures can be used in this sense: a. I love you ...
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1answer
37 views

“Mum's the word” and “See no evil, hear no evil”

There is an eastern proverb (perhaps a Middle Eastern one, ) which is used to ask someone in a spoken manner to keep something as a secret and do not reveal that they have seen or heard anything. I ...
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1answer
29 views

When you “miss someone so much”

I was wondering how to say I miss you so much in an exaggerated way? I know the following structures: a. I miss you to pieces. b. I miss you to the moon and back. (I have my doubts whether this ...
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3answers
72 views

“The breadline” in AmE

As Cambridge dictionary clarifies, the term "the breadline" is a British one that means: the breadline The level of income someone has when they are very poor, with only just enough money ...
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1answer
46 views

A proverb to convey: “There is always someone better”

I am wondering whether there is any routine, English proverb which is used to imply there is always someone better; so you have to prevent from being too proud of yourself. I came across the ...
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2answers
82 views

How to evade answering “why” in AmE?

I'm eager to know whether there is any fixed expression in English to refuse answering the WH-question "why" when you are reluctant or somehow have some reasons that prevents you from ...

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