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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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ask for help in finding an idiom or expression

have you ever faced with this situation? You suggest people to do something but they reject it! after a while the other people suggest the same thing and they accept! can you tell me any expression or ...
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1answer
37 views

What does “go down on the price” mean?

See this conversation: B: This t.v is $2500. A: You can't be serious. B: That's how much this t.v costs. A: That's too expensive for me. B: This television is of very high ...
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1answer
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`Get into a flap` - is it correct?

I've found a lot of examples of expression "Get in a flap" but in my coursebook the expression is said with "into" instead of "in". Are those prepositions interchangeable or is that an error in the ...
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1answer
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If you’re going to ham it up, go the whole hog

Please help me to understand it If you’re going to ham it up, go the whole hog. — G. I. Gurdjieff Is the 'ham' a meat? What is a 'hog' here?
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2answers
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Using “almost” in a sentence

Which one of the following 2 sentences is grammatically/ idiomatically more correct: "She is almost a real fan of the jazz band." "She is an almost real fan of the jazz band" Tnx!
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1answer
23 views

Meaning “give credit to development”

I read the following paragraph and cannot really understand "give credit to" However, in 2004, the president of the XFree86 organization decided to make a change in the distribution license. His ...
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1answer
51 views

What does shit mean in the expression “doesn't take shit from anyone?”

Is shit in that idiom something unjustified or something justified? Like shit seems to indicate that it's not something that was deserved. Is this the case?
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0answers
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Is there an idiom that means “the more powerful you are the more enemies you have” or something similar?

It's difficult to find an idiom on Google for a certain idea, but I honestly couldn't find anything even after looking for idioms and a keyword like "power".
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25 views

Is there an idiom related to the idea of anthropocentrism?

Idiom or phrase? I tried looking up on Google, but there's no phrase or idiom ever coined to stress the idea, or even ridicule or mock it.
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1answer
34 views

What is the difference between “plan on going” and “plan of going”

Can someone explain why there are 2 different prepositions. The basic meaning appears to be the same in the example sentences. There are only 6000 search hits on Google for the phrase "plan of going" ...
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2answers
47 views

The meaning of the idiom 'be subject to'

This paper is subject to correction. Without context, I take it to mean: This paper may be corrected. But could there be some context under which it could mean: This paper will be corrected.
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1answer
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Is there any idiom that means “hard to believe”?

I can think of "difficult to swallow", but I can't think of anything else. There's got to be more, right?
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2answers
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What's more idiomatic in rent? (Pay or give the rent)

What's more idiomatic* * in context of rent, to **pay the rent or give the rent? Example: Jon rents an appartment and he wants to say (to) his homeowner that he'll pay or give the monthly rent ...
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1answer
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Is “hails from X” only used for saying someone was born in X

I see "hails from Harvard" often, but the official definition says: to come from or to have been born in a particular place: but I have no idea what come from can mean. Too vague to make any sense.
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1answer
20 views

Other ways of saying “Don't give up”?

In the context of "... but either way, don't give up on yourself yet..." Perhaps Don't bury yourself? Don't put a cross on yourself? I'm not native so it's hard for me to decide if any of these ...
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1answer
40 views

“How could it hurt?”. Does this sentence have any special meaning other than what it says?

I have been watching a good British drama (Downtown abbey) and this sentence is from that drama. It is from a dialogue between a servant who is waiting for his dismissal and the head of the servants(...
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1answer
19 views

can the given idiom be used this way?

If you like the video and want to see more where this came from, subscribe to the channel. Is this sentence grammatically accurate, and does it mean "If you like this video and want to see more ...
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0answers
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What's the meaning of “For acceptance” in a document?

I have to compile and sign a document, which is an enrolment statement to a university, but I can't figure out what's the meaning of this "For acceptance" field at the bottom. What am I supposed to ...
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1answer
19 views

What does it mean by “clean up its act by pleading poverty”?

"In the past India has explained its failure to clean up its act by pleading poverty, noting that richer countries were once just as dirty and that its output of filth per person still lags far behind ...
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2answers
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What does “golden thread” mean in this sentence?

Our golden thread is always to streamline our processes and to continuously raise the bar for ourselves in everything we do. I cannot find an appropriate explanation for "golden thread" in the ...
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3answers
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Difference between “I know where I stand” and “I know my place” and their interchangeability

I shouldn't have talked back to him. I know where I stand. I shouldn't have talked back to him. I know my place. What's difference between the two sentences and the difference between I know where I ...
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1answer
25 views

Do people say widespread influence?

Is widespread influence grammatically correct? Also, is it the right way to say it? Thanks
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1answer
25 views

Safe and sound usage

I am wondering if a phrase "safe and sound" is used or at least can be used when it isn't referring to person. For example sentences They will do anything to keep their bonuses safe and sound! ...
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1answer
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meaning of “something like”

When I discuss something in the meeting, I said 'We can use something like XXX to check errors". What I meant was, not XXX, but similar thing that can serve our purpose better. But, it seems others ...
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1answer
199 views

“Keep up the good work”.. could this hurt?

When I feel grateful about someone, I sometimes use the phrase keep up the good work after I have thanked them. I only use this when my feeling is that he or she: is doing good things and/or has ...
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1answer
25 views

stick it up your a**

Is there a reason why, we use "up" and not "in". I always thought it wasn't intuitive to use "up", is there a semantic reason, or is it "cultural" or "historical"? Can someone explain, so that a non-...
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1answer
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What does but mean in the phrase “If they but knew it”

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see ...
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14answers
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How to idiomatically suggest someone should live the day and forget about tomorrow?

In Arabic, we literally say: Give me life today, and kill me tomorrow. We use it to say we should only care about the present time and forget about the future. For example, when my mother advises ...
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2answers
108 views

Correct use of “kick [some/ somebody's] ass” [closed]

Construction of sentences with the usage of the idiom may appear to be vulgar. To punish or defeat somebody IS to kick some or somebody's 'ass. Can the idiom be used to express punishment for any ...
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1answer
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What is the meaning of “can't helpful wondering about” clearly?

I have came across with the following marked sentence and couldn't understand clearly. Is it correct sentence? Could you interpret it? Its meaning is able to be "I can't hold myself"? Every time ...
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2answers
49 views

“Call on somebody” vs “call out on somebody”

Are the two different? Example sentence: Mary cheated on her exam. If her teachers called (out) on her, she'd just deny everything. Note: I found the usage in some dictionaries: https://idioms....
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1answer
29 views

“back me up on it” or “back me up this”?

Tell me please which word it is correct to use in the following sentence and why. I think we should watch that movie, and I hope you back me up on it/this.
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1answer
35 views

Poor aesthetic judgement

Is there a way to say that someone has a very poor aesthetic judgement? For example, you go to a house and you think everything is tacky or just ugly. How can you call the owner of the house? I tend ...
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1answer
31 views

A specific way of asking for a meeting?

Can one say "... if you(I) could see me(you) on Friday..." while requesting a meeting?
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1answer
60 views

When we can say “I am begin” [closed]

It's known that we can't say "I am begin" in English because it's gramitically wrong but someone told me that there are some cases where we can use it can anyone tell me what is this cases?
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1answer
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Euphemism/idiom for “… and his friends”

In Spanish, you can say: "Pedro y compañía" (Pedro and company). Which is the same as saying "Pedro and his friends (who always hang out with him)." Is there something similar in English? Note: I ...
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2answers
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Usage of “Go back on your words”

Student to his teacher: "I want to re-test the Maths exam !" Teacher whispered to the Student: " I advise you to go back on your words." Np. Actually the Student got full mark in the Exam. ( ...
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1answer
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“Take more, throw further” - an idiom about a dumb work

There is a saying in Russian, which could be translated as: Take more, throw further, take a rest while it flies Initially, it was applied to a manual digging with a shovel to demonstrate that ...
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1answer
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Life is a healthy respect for mother nature laced with greed

I read such a quote from command line utility fortune $ fortune Life is a healthy respect for mother nature laced with greed. Does that sentence mean that we are greedy to live long?
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1answer
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meaning of 'eat your way to health' [closed]

I read the phrase 'you should be able to eat your way to a healthy hearth' and I don't get the meaning of this. What is the meaning of 'eat your way to health'?
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3answers
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Phrase that means: “it's very [someone] style”?

Example sentence: She suggested we go to an underground rock bar. That __ her. I few options I can think of: "... very becoming of her" and "... was very her." Are these valid options? Or there's ...
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1answer
45 views

“people who puts … their mouth is” vs “people who put … their mouths are”

So you'd say you’re one of those people who puts their money where their mouth is? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theenglishwespeak/2012/06/...
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70 views

If it's ''not your cup of tea'' it's not your cup of tea(idioms usage if can be adjusted)

I've learned from native speakers that you have to pay close attention to how idioms are constructed, meaning they are fixed and one shouldn't change it especially articles and so on. Furthermore, ...
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1answer
28 views

What does 'common twitch' stand for in this statement?

I would like to get to know what the meaning of common twitch is here? Because giving into old temptation is like that common twitch.
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2answers
164 views

to judge something on its own merits

I have looked it up but I am confused because I couldn't discern its meaning. For example Longman Dictionary says : to judge something only on what you see when you look at it rather than on what ...
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1answer
139 views

Meaning of “that's track”

Someone asked a guy about something and I think the answer would be true or false, or yes or no, but the guy said, "That's track." What does it mean?
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2answers
131 views

Idiom for needing to focus on something

Is there an idiom or a phrase people use at work one needs to fully focus on a specific task? Thought I've heard it at work before, but can't think of it right this second..
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1answer
29 views

Idioms- can the one in concern have a literal meaning?

I took a fall and injured myself. Can the phrase ever be used to describe literal falls? I know it has a meaning in boxing, but what I'm asking is if you fell and..let's say you broke your knee, ...
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2answers
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one who says whatever men does is right / men can do this but not women

Similar to Male chauvinist (one who thinks men is superior), what is the word for a person who says, "Men can do this but not women" or "whatever a male does is correct"
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Sweep, sweep up, sweep out

Can you sweep up only objects or places too? And what about sweep out- what's the difference between sweep out and sweep up? Somebody's going to have to sweep up (/out?) all these shards here ...