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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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Meaning of “Be still trucking” [on hold]

I think it means still keep doing a work or continue what you was doing. Is it true or other meaning? Thanks
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1answer
28 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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1answer
22 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
23 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
23 views

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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1answer
28 views

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 ...
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1answer
49 views

What does it mean by “reach for a banana”?

In this video one of the panel said "he is reaching for a banana" after seeing the robot got down on the desk. I thought this would be an idiom or some phrase that would be found in the urban ...
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1answer
43 views

Exceptions to the fixed word order in some idiomatic pairs

As I was taught, the word order in idiomatic pairs is fixed and should be remembered once and for all. So, the position of the words in an idiom pair can't be reversed, and you cannot say (and a ...
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3answers
78 views

Bring forward vs. put forward a proposal

As for the topic of proposal, what is the difference between United Nations must bring forward a proposal to denuclearize South Korea to secure World peace. and United Nations must put forward ...
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1answer
53 views

What does “I'm not sure if I agree.” mean?

I, as a non-native speaker, used the sentence "I'm not sure if I agree." thinking it means that I have a level of uncertainty about where I stand, and apart from that I can lean anywhere, I can even ...
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1answer
39 views

meaning of “I won't let you down” in songs [closed]

I want to know the meaning and also the feeling that is transmitted by the sentence "I won't let you down" in songs. thank you in anticipation
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2answers
35 views

Looking for an expression or idiom for a weak person who can be easily bullied or intimidated

In my native language we have this expression for a weak person - " a low fence " implying that anybody can jump over it. Is there a similar expression or idiom in meaning in English for this type of ...
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1answer
42 views

Can 'fair enough' be used in the literal sense?

I checked similar questions regarding 'fair enough' phrase, it appears that the most frequently used meaning is an agreement with possible reluctance, this corresponds to my understanding of it. In ...
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2answers
183 views

Idioms with pull [closed]

When I read definition of 3 idioms with word pull they seem similar to me. The idioms are: pull someone’s leg, pull a fast one, pull the wool over your eyes. What is the difference in meaning ...
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2answers
44 views

“… he wouldn't come close.” What does it mean?

I feel resentful, especially since it's the man who bring in the money; and even if Bill were the school principal, he wouldn't come close. ● Read more here: I found this via Glenn Sacks. (June 17, ...
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1answer
50 views

Pulling teeth vs Pulling nails

So, my friend said "getting a compliment out of X is like pulling teeth". Somehow I always remembered that expression as "pulling nails with a plier". He pointed that the expression doesn't exists. So ...
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1answer
22 views

“Hold accountable” or “Be charged”?

Can I use the idiom "Hold accountable" without putting someone's name as is required before the word accountable, like instead of this: hold someone accountable (for something), it would be like this: ...
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1answer
33 views

What's the meaning of “what a shock that must have been to her”?

If so, what a shock that must have been to her. "What a/an X" is an exclamation. "must" refers to a necessity. But what's the meaning of the sentence(like sentence above) that combines them together?...
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1answer
23 views

That speaks volumes to me

What does That speaks volumes to me mean? Could you elaborate it in terms of feelings please? For example in a context: This quote speaks volumes to me My guesses are the following but I am ...
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1answer
37 views

from both ends of the spectrum

Let's say you have a girlfriend. As the saying goes, opposites attract, and you want to use this idiom regarding your huge difference from each other: "We are like from both ends of the spectrum, ...
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1answer
32 views

A phrase for “using a word repeatedly”

We all have some phrases which we repeat too much in our conversations. What do we call it when someone uses a word or a sentence again and again?
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1answer
2k views

Going up in smoke vs. going up in flames

The idioms "to go up in smoke" and "to go up in flames" are very similar. They both mean burning and getting destroyed by fire. But if we use them to talk about failure, aren't there any nuances to ...
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1answer
46 views

“Where can I download music for free?” Is “for” a preposition or idiom there?

I read on newspaper. In this sentence: "Where can I download music for free?" is "for" a preposition? If "for" is a preposition, "free" couldn't be a adverb or adjective.
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1answer
38 views

Can “faze out” mean “lose focus”?

Yesterday I was playing a board game with a friend and got lost in thought so much I didn't notice it was my turn. "Sorry, I fazed out", I mumbled, and moved my piece. Did I use "phaze out" in the ...
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1answer
28 views

Is “the tough get going” grammatically wrong?

I see an idiom: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Is there a reason why get in “the tough get going” doesn’t have s?
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0answers
22 views

Replacing the noun in a fixed phrase for it/ the

I need a help with my poor translation of a quote from my native tongue: Instead of keeping both feet on the ground you can sometimes lie down on the ground. I can't stand the word ground ...
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2answers
75 views

What is “fatal facility”?

In this short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald there is a sentence: It was like in the beginning fifteen years ago when they said he had "fatal facility", and he labored like a slave over every ...
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1answer
41 views

I'm all in to <verb> vs. I'm all in ~ing

I know there is an idiom 'be in' to describe someone is totally immersed in something, but I've never seen the usage where that 'something' is described along with the idiom 'be in'. For example, is ...
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8answers
1k views

Idiom - eliminating criminal's associates

Imagine the following situation. A criminal committed a crime (for example a robbery) with several associates. Then he found out that his associates may have been investigated and arrested and they ...
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1answer
83 views

What does “silent rights” and “sound rights” mean?

Scott Fizgerald's short story "Afternoon of an Author" mentions "silent rights" and "sound rights" in regards to copyright. Anyhow he had no more equity in that property — he had sold the silent ...
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1answer
59 views

Work on (doing) something and work at (doing) something

What's the difference between work on and work at, and what's the right way to use them? We're working on/ at our relationship. I need to work on/at my German- it's getting rusty. We're working on/...
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1answer
63 views

Meaning of the idiom “the playing field is far from level”

Here is an article from an exam. Imagine if just anybody could hike up the tallest mountain in the world and be back again in time for dinner, with no special equipment or training needed. Well, ...
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2answers
40 views

As a freelancer, can I call my expensive laptop my bread and butter?

The Free Dictionary website states that the meaning of bread and butter is: noun A vital component of something. Bread and butter, as foodstuffs, are considered basic forms of sustenance. A ...
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2answers
71 views

I wanted to know whether there are some similar English idioms for this Persian Idiom or not?(look at the definition)

There is an idiom in Persian (I translated it in English) and also I wrote its meaning. I wanted to know whether there are some similar English idioms for this Persian Idiom or not? PERSIAN: ...
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1answer
30 views

“Sides remain orbiting Saturn” [closed]

This is idiom of laughing hard, i'm right? Or there any other meaning? It was said after one funny situation.
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1answer
22 views

downplay, play down; downscale, scale down

There are quite a few words that are formed with down/ up either preceding the actual rootword, or as a particle making for a phrasal verb. But does it change the meaning in any way or carry different ...
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1answer
236 views

What does “there's no way around” mean? [closed]

Excerpt from Game Of Thrones, season 7, the unexpected, secret meeting of Lannister brothers: Tyrion and Jaime Lannister. Tyrion: Danaerys will win this war, you are (referring to Jaime) a military ...
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1answer
35 views

constraints on “anything but”

Are these examples are all acceptable and illustrative of the same use of anything but? What constraints, if any, are at work? He looked anything but happy. He did anything but watch TV. (= ? ...
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1answer
70 views

What's the meaning of “If you get a dish, I'll serve you some cold”?

I came across this sentence in the TV-series The Big Bang Theory (S11E09 16min46sec) and I'm very confused. Is it an allusion? But I can't find anything relevant on Google. Here's the context: “...
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2answers
74 views

have a fair crack at all sorts

A young girl says that she's got skills of work as a barman from the previous jobs; she says that now she moved to work in Yorkshire; she's quite proficient and now she "can have a fair crack at all ...
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2answers
53 views

Is “competition” plural or singular?

I was reading through a submitted work by some editor, and I stumbled upon this phrase added... "a little friendly competition never hurt anyone" ...and I was confused at first of why isn't the word ...
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1answer
52 views

“chop five figures off your own invoice”

While reading this article, I didn't quite understand a specific part of the following paragraph. For example, someone might spontaneously volunteer during a job interview that they’ve been ...
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1answer
42 views

Trimming of poorly performing employees

I'd like to understand what does it mean "trimming of poorly performing workers" - Does it mean firing them or some type of punishment?
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1answer
117 views

What is the meaning and usage of “Turtles all the way down”

Can someone please explain the meaning and usage of "Turtles all the way down" in simple words? I read Wikipedia and have some level of understanding of it but was hoping someone would make it ...
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1answer
73 views

To have a funny bone, meaning to have the sense of humor

Since "funny bone" may also mean an inclination to laughter or the sense of humor, what may the phrase denoting the lack of those be, collocating with the "funny bone" idiom? For example, speaking ...
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3answers
227 views

Opposite of “When things go south”

I just wonder about this idiom. When things go south, ... Can I express the opposite way with When things go north, ... ?
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4answers
337 views

Vocabulary to describe a great football (soccer) victory

If a soccer team scores 4 goals while its opponent scores only 1 in a match, how can we describe this kind of victory? What idioms and/or soccer jargon are there?
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4answers
10k views

The meaning of “half woman, half girl”

"It was the same mirror I'd gazed into as a child, then as a girl, then as a youth, half woman, half girl." Educated by Tara Westover What does "half woman" mean? (For example: A ...
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2answers
69 views

What do “the kitchen sink” and “farm” here mean?

I get stuck in understanding the way the author phrases his thoughts in this blog: We’ve already bet the kitchen sink on linear algebra and differential functions, we might as well just go all ...
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5answers
4k views

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is (not?)

I've bumped into the following expression a few times already: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. To me, the correct way to say it would be: If something seems too good to ...