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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0
votes
1answer
8 views

“A person who always pays their debts late” VS “Someone who always pays their debts on time”

I was wondering if there is any word / idiom / expression to define someone who borrows money from relatives and friends and pays them always late. I know the words: Deadbeat Welcher But they tend ...
-1
votes
1answer
16 views

“Occupy one's mind” vs “Preoccupy someone” vs “Prey on one's mind”

Imagine something gets so important to you that takes up your mind and occupies your thoughts in the manner that you constantly think about it. A) Ana, what James told me at the party last night has .....
0
votes
2answers
146 views

Is “bleed in a red” idiomatic?

Is "bleed in a red" idiomatic? His body bled in a bright red before losing consciousness due to blood loss. I almost find no instance of such a usage. Is this unidiomatic? I am pretty sure ...
3
votes
1answer
16 views

Using “in” in “Follow in someone's footsteps”

Is it necessary to use "in" in this idiom? Follow in someone's footsteps.
1
vote
2answers
33 views

“What goes around comes around” and its phrasal verbs

The phrase What goes around comes around means the someone's behaviour towards other people will amount to their behavior towards this man or woman (akin to the Karma principle or the Bible you reap ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

What's the meaning of this Idiom? “Slippery Slope” [closed]

She realized he was on the slippery slope towards a life of crime. Help me to figure out the meaning of that Idiom. Some other example can help me most.
1
vote
2answers
59 views

What is the meaning of “on the cusp of being under 30”?

I came across this dialogue between two members on here: A: Are you under 30? [...] B: I'm just on the cusp of being under 30 so [...] This got me confused because it's unclear if the person is ...
28
votes
6answers
5k views

Why do we pluralize “congratulations” when we say it?

I just thought about this today. Normally when something good happened to some friend we would say "congratulations" to them but we make it plural, instead of "congratulation". I ...
-1
votes
1answer
43 views

What does “a little less himself” mean here?

I am wondering what "a little less himself" means in the following sentences: I notice Will and Dad sizing each other up surreptitiously. In Dad’s company, oddly, Will seems a little ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Idiom for saying that someone is very dear to me?

I'm looking for an idiom which means someone is very dear to me. It could be used instead of the following expression in bold, for example. I can't let my daughter marry a stranger! I didn't find her ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Who cut the coat - an idiom, a metaphor?

Frequently I have to ask myself in the street for the name of the man I bowed to just now, and then, before I can answer, the wind of the first corner blows him from my memory. I have a theory, ...
0
votes
6answers
2k views

Does “long on brains” means 'be smart' or 'having many smart people'? [closed]

long on brains Does this mean 'be smart' or 'having many smart people'? One dictionary says 'long' means 'having or being more than normal or necessary'.
0
votes
0answers
27 views

How can I say that I perfectly know a subject even because it is not a very broad one?

There are two subjects, one is very broad and the other is not so broad, I would say for example that the Italian grammar is a subject wider than the English grammar. What is an idiomatic expression ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

'Never caused hassle' - does it 'break' an idiom?

Is the sentence 'She never caused hassle' correct? If so, does it sound unnatural? 'She never caused any hassle' seems like a much more common choice and I do not know if the rarity of the former (in ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

What does the expression “go the pace” mean?

I'm reading a novel written at the beginning of the XX century and I've come across this sentence: Half paralysed, over head and ears in debt, having gone the pace all his life--or so they said!--till ...
22
votes
8answers
4k views

Idiom for “not doing something that makes oneself look more awkward” in an already awkward situation?

Is there an idiom meaning "not to do something that makes oneself look more awkward" in an already awkward situation? For example: "We'd better say nothing [or keep silent] so that we ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

I'll call it a week

I work in a multi-national company and I've heared this sentence a lot from non-native speakers on Fridays. I'll call it a week. I'm not a native speaker, but to my ears it's only natural to say: I'...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

“Back in the day” vs “back in the days”

Is there any difference between the two idioms back in the day and back in the days? Most of the free online dictionaries only give the version with day, but I have certainly seen native English ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

all the more reason

I've been appointed as leader of this section. This is all the more reason I should tighten my grip on the work I do. I wonder if the relationship between the two bold lines is logical. If you plainly ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Why not “the dog has eaten my homework”?

Why do we say "The dog ate my homework" without the perfect present? I know the perfect present is used to describe an action in the past that influences the present (an explicit call to ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Announcing pregnancy to a friend as aunt or uncle

In Spanish (at least in Colombia) I have heard that when announcing a pregnancy to a close friend, sometimes it can be said to "you will be aunt/uncle" due to the close relationship between ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

reach out to someone

Could you make me clear of the meaning of "in order to help or involve them?" as the definition of <.reach out to somebody.>? to try to communicate with a person or a group of people,...
26
votes
4answers
8k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
35 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 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?
0
votes
0answers
34 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.
1
vote
3answers
78 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.
0
votes
1answer
24 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?
0
votes
1answer
38 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
53 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?
2
votes
1answer
37 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

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 '...
0
votes
1answer
43 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
20 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
23 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
50 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
27 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
27 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
29 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....
0
votes
0answers
16 views

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....
0
votes
2answers
34 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
35 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?
1
vote
2answers
186 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
36 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
37 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
36 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’...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

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?

1
2 3 4 5
34