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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2
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1answer
239 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 ...
16
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4answers
3k views

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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1answer
26 views

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
41 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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0answers
22 views

What does "all right" mean when placed at the end of a sentence?

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 ...
2
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1answer
45 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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0answers
24 views

Get one's hands on Scabbers [closed]

Are you trying to say you broke out of Azkaban just to get your hands on Scabbers? My question pertains to the use of the idiom "get one's hands on". It means to get or find something. ...
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2answers
32 views

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
20 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
982 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
21 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 ...
1
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1answer
34 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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1answer
58 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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1answer
28 views

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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2answers
26 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
32 views

I want to learn the origin of the phrase "as good as one's word"

I would like to know how the phrase "as good as one's word". I figured out the meaning of that phrase, but I can't understand how or why it can be made. The word "word" means a ...
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0answers
49 views

Change the language of a website to/into English

Let's say I am looking at a website with a friend. The website is shown in a language other than English. Can I say these two sentences interchangeably to my friend if I want him to select "...
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2answers
47 views

“One’s favourite”: Why “one’s”? [closed]

Brooke Candy “FMU” is my favourite song. But it’s still Brooke’s song. Why can’t I call Brooke’s song which is my favourite “Brooke’s favourite song”? It’s sort of collocation that a possessive ...
0
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1answer
24 views

What is the right way to ask a customer to wait till his/her food is prepared at the table?

The problem I face when creating this sentence is that the idioms wait on/at a table mean to serve food and drinks. How can I make a sentence where I am the cashier at a cafe and I want to ask the ...
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0answers
40 views

Is "raise a specter of doubt" an incorrect use of the idiom?

Warning, major spoilers for "Gone Girl" by David Fincher. First a little bit of background/reminder. This is a sentence I've got troubles with. Meticulously stage a crime scene, with just ...
0
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1answer
36 views

Bringing up an unpleasant topic

I'm new here so I hope I am doing this right. I heard a phrasal verb (or an idiom, not sure) months ago, but I can't remember what it was and it's driving me crazy. Worse thing is I can't even ...
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1answer
28 views

Is there any synonymous idiom or phrase for "a win-win situation"

This is the passage: but this situation is a win-win game for the system cause if the prisoners can post a bail they had benefited the system with their money and if they can’t they again had ...
0
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2answers
38 views

Can we really put as well not only in the end of the sentence?

My question is a bit similar to this discussion: use-of-as-well-in-the-beginning-of-a-sentence. However, I still didn't get a clear answer to the related problem. I want the firm answer whether it's ...
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2answers
51 views

"As plain as the nose on one's face" VS "Stand/stick out a mile"

I was wondering if the following idioms mean exactly the same thing: Be (as) plain as the nose on your face: to be very obvious. stand/stick out a mile: to be very obvious or easy to see. Example: a....
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1answer
28 views

at the top of one's lungs vs out of his lungs

This time he came with her, his breath screaming out of his lungs, his body straining upward as he let go and finally emptied himself into her. I heard "out of his lungs" isn't the same as ...
2
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1answer
282 views

American equivalent of "no worries"?

From my understanding, "no worries" is one way to reply a polite apology. For example, it's something I can say when someone tells me that he or she would be late because of something ...
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1answer
40 views

"spend a small fortune” vs “pay through the nose”

Are there any differences in the meaning of or when we use the idioms 'spend a small fortune' and 'pay through the nose'? The definitions in the Cambridge Dictionary are: a small fortune: a large ...
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1answer
20 views

like the back of their hand or like the back of their hands

Should "hand" go in the plural in this idiom "like the back of their hand(s)"? Grammarly corrects me to use the plural, but I doubt it. I think it's the doubt of the same origin as ...
11
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6answers
4k views

Does this make sense to a native speaker? "despite the real Jones is living in a cave!"

The full sentence is this: Most of the people just wanna keep up with the Joneses, despite the real Jones is living in a cave! I heard this out the mouth of a non-native speaker. He wanted to ...
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1answer
30 views

Leave something (behind) somewhere

**Leave something behind**: to leave a place without taking something with you: We left in a hurry and I must have left my keys behind. Now I need to include "home" within the idiom! I ...
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1answer
14 views

"Have a hard time" VS "Barely manage"

I want to indicate that someone has gone through a lot of difficulties to achieve an academic degree because he / she wasn't studious enough or was not smart enough to pass their exams. I wonder if ...
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1answer
22 views

"Calm down" VS "Get calm" [closed]

After a series of bad events, my life is just ............. and I want to maintain that peace. a.getting calm (this is the correct answer here, but I need to make sure whether there is a better idiom ...
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0answers
19 views

"Keep it together" VS "Pull oneself together" in AE

Based on dictionary definitions, the following two idioms mean more or less the same thing: "Keep it together:" to remain calm, composed, and self-possessed, especially despite or in the ...
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3answers
57 views

Is it acceptable to say “fix somebody”?

I have a problem supposed to be fixed, and I need someone to fix the problem. (Problem about my typos) In this case, can I say “could you fix me” instead of “could you fix my writings”?
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1answer
28 views

lived happily ever after this day?

The prince lived happily ever after this day. Lived happily ever after is an idiom, so I am wondering if you can combine "lived happily ever after" with "this day" or any other ...
11
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7answers
5k views

Explain "You People" please

I heard this phrase in Tropic Thunder. This isn't the first time I've seen a character in a movie/TV show use you people and be accused of racism for it. If I remember correctly, this also appears in ...
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0answers
19 views

Rolled over with lots of work?

I got an email from someone and he said he replied to the email because... I got rolled over with lots of work. I searched for it on Google and dictionaries but could not find a suitable definition ...
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1answer
21 views

Is "to say something from someone" an English idiom? [closed]

I would like to know if it is acceptable to say something like... You shouldn't be saying that from your wife! Or How can you say such a thing from your friend? I know that "of" and &...
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1answer
32 views

"to deserve the chair" meaning in the following conversation

This is the sequence of the movie that I'm talking about. The meaning of the last sentence is pretty obscure to me, I understand what "for some he deserves a medal" means, but I don't get ...
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1answer
168 views

"broom her fast" meaning

What does "broom her" mean? Ive encountered to this quite peculiar term while watching spider man series. This expression takes place in the dialogue between norman osborn and his son harry. ...
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0answers
43 views

"Make a pass at someone" Vs "Hit on someone"

I would appreciate it if someone could let me know what is the usual AE idiom which is used when someone is going to sweet talk to a female in order to persuade her to making friends and starting a (...
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2answers
25 views

Natural ways to mean someone is stalling another

Example: If a woman is asked to get married and tries to get time to answer because she feels insecure but doesn't want to say it. I could tell she's stalling the man. But if I wanted to sound more ...
0
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1answer
40 views

What does "married to the former Jane Doe" means?

From the back cover of Henry Kissinger's Diplomacy book: Dr. Kissinger is married to the former Nancy Maginnes and is the father of two children by a previous marriage. What does "is married to ...
0
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1answer
21 views

Informal alternative words for scold

"Scold" is an old-fashioned word for the expression of speaking someone angrily because you disapprove of their behavior. Then, after looking up in Merriam Webster, it came up lots of ...
2
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1answer
36 views

Meaning of "now that the blood had gone out of them"

‘Where have you been all day?’ said Philip. ‘I waited for you. Let’s go out and eat.’ ‘I’m going on the train. Tonight.’ ‘Wait another couple of days. We’ll fly back.’ She shook her head. The music ...
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1answer
31 views

Meaning of "just leave in the images..."

She walked down the neon streets, and up again, and found her way back to the hotel. It was dark. He was lying on the bed watching a band on television. A girl was sitting at the dressing table, also ...
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1answer
29 views

What does "the heel that she snaps" mean?

In Runaway Jury (2003), plaintiff attorney, Rohr and Ranking Fitch, a jury consultant of the defendants, the gun manufacturers discuss about the victim, Jacob Wood: Rankin Fitch: What do you hope to ...
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1answer
24 views

like you murdered your own mother [closed]

Two people are talking : A: How's it going with the inquiry and everything? B: The way things usually go. They make you feel like you murdered your own mother. I wanna is this an idiom or the guy ...
0
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0answers
14 views

illegal under X or illegal in X?

These subsidies are illegal under the WTO. These subsidies are illegal in the WTO. The first sounds better, but I am not sure if it's correct since the WTO is an organization and now a law. Is there ...
-1
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1answer
30 views

In "knock yourself out cold" what cold means? [closed]

I know the meaning of "knock yourself out" but don't find a meaning for cold that makes sense here, what is this phrase implying?

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