We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.

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
29 views

What is the significance of 1st of October?

In the song Paper Planes, there's a passage as quoted below. My name is Olushola, I just got off my visa I live everyday like it's the first of October I wonder what the significance of the 1st ...
0
votes
0answers
13 views

Idiom: It follows that

Since non-count nouns like "sugar" take singular verb agreement it follows that the verb must be the singular "has". How do you parse the structure of it? Does "it" serve as a dummy subject, with the ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

What's the plural of “that x of a y”?

But that did not solve his problem, his mother's birthday was next week, he had counted on Arsenal beating Manchester and if that idiot of a referee had not awarded that idiotic penalty. I am ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

Can 'get stuffed' be used in a more literal way, instead of 'stuff oneself' (with food, for example)?

'I'm starving! I'm going to go to Chick-fil-A and get stuffed', does it sound okay to a native's ear? British people would use it in a whole different sense but maybe a literal usage of that phrase ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Why to say “A little bird told me it was the best hotel in this city at that time” and “In a pig's eye”? [duplicate]

what means "A little bird told me it was the best hotel in this city at that time" and "In a pig's eye"? --A little _____ told me it was the best hotel in this city at that time. --In a _____ eye. ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “Are you a man or a mouse?” [closed]

Today, my teacher gave me an assignment to write down a conversation using the phrase: Are you a man or a mouse? I don't know what that phrase means, can you please help me with this?
1
vote
1answer
37 views

are “go or walk barefoot”, “go on foot”, “walk in bare feet” the same? what about “go on bare foot”, “go or walk with your bare feet”?

Ok, in the dictionary, we say We came on foot (= we walked). Source walking around the house in bare feet (= not wearing shoes or socks) Source barefoot: adjective,adverb: not wearing anything on ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Making one's own word / opinion the one that counts

I am looking for an idiom/expression which implies defeating the opponent in a debate / an argument / a discussion and making one's own word / opinion the one that counts. I know the idiom "have the ...
2
votes
4answers
70 views

To beat someone in a competition/debate/etc in a humiliating way

What is the most common informal/casual idiom / expression / verb to imply making someone feel defeated in a humiliating way in AE? For instance, let's say two youngsters are playing soccer against ...
3
votes
1answer
37 views

Idiom for a doctor telling a patient that he's terminally ill

Suppose a doctor is telling his patient that he is terminally ill and he's got only a few months to live. I assume this kind of situation can be described concisely with this form, A doctor is X-...
3
votes
4answers
52 views

Idiom using the metaphore of “shouting in the dark” & English equivalent

In Czech, we say something is a "shout in the dark" when you do something without expecting it to fulfill the purpose (usually, it's used when someone is pushing for a change and gets no response). Is ...
0
votes
0answers
3 views

Can I say “empower toward”?

This is a one line description about how I am trying to describe my work. However afraid the grammar is not correct and can't find anything about it on the web. "Empowering teams toward efficient &...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

“Close/shut one's eyes to sth” VS “Turn a blind eye to sth”

I was wondering what is the difference between these two phrases. For me, they both mean very similar and I cannot differentiate between them. For more clarification, let me provide you with an ...
0
votes
1answer
13 views

To think…I think

I am wondering if this is the correct usage To think I thought I had seen everything when she slipped on her own spit, I think I cannot be surprised anymore. I am wondering if this is the only ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

What does “take a nap between the snoozing lion and lamb” means?

This phrase is from the below paragraph in the book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. The book has a number of personal roots. One is that, having had ...
1
vote
2answers
41 views

What's the origin of “price of fish”?

I heard an old song by Scooter where he sings "How much is the fish?", realizing that it sounds so irrelevant and stupid that it might be something idiomatic with it. Turns out it's an expression ...
2
votes
2answers
40 views

Is “button down” a real idiom?

I was watching a former Watergate prosecutor interview on CNN and heard the following passage: one of the things that the House Judiciary Committee, the House Intelligence Committee absolutely ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

“March to the beat of one's own drum” Positive or Negative

In the view of the dictionary definition, the idiom "March to the beat of one's own drum, is more or less something negative which has a connotation of being inattentive, inconsiderate or reckless and ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

“Go Back to square one” VS “Go back to the drawing board”

I am going to say: In spite of all my efforts, I couldn't pass the final exam and I have to attend all these sessions from the beginning again and start everything from the outset! The same old ...
1
vote
2answers
35 views

What is the equivalent idiom for the German “Existenzberechtigung”?

"Existenzberechtigung" is a German word used to assert something has a reason/justification to exist, but most often used negated to say something has no reason to exist / should not exist because it ...
1
vote
2answers
735 views

What does the phrase “The horse has left the barn” mean?

What does the phrase "The horse has left the barn" mean? I'm asking this question because I was watching the live testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire before a ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

“Give someone the cold shoulder” VS “Snub someone”

As The Free Dictionary says: To give somebody the cold shoulder: - To intentionally appear disinterested toward one; to snub. This phrase usually refers to the act of ignoring someone. Example: ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Why are the poor duck and the goose targetted in a derogatory sense In English?

He is a lame duck Becoming a doctor is a wild goose chase. you bloody goose He was out for a duck or golden duck. These are some of the terms associated with duck and geese ...
1
vote
3answers
38 views

What is omitted in the idiom “do somebody good”?

An example sentence: "Exercising regularly would do you good." Is a word such as "things", is omitted in this idiom? ("Exercising regularly would do you good (things).") I don't get why an adjective(...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

What does “racking my sack” mean?

Here is a dialogue from the movie Dumb And Dumber: 1: I wonder what's in this sucker. 2: That thing is worth a fortune! Be careful! 3: It would be nice to know what's in it, though. ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Why, speaking of a colonoscopy, does it say “they put it up your bottom” and not “they put it up through your bottom”?

This is a piece of dialogue about a colonoscopy from the series "Outnumbered" s03e03: — Yes, but how does it get inside your insides? — Well, they put it up your bottom. Why not "they put it ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Can we use “all manners of” in this particular way?

The definition of the phrase is as follows: all kinds or sorts of (things or people) It seems to be used when you have a lot of things or people of different kinds, so can it be used in the ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

I want to make friendship with you

I know that to make friends with somebody is idiomatic in English. But in India I hear people saying I want to make friendship with you I think native speakers do not accept make friendship with ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

“Literally” Vs “In the true sense of the word”

The Cambridge and other dictionaries say that "literally" can be used as an emphasis on something. But there is another term: "in the true sense of the word", which to mea has a quite similar meaning ...
-1
votes
2answers
59 views

What does the phrase 'a punch above your weight' in the sentence ''Get a punch above your weight mug for your mother-in-law Helena''mean?

What does the phrase 'a punch above your weight' in the sentence ''Get a punch above your weight mug for your mother-in-law Helena''mean? I have found in Urban Dictionary that 'to punch above your ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Does 'getting ages' idiomatically sound natural?

We're usually taught (in Korea) to say getting old to describe that something/someone is aging, but I found out this can sound unnecessarily exaggerated as if it's running out of its lifespan. To tone ...
1
vote
2answers
101 views

How to ask someone (e.g. my kid) idiomatically to “hurry up” when he/she is dilatory?

When, for example, your kid is dilatory and we are running out of time, how to express "hurry up"? I'm not asking how to educate kids, that is another story. I wonder how do Americans or British ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

How to ask someone idiomatically if he/she feels hot or cold?

I'm not a native English user, so when I want to ask someone if he/she feels hot / cold, I will ask the question as per the grammar: Are you hot? Are you cold? But I wonder how do Americans or ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

An idiom to mean: to accept / expand someone's statements in formal speech

Let's assume you and someone else (say: Dr. Adam) are giving speech in a meeting. Dr. Adam says something and after his remarks and statements, you'd like to say: I accept Dr. Adam's statements ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

“Keep track of crime to someone” – meaning

The Bear and the Dragon (a novel by T. Clancy): “They listened in on them for the occasional traffic accident, perhaps involving a big shot, and mainly to keep a finger on the pulse of Moscow, whose ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

“All in all” VS “Altogether” VS “By and large”

Please consider these terms: a. By and large b. all in all c. altogether I am not quite sure which one of the can be used for which sense below: A total number / amount A summary of what you ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

American Equivalent for “roll on something”

Roll on something As you perhaps know, Britons tend to use this term to imply how much they like something happen and when they wish a specific time or event would come more quickly. Example: ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

“The way I see it”

For example, I'd say "The way I see it, you catch on quick". I wondered, "the way" in themselves are Nouns but then how come do they function as an Adverb in this idiom? I mean, if it were "In the ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

A proverb / saying that says: keep away from people because they have potential to harm you

I am looking for a derogatory proverb including a negative approach toward social associations that conveys the meassage that it would be better to stay away from most of the people! Because many of ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

<Go down on bended knee> Vs <Kneel> Vs <Kneel down>

I was wondering what is the difference between the following items: a. to go down on bended knee b. to kneel c. to kneel down To go down on bended knee - In a position in which the knee of one ...
1
vote
1answer
18 views

An idiom for “as far as it is related to me,…”

Scenario #1: Let's suppose a top student is going to give a speech at school and would like to express his gratitude to his teacher for all his efforts in one educational year. I was wondering how he ...
4
votes
1answer
316 views

An idiom for “Until you punish the offender, they will not give up offenses”

In writing I've come across an idiom of my language that means: Until you punish the offender, they will not give up offenses. What is the English idiom for this? Let me add some explanation to ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Grate on someone's ears / nerves

What does the sentence below mean? His voice grates on my ears. His voice grates on my nerves. Please have a look on Longman's definition below: To grate on (to annoy someone):  - Mr ...
1
vote
1answer
18 views

“Hoarseness” Vs “frog in one's throat”

Do the two expressions/idioms: to have a frog in one's throat to be hoarse mean the same thing or they have different connotations and usages? If they differ I wonder if you kindly let me know ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

When a youth's voice becomes “manly”

I wonder how would you talk about a voice breaking in young males - around the age of puberty? This is when they lose their high-pitched voices and start to produce deeper sounds. What shall I say: ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

What does 'the devil knows what" mean in this sentence?

I am translating a story but I couldn't find the right words for "the devil knows what” in these sentences. Can anyone explain this a little? Maybe that can give me some ideas. This is the full ...
2
votes
2answers
359 views

When one problem is added to the previous one

Let's assume has a big problem and is dealing with it. While he has not solved the first problem, another problem comes up and adds to the previous one. I wonder how you would explain this situation ...
3
votes
9answers
942 views

To get so rich that you are not in need of anymore money

I wonder if there is an informal idiom to say that someone made so much money that became needless of any more money and retired themselves (meaning that from then on they work only for fun / pleasure ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

at a loss (meaning) [closed]

I would like to know the meaning of "at a loss" in the following context. I had a friend, a girl. One day I asked her to stop being friends. So she sent me a message saying: "Only God will know ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

To include something in your daily routine/plans/schedule/timetable

Let's imagine someone is giving some pieces of advice to a person who is looking for some hobbies for their leisure time. He says: Have you ever read about the benefits of reading books?! Did ...