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
2answers
29 views

Is this phrase okay to use to convey bathing with bucket and mug?

In India, most people use this kind of thing for bathing (Shower is for rich people and luxury. Not everyone can afford it here.). A bucket of water and a mug. Now, I want to say that "Yesterday,...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“$5 term for a 25 cents concept”. Is this an idiom?

I just happened to find the phrase on a StackExchange page when searching for the meaning of SME (Subject Matter Expert). But I totally see his point All experts are only expert in their subject ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

“out of sorts” vs “down in the dumps”

Are there any differences in the meaning of or when we use the idioms 'out of sorts' and 'down in the dumps'? The definitions in the Cambridge Dictionary are: out of sorts : in an unhappy mood down ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What does the phrase/idiom “no sacred cow remains untipped” mean?

From Everything You Know about English is Wrong: Now that you know, it's time to, well, bite the mother tongue. William Brohaugh, former editor of Writer's Digest, will be your tour guide on this ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

When you are blamed for no reason in a company

I was wondering whether there is any English proverb, idiom or expression which can be used to describe the situation in which someone behaves in an unfair way to you, for instance by blaming or ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

How do I express three items gracefully?

If you have two things, you can say: One thing is A, the other is B. But is there any word group to describe three things that I have? I can only say with my poor English skills: There are three ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

“I'm caught by the tail.” (I = a tiger) Does the wordplay work? Is it ambiguous?

"catch/have a tiger by the tail" is an idiom we all know. I'm writing some quotes for a character, who is a tiger. Can the tiger say "I'm caught by the tail"? The sentence somewhat ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Is it complete to say “I'm happy to hear”?

Ngram Viewer shows that the sum of all the major possibilities of "I'm happy to hear ..." is still less than "I'm happy to hear." by "major" I mean equal or greater than ...
3
votes
2answers
94 views

What does the idiom 'to give someone away' mean in A Guide to Second Date Sex?

I've got trouble understanding a line from a British rom-com film titled A Guide to Second Date Sex. Sorry, a minor spoiler alert, but there is a scene where Laura, the female protagonist tells about ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

What does “pimpier” mean?

In Neal Brennan's stand up comedy show: Neal Brennan: "How many of you believe, by round of applause, that men actually wanna get married? And yet you force us to do it... without shame or ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Idiom's tense when writing a novel in past tense

If the novel is written in past tense, what tense should the idioms be when they are used by the narrator? For example, consider the following passage: The fight was over. John stood over the ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

When the speaker's voice keeps connection and disconnecting on a phone call

I was wondering whether the bold phrase below sounds idiomatic in English. If not, please let me know whether there is any fixed phrase / expression to substitute for the that: A) Do you hear me? B) ...
1
vote
1answer
20 views

How to express “a(n) option/solution/way when there's no option/solution/way”?

Chinese "不是 办法 的 办法" or "没有 办法 的 办法" (they're totally interchangeable) are commonly used oxymoron. How to express this meaning properly even rhetorically in English? 不是= not, be ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

“Come out of the closet” in a non-standard way?

These anonymous posters should come out of the closet and reveal their public identities. I am wondering if it's acceptable to use the expression without making any sexual implications, or if that ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Understanding sentences from The Ferryman

I'm having trouble understanding of this passage from The Ferryman (Jez Butterworth) What are the meanings of these sentences according to the passage: "get a bead on", "I’m a ways past ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

general questions version of “no such thing as”

The phrase "no such thing as" can be used to emphasize that something does not exist or is not possible. In contrast, the expression "very much so" is an emphatic way of answering '...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

How to express “favorable presumption”?

I remember there's an English idiom, but I can't recall it clearly. That idiom says if you feel uncertain about whether someone's performance is good or lousy, you might as well give him/her more ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

“Learn the ropes” when do we use this idiom?

Can I use this idiom when I talk about “studying”? For example: I’m going to Canada to study and learn the ropes of English. It doesn’t seem right to me, but I don't know.
20
votes
9answers
5k views

What's the English saying for “That the ancestors are successful is inferior to that the descendants are successful”?

There goes a Chinese maxim "前人 强 不如 后人 强". 前人= former generation, ancestor; 后人= later generation, descendant; 强= strong, powerful; 不如= not as good/well as, inferior to, less desirable than. ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

When do we say “move it” and When do we say “move out of the way”?

This was the context I saw. A kid has been attending in an English speaking school in Vietnam (a non-English country) since the 1st grade. I am pretty sure that he can speak Vietnamese very well. His ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

“Pull someone's leg” Vs “Put someone on”

I was wondering if there is any difference between the idiom "pull someone's leg" and the phrasal verb "put somebody on". The Cambridge Dictionary says to put someone on means: To try to persuade ...
0
votes
1answer
18 views

Either look or looking

Is the following sentence wrong? He had lost a ring in the sand and I help him search for it but it was like a look for a needle in a haystack. To me it sounds very awkward, though "look" means "...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

How do I ask for the buzzer code when I move to a new apartment

I am moving to a new apartment this weekend and I need to go to a person who mostly likely is sitting in the lobby of the apartment and works for the apartment for the buzzer code that can connect to ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

What are some common expressions with brick Lego when talking to a child, e.g, “to put a pyramid together”, “to take the pyramid apart”?

What are some common expressions with brick Lego when talking to a child? For example, Can we say "to put a pyramid together", "to take the pyramid apart", and "to build / make a pyramid with ...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Come to think of it vs Now that I think about it

Are 'now that I think about it' and 'come to think of it' used in the same way. According to a dictionary: 1) Come to think of it is used for adding something that you have just remembered about a ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

What's the meaning of “On a hot skillet with beans”?

Shang Tsung: Would you consider serving a sorcerer? Erron Black: On a hot skillet with beans, maybe. Shang Tsung: I will not extend the offer twice. resouce: https://mortalkombat.fandom.com/wiki/...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Metaphorical reference to someone bad to doing good and being praised more than a good person

I'd like to point out the following phenomenon that frequently occurs in the daily life. Take a mischief, culprit, someone unreliable and well-known to be a lousy piece of manure. Basically a bad ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

“See (someone) back” is idiom?

Well, I guess you might think that, but when I saw it back then it was anything but boring! Am I right that "saw (someone) back" is idiom? Why is but used before boring? Maybe, it should be ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

“Rip-off central” or?

I wonder what I should call a (market / bazar / shopping center, etc) where things are sold much more expensive than they worth and usually salespeople rip off whoever wants to purchase something ...
-2
votes
1answer
34 views

“Deep down inside” Vs “In one's stomach”

I am going to imply that I have a feeling which doesn't let me believe something can be absolutely true (I have some doubts in my mind whether it is true or still I should not believe it completely.) ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Is saying “she was but 15 years old” grammatically correct and idiomatic?

She was but 15 years of age. Is this grammatically correct? For more context: Lavitsia sighed. As diligent as she was, she was but 15 years of age and attending to his maladies had become more ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

“Get an eye for somebody” VS “Eyeing someone”

1) Lucas is totally into you. Whenever a guy buys something so expensive it means he .......... 2) We are just friends Nancy. Why are you looking at me that way?! 1) Me and you both know the ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Meaning of “C’mon that segue tho.”

I am translating a Youtube video to Spanish; I am fairly comfortable with standard English but I have found an expression that I am not sure how to understand. Of course, I do not want the translation ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Does the following sound natural: “Please hold the bottle upright! Don't tip it upside down as you might spill water in the stroller”?

A child's sitting in a stroller holding a bottle of water without a cap. Is it natural to say to the child: "Please hold the bottle upright! Don't tip it upside down as you might spill water in ...
3
votes
1answer
38 views

Does being ''carried away'' mean to do something unintentional?

Does it mean that you've lost control of yourself that you'II do things you didn't mean to do?
0
votes
0answers
18 views

What's the alternative to “laugh track” for particular phrases?

What's the alternative to "laugh track" for particular phrases? For example: He repeatedly played "I choose you Pikachu" track on his laptop, which annoyed me. It doesn't sound right, but I am ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

Idiom for from difficult situation to worse situation

Is there an idiom that we can refer to say " going through from tough times to tougher(worst) times" My own creation: From boiling oil to fire. Something like this.
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Is “in her pride she sat” grammatical and idiomatic?

Is "in her pride she sat" grammatical and idiomatic? In her pride, she sat quietly and observed the loudmouths around her. She stood there quietly in her pride. She isolated herself from ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

special meaning of ramp

I read an article recently online that is about the effect of coronavirus pandemic. One of men said in an interview that "As restaurants come back online, we're anxious to see what that ramp is," "You ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

“Moral person” Vs “Someone who lives a moral life”

I was wondering how these two are different from the meaning viewpoint? He / she is a moral person. He / she lives a moral life. Do they exactly mean the same? If not, how they differ? P.S. I have ...
0
votes
1answer
15 views

A better way to say “at the infringement of which”?

Require users to get a proper permit at the infringement of which they will be put into prison. I am pretty sure it's not grammatical, or is it? Anyway, is there a better way to say this? I can't ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

can do worse than . .

Does it make sense literally to say the following? You can do worse than ask John for advice. What does "can" mean here? I know it's used to make a suggestion, but I want to know if the meaning ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Do justice to the film's name

Example: The director added a scene with a dinosaur to do justice to the film's name (Jurassic Park Armageddon). It was the only scene with a dinosaur funnily enough. I am not sure if I am ...
4
votes
4answers
816 views

What's the meaning of “a remainder (viruses) that cannot ever be re-integrated into the subordinate moment of a higher level of life”?

... a remainder that cannot ever be re-integrated into the subordinate moment of a higher level of life. I know the meanings of the words individually but I can not understand the meaning of the ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

What is the meaning of “wound up” in this context

Max: Hmm. Ben’s been gone a while. Well, I guess he can’t get into too much trouble out here. Gwen: Unless he wound up bear food. (Max frowns at her) Hey, I can dream, can’t I?
0
votes
0answers
17 views

How to express “to pressing random different keys or buttons on a mobile phone”?

Your 2-year-old child is holding your mobile phone and he is pressing randomly different keys or buttons on your phone. chaotically adverb /keɪˈɒtɪkli/ /keɪˈɑːtɪkli/ ​in a completely confused ...
0
votes
1answer
15 views

“Stay / sleep for the night” VS “Stay / sleep overnight”

What is the difference between: a. stay / sleep overnight b. stay / sleep for the night c. stay / sleep for one night Just in order to clarify what I need, I made up two examples. Please let ...
1
vote
1answer
454 views

Is it ok to say “play well ok boy!” when you want your child to play with his toys comfortably and quietly without bothering you?

well: 1 SATISFACTORILY in a successful or satisfactory way Did you sleep well? James reads quite well for his age. All the team played very well today. Simon doesn’t work well ...
0
votes
1answer
159 views

Meaning of “broken shell of a man”

Rachel: So, got any advice? Y'know, as someone who's recently been- dumped? Ross: Well, you may wanna steer clear of the word 'dumped'. Chances are he's gonna be this, this broken shell of a man
-1
votes
1answer
30 views

“inside out” vs “ins and outs”

Are there any differences in the meaning of or when we use the idioms 'inside out' and 'ins and outs'? The definitions in Cambridge English Dictionary are: ins and outs : the details or facts ...

1
2 3 4 5
32