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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1answer
36 views

What does “golden fingers” mean?

I've come across the term "golden fingers" in a book, in the following context: Timing recovery has long been perceived as a field in which 'golden fingers' and intimate familiarity with ...
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1answer
17 views

be on a hiding to nothing

The "to" in the idiom "be on a hiding to nothing" means "or." I'd like to know whether it is found in other expressions.
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2answers
17 views

An idiom or expression to describe feeling slack

I am looking for an idiom or expression to describe feeling slack to do things (not due to physical tiredness necessarily, but it can also be because of a lack of enthusiasm and motivation). I think ...
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2answers
265 views

What is the difference between “split the money” and “go dutch”?

I refuse to be treated tonight; let's ( ________ ). a. ante up b. split the money c. go dutch d. up the snakes e. divide out I can't figure out what to choose between "split the money" ...
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Are both “enjoying ᴛʜᴇ sun” and “enjoying sun” completely acceptable and fully equivalent?

I know that enjoying the sun is appropriate in this sentence: We passed by the harbor where some kids were taking a dip and other people were enjoying the sun. But I have noticed that just plain sun ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the joke in this context? (a “spring” in my step)

This conversation is from a tv series, Modern Family, and Manny(boy) comes into a room looking cheerful and talks to his step-father (Jay). Manny: Hey Jay! Have you noticed a spring in my step? Jay: ...
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3answers
69 views

The dust (settle or settles)

There is the idiom "the dust settle(s)" which is used to indicate that after an argument or big change, the situation becomes calmer. The question is that why the verb "settle" ...
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0answers
15 views

“I wouldn’t say no” VS “I wouldn’t mind (it)”

For me the two expressions "I wouldn't say no" and "I wouldn’t mind(it)" (where "it" as an optional pronoun can be omitted) mean more or less the same thing and most of ...
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1answer
32 views

Describing two people who are absolutely disproportionate in size

I need an idiom / expression / simile in AmE which can indicate a major difference between a couple / two people when they are not at all similar in size (when one of these two is much smaller than ...
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0answers
23 views

Do Idioms such as “all the more” function as adjectives or adverbs?

All the more reason to value these beautiful little creatures and their habitat, right? (From TOEFL) In the sentence above, I think "all the more" is functioning as an adjective. In Merriam-...
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6answers
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How to say “говорящее название/фамилия”(speaking name) in English? [duplicate]

There is an idiom "говорящая фамилия" in Russian("speaking surname"). This means a last name that has a meaning. We could translate, for example, "Иван Кошкин" to "...
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1answer
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Is working oneself grey an idiom?

In the Broken Angels sci-fi book by Richard Morgan, I found the following sentence: Wardani worked herself grey. Wardani is the name of a woman. The general sense should be that she worked a lot, ...
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1answer
13 views

Chase for/after x

He played basketball alone in the park to chase after new friendship. He played basketball alone in the park to chase for new friendship. None of them sound particularly correct, but I can't think of ...
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1answer
22 views

Is there any difference between “out of the picture” and “out of the equation”?

For example, is there any difference between the following sentences: With your ex out of the picture, we can finally start dating. With your ex out of the equation, we can finally start dating. In ...
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3answers
109 views

“to be in a shape of” or “to have a shape of” dinosaur

Which phrase, if any, of the following, is correct with regard to each single element of my puzzle design: element has a shape of a dinosaur element is in the shape of a dinosaur element is of the ...
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1answer
35 views

Are there any differences between “a slew of” and “a lot of”?

I looked them up in the dictionary and it seems they both means a large number of something. Somebody on the Internet says that a slew of can only be used to refer a lot of people, which I don't agree ...
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1answer
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the meaning of “Hit the ground”

what's the meaning of this sentence in "Billie Eilish - She's Broken": "You see them talking but hear no sound to hit the ground"
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2answers
24 views

What does “said of somebody” mean?

I'm reading a piece of news and found this sentence. “Well I haven’t said it was her, but she’s outstanding,” Trump said of the Indiana federal judge. What does this sentence mean? I'm a little ...
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1answer
40 views

Idiomatic language

Is it necessary that a phrase used as idiom always works as an idiom? Like I want to say: Don't linger in bed. I mean to say that: Get up now. Hurry up. Don't delay getting up. Don't sleep too much. ...
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1answer
17 views

Much of an impact

She was too drunk for it to have much of an impact on her. Is "much of" natural in examples like this? Or would it only be natural if the sentence was something like: She was so drunk that ...
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2answers
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What does “everything is all MoonPies and salted peanuts” mean in this context?

Please help me to understand the meaning of "everything is all MoonPies and salted peanuts" in this context: “Toby.” A brief pause. “Don’t even try. You really expect I would give that ...
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1answer
33 views

What does the phrase “run roughshod over gems” mean here?

Please help me figure out the meaning of the phrase "run roughshod over gems" in the following sentence from the description of the game Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells: Bathroom trolls ...
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0answers
60 views

Can we use the expression “trash somebody” to mean “to ruin somebody”?

I know that we can use the expression "trash somebody" to mean "to criticize somebody severely" in American English. My question is, can we also use the same phrase to mean "...
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Is “at the edge of” natural in the context?

The cemetery is located at the edge of the city. Is "at the edge of" natural in this context? Or are there other options that would be more natural?
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2answers
40 views

English idiom or a phrasal verb I could use to express that something can't be counted with money?

Is there an English idiom or a phrasal verb I could use to express that something can't be counted with money ? For example when something is so risky or important that it can't be counted with money. ...
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2answers
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Is “team e-mail” an idiomatic expression in native English?

Just as the title already suggests, could you please tell me if "team email" is something that natives actually use, especially in business environment? The specific context: What is meant ...
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1answer
20 views

The meaning of “if that's what it takes”

I have watched a movie named [To All The Boys I've Loved Before] and there's a conversation in the movie: (1). A: If you had a boyfriend, maybe you wouldn't have to drive at all, 'cause he would take ...
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21 views

Feed someone with something or feed someone something

Which one is correct? To feed him with meat To feed him meat
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0answers
53 views

Wearing the proverbial “pants”?

But appearances of gender equality can be deceiving. In my most recent study, I asked 114 young adults about their heterosexual relationship experiences. Unsurprisingly, power was skewed in favor of ...
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4answers
26 views

What’s that supposed to mean vs what does that suppose to mean vs what’s that suppose to mean

I, for some reason, can’t figure out the grammar of the following phrase - “What’s that supposed to mean?”... Why isn’t it “What does that suppose to mean?” or “What’s that suppose to mean?” I know it’...
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1answer
24 views

Let the new year be an excuse

What does this sentence even mean? I think this is an idiom, right? Does this mean: I will improve and won't repeat the mistakes I made the previous year. OR reason for doing something nice https://...
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3answers
98 views

“Sell extremely strong onions to opponent” Asian idiom or mistranslation

This anime clip I found on Facebook has the following caption: “Pretending to lose 2 rounds to sell extremely strong onions for opponents”. I’m assuming the “sell extremely strong onions” part is a ...
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1answer
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What does “to be lost to someone” mean?

While writing a term paper, I came across the sentences "So the Ramages were lost to white society. Lost to everyone but Dr. Cox." ("Ramages" and "Dr. Cox" being names of ...
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1answer
61 views

What is the meaning of “leaving someone on the mercy” here?

What's the meaning of the phrase "leaving us on the mercy of God" in the following statement: "By associating with any group, we are disconnecting ourselves from [a person name] thus ...
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4answers
2k views

Does the idiom «to cross the pond» exist?

Recently I had a conversation with a native speaker. During it he has mentioned some movie reference. I guess he was not sure whether I have got it so he has also sent me a link to that movie ...
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1answer
32 views

“…of the deepest eye”, meaning?

I have seen phrases like these: All the villains of the deepest eye. Allison was a religious bigot of the deepest eye. What does it mean? Is it something like "to the greatest extent"?
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0answers
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Meaning of Go Home

I know literal meaning of 'go home'. In the following talk it's vague to me. “Let me guarantee you this, based on everything that I know and understand, and the help that [Biden] has already gotten ...
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2answers
38 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,...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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1answer
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“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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
32 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 ...
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1answer
40 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 ...
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1answer
40 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 ...
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1answer
111 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 ...
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2answers
98 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 ...
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1answer
53 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 ...
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1answer
22 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 ...
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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) ...
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1answer
24 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 ...

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