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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
10 views

An influential person / a very influential person who can pull strings in your favor

What do you call an influential connection in an organization or a governmental entity who can help you out of problems related to that organization or even more powerful one who has relations in ...
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2answers
17 views

When you're going to discover the amount of someone's financial loss

Let's suppose you have lost a specific amount of money in a deal and your partner is going to find out how much it had been. What shall he ask you? Once, I had a close American friend who had ...
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2answers
31 views

An expression/idiom/proverb to say “losing a small amount would be much better than losing everything”

Is there any common English expression, idiom or proverb which implies: Stop and accept a small loss, rather than continue and risk losing everything. When someone is losing or possibly would lose ...
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1answer
14 views

Beating one's head against the wall / a brick wall

Dictionaries say that the idiom "beating one's head against the wall" means: To attempt continuously and fruitlessly to accomplish some task or achieve some goal that is or seems ultimately ...
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1answer
35 views

What does “see himself off” mean?

The definition of see someone off is the following: to accompany one to the point of departure for a trip and say good-bye upon departure. However, that begs the question what does "see himself ...
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1answer
21 views

When you are a role model for children

What does a child do (the verb / idiom / expression) when they look at their elderly and try to do what they are doing? E.g. it is said that you'd better be careful when you're smoking etc. so that ...
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2answers
37 views

An obvious model/example/type of someone or something

There is an expression in our current language which has entered from legal jargon into the common language. (I'm trying to translate it.) We say something like: He/she is an obvious example/...
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1answer
37 views

Can “Down to business” be a shortened version of the idiom?

Can the idiom Now, let's get down to business. be shortened to Now, down to business. ? I don't want the part "let's" as it is, to some extent, a friendly approach when the speaker is far ...
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2answers
20 views

Can you replace “come to think of it with ”thinking of it"?

I've already used "thinking of it." Example: Thinking of it, maybe I shouldn't knock on that door. I made a Google Books search. There are similar phrases but I couldn't find a sentence that ...
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1answer
45 views

What does keeping one's arms covered up mean?

I was reading Eurotrash by Irvine Welsh. Richard in the novel says "You know what I mean. You keep your arms covered up." and I don't know what it means.
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3answers
48 views

How to express this idea that something doesn't matter as much as someone thinks?

Suppose there is a contract that states, I need to give 14 days' notice. But I want to give 13 days' notice, and I assume that the other person that contract affects is going to be fine with that. But ...
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1answer
21 views

Request a phrase similar to “flag planting”?

I am looking for a phrase to convey the activity in such a scenario: I found a very interesting question on StackOverflow but know I cannot provide a satisfying answer at that moment. I was too ...
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0answers
35 views

What does the phrase “throw it in hard” mean here?

Here is a sentence from a drift race game's description: After having controlled your car’s tune, you can start throwing it in hard and start riding every wall you see. I found the following ...
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3answers
44 views

Is there an idiom that means “fight each other with the intent to hurt each other severely”?

Is there an idiom that means "fight each other with the intent to hurt each other severely"? I was thinking about "be at each other’s throats", but it seems that it's not used to mean that, rather the ...
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0answers
9 views

Is “bat an eye over X” idiomatic?

I am wondering if I can use the idiom "bat an eye" and combine it with the preposition "over". I am not sure if this can be done, but to me this makes total sense, but maybe for native speakers this ...
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2answers
34 views

What does “cut the cheese ” mean?

I want to know the meaning in this sentence : " Sorry isn't gonna cut the cheese this time " the meaning of this slang doesn't make sense in this example . I know cut the cheese means release ...
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1answer
16 views

Alternate name for Sand traps

Is there any technical name for the sand traps in some car races? I mean, those areas covered with soil and designed to prevent a car from hitting a track wall.
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3answers
218 views

How to find proper phrasal verbs or idioms for the sentence you're translating?

Let's assume you're translating a sentence. You can translate everything in English but sometimes there are idioms and phrasal verbs that you can use to make your sentnce more clear and compact. e.g., ...
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1answer
24 views

What does the idiom “come together” mean here?

Here is a sentence from a schedule planner app: This app lets you see how a plan comes together. I am not sure how the lexical meanings of the idiom "come together" fit here.
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2answers
34 views

What is the contrast that the idiom, “the other way round”, is pointing out here?

The idiom "the other way round" can be used for claiming that the opposite of what just has been said is true. For example: I always thought that rugby was a rougher game than football, but in fact ...
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1answer
19 views

A saying / an expression to say: “most of the problems occure to the weakest people”

There is a proverbial sentence in our culture which says: Every obstacle is often on the way of (the weakest / the most poore etc.) people. (literal translation) Connotation: it means ...
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2answers
22 views

A proverb/an expression to convey “a tendency towards a very big and unrealistic objective can be indicative of a failure”

In the old times, when it came to a match between our ancient wrestlers, the participants in order to define the strongest ones used to grab a rock and raise it to gain more popularity; but prior to ...
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1answer
19 views

“Put a spoke in sb's wheel” Vs “Throw/put a (monkey) wrench in the works”

The English expressions: throw a spanner in the works put a spanner in the works throw a (monkey) wrench in the works Mean: to do something that prevents a plan or activity ...
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0answers
25 views

what does “drop one's balls” mean?

I see it in "Regular Show" The whole sentence : Benson's gonna drop his balls when he sees how good we set up these chairs. Is it a slang ? I haven't found anything in web.
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1answer
38 views

Using the idiom “the sky is falling down” in a hopegiving sentence

How should I use the idiom the sky is falling down when I'm going to say to someone in an understated way to that the situation is bad, but not too bad? In other words, I need to make a similar ...
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1answer
49 views

How to say sarcastically “Wait for a long time (perhaps forever)”

Which one of the following phrases can be used in the context below in natural English: A) Let me go! I won't come along with you. I don't like the company of such people. B) But believe me; ...
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2answers
255 views

Even some useless stuff would be of use some day

Is there any common idiom or expression in English which can convey such a message that: anything that is of no use, will be used someday for sure. It is a translated proverb which believes do not ...
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1answer
22 views

An equivalent English saying for “Those who are more humble and calm are more knowledgeable”

How would you normally convey the following message throgh a fixed saying: Those who are quiet and seem to be more humble, may belong very deep knowledge or even very strong feelings. Note: It's not ...
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0answers
27 views

To say something indirecty to someone through telling it to a third person

Please imagine the person "A" is not going to tell something directly to the person "B" in a company. "A" says it to "C" who has a more friendly relations with "A", but in the manner that "C" (who is ...
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2answers
42 views

An equivalent for the proverb “A creaking door hangs longest or…”

Please have a look on the following scenarios and let me know what is the current English equivalent for the meaning in my question that can be used to fill in the blanks: Please imagine a couple ...
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1answer
47 views

What does “Don't hate” mean or imply here?

I am not quite get the logic between the lines here. Is "Don't hate" a slang or sth? Why did Bruce say it? (he sure knows Tony not hates him, so it's a joke, right? but meaning what?) This phrase ...
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1answer
54 views

Meaning of “swearing on a stack of timetables”?

I read a sentence in a chapter named "The Third Level" which was: THE presidents of the New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads will swear on a stack of timetables that ...
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3answers
23 views

Where is the subject?

"Donald Trump’s desire to nominate Mr Cain had sparked a backlash, even among Republicans worried that the president was seeking to undermine the independence of the central bank by appointing his ...
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1answer
45 views

What is a proper response to “What's up”?

I am wondering what a proper response to "What's up" can be. In the following example, we have "Your time, Cage" as in you will die, but I am not sure how this can be a proper response, to "What's up" ...
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1answer
48 views

What's the meaning of “while the bands play” in this sentence?

It's all I can do to sit still while the bands play. I can’t believe Mirror Boy was in the system. I don’t know if he was when he died or not. (The Ghost Files, by Apryl Baker) Who's "thinking" here ...
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2answers
35 views

When someone/an animal hides and waits for their/its enemy/prey

Please imagine a troop of soldiers which are hiding and waiting for their enemies to arrive to their hiding place so that they could suddenly attack the enemies! Or Let's suppose an animal which is ...
0
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1answer
19 views

A seemingly difficult task at the beginning (while you've not started it yet)

How do you call a simingly quite difficult task (not necessarily mental or physical one) which requires lots of efforts and looks too difficult "at the beginning"? The term / expression / idiom ...
3
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1answer
23 views

An expression or idiom to describe “magnifying” a news or an occurance

How would you call the action of someone who hears a news, magnifies it and then transmits it to someone else which would resault in an untrue story about (somebody / an event) comparing the original ...
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1answer
25 views

“You are friend with…”

In this answer I provided a sample sentence: You are friend with Toby. and as a result I received a comment from @JasonBassford: *Both of your example sentences are ungrammatical. You can't be ...
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1answer
18 views

Is “have a conversation between us X” idiomatic?

I am not sure why, but I find the expression "have a conversation between us X" where X is a number, a bit weird. Is the expression idiomatic? Just so that we're fully clear on what I am asking, here'...
1
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1answer
22 views

An unlucky person whose fortune doesn't favor them

Please imagine a person who is usually unlucky! The peron faces another unlucky situation and wants to criticize it and make a pejorative remark about his luck and relate his belief about the lack of ...
0
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1answer
23 views

A completely disorderly organization or country

In everyday English speech and in casual manner how would you describe an organization or a country which is too chaotic and disorderly, in which everything is in jumbled confusion, nobody is in their ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the simile “quick as silk”?

It seems that the Internet is unhelpful at all. The original quote, where this simile appears, is: “Once upon a time,” began Frank switching, quick as silk, to a sonorous story-telling voice... ...
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2answers
25 views

I keep getting connected and disconnected when I'm on the phone

In a bad phone connection and when it sucks, how would you say that the conversation between you and the second person on the other side keeps getting connected and disconnected? Is there any verb/...
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1answer
32 views

“Get through to sb” and “Get (a)hold of sb”

I have looked up many definitions in various dictionaries, but still I can't tell these two similar expressions apart. What is the difference betwen the two idioms "get through to sb" and "get (a)hold ...
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2answers
29 views

What does “get through their brains” mean?

I can't seem to get through their thick brains. Get through someone means: to succeed in talking to someone on the phone, but what does "get through their brain" means? Is it an idiom derived from ...
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1answer
25 views

When one's stockings tears [closed]

Which verb/idiom is normally used to describe this happening? (https://i.stack.imgur.com/gGxq1.jpg) Her stickings has torn (or what?)!
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1answer
14 views

The expression “play a geopolitical game of chess”

Is this idiomatic? I saw it being used by some people in forums, but never saw any renowned author used this expression. Is there a better way to say it? For example: India was playing a ...
0
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1answer
15 views

What's the difference between “walk someone over to” and “walk over to”

I heard that "walk someone over to" means accompany someone to a destination, but I am wondering "walk over to" means something, I want to say "walk a short distance to go talk to someone", but I am ...
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2answers
28 views

What does “doing X on the go” mean?

What does "doing X on the go" mean? Example: Use your phone camera to turn anything into a PDF on the go. What I have read so far: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/on_the_go lists 2 meanings for "...