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
16 views

Can you use a noun + the possessive marker ('s) in the expression 'to make someone's day"?

Can you use a noun + the possessive marker ('s) in the expression 'to make someone's day"? Looking up the dictionary, it seems that the expression is only used with possessive pronouns "his", "her", "...
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1answer
19 views

Playing for bragging rights

What does playing for bragging rights mean in English and is it common and understood in everyday speech by all people? I have found some dictionary definitions, but I couldn't understand its precise ...
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24 views

Is there a restriction in the use of the idiom “I am done with”?

Is there a restriction in the use of the idiom "I am done with"? For example, when we say "I am done with the paper", can it mean you finished reading it, writing it, copying it or burning it, etc.? ...
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1answer
23 views

The meaning and the usage of the expression “Dare I say…”

Macmillan dictionary says: Dare I say: Used when you are saying something that you think other people may not like: This famous novel is a little, dare I say it, dull. Or as Longman says: ...
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1answer
18 views

The meaning and the usage of the expression “Don't you dare”

To me, "Don't you dare!" is an expression that communicates a warning to someone. For instance: Don't you dare talk to me like that! Don't you dare follow me! (ete...) But I wonder if you ...
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1answer
17 views

The meaning and the usage of the expression: “I dare say”

Some dictionaries have defined the expression "I dare say / daresay" as spoken one and some other ones have defined it as a formal expression! Meanwhile, some dictionaries consider it to be old-...
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27 views

What does the phrase “She looked sixteen going on twenty-five.” mean? [duplicate]

She looked sixteen going on twenty-five. Does this sentence mean that she is twenty-five but when somebody has a look at her believes that she is sixteen? What is the meaning of the phrase 'going on'...
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1answer
16 views

How is “from the top” synonymous to “from square one”?

How is "from the top" synonymous to "from square one"? According to the dictionary, it means "from the beginning", but I don't see any valid entry for "redesigned from the top", which means "...
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2answers
42 views

Get up enough nerves to do something

I wonder what does the expression "get up enough nerves to do something" mean as in the following context? My mother was feeling very bad as she sat on the couch looking at all of her children, but ...
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3answers
42 views

Idiomatic usage of “well worth the ride” to refer to a journey (on foot)

The idiom "well worth the ride" is usually used for a journey made on horseback, bike, motorcycle, or vehicle. But what I mean in the following example is "ride" as a journey on foot (e.g. mountain ...
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1answer
33 views

Is there an idioms for “nothing is yet clear”

I usually say that something is not clear yet like "it is still in the wind" when something is uncertain. Is there any English idiom or proverb that describe this saying?
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2answers
26 views

“Keep Something In The Know” meaning

I am reading "Head First Design Patterns" book, chapter 2 ,entitled "Keeping your Objects in the know" but the title doesn't make sense to me. what "Keep Something In The Know" means in this case and ...
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15 views

What's the meaning “Let's keep in touch”? from professor [duplicate]

A professor said to me, “Let's keep in touch” I don't know the meaning
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1answer
35 views

“Performing one's working duties” or “Pulling one's weight”

I wonder whether as for an employee who neglects their working duties we can say: 1- He doesn't pull his weight --> I doubt if it works in this case, while according to the dictionaries "pull one's ...
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2answers
24 views

An idiom/expression to imply “rebuilding and beautifying a destroyed area”

Please imagine a large destroyed area which has become ruined due to a war or an earthquake or simply because it was uninhabited for a long time or even from the outset. I wonder what idiom/verb or ...
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2answers
14 views

Meaning of 'when it comes from'

I know the meaning of when it comes to but not familiar to when it comes from. My dictionary says nothing about the from idiom.Can from be replaced with to in the following sentence for the same ...
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3answers
27 views

Paying/spending just from pocket money

I wonder what idiom, expression or set-phrase do you normally use to carry the message of spending money from pocket without earning any money (without having any business)? Please have a look on my ...
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2answers
29 views

A rich and family which is living in comfort and luxury

I Wonder what do you call a family which is most of the time rich and all its members are living a good life and have whatever they need? The idiom/expression/set phrase or even the adjective in my ...
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0answers
28 views

The current alternative for the fixed phrase “Here's the rub”

The set phrase "here's the rub" which originates from 'Hamlet' is used every now and then in literary and shakespearean English in a humorous way to indicate that here is the biggest problem (with the ...
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1answer
67 views

Meanings and uses of the words “numerous” and “innumerable”

My question concerns proper use of the word numerous and of the word innumerable. I am in a problem which is rare: which one to choose even if I consult thesaurus. This is what I have learned so far: ...
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2answers
70 views

What does Trap Queen means?

I'm new in learning English, so I want to know more about idioms and some words that I can't understand. What is the meaning of trap queen? And how and when the situation we can say that. If you ...
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1answer
24 views

When someone acts obstinately / stubbornly towards you

I have a very long-lasting question about some quite close concepts which I am sure they have some equivalents in current English. I really appreciate it if you could do me a favor and let me find the ...
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1answer
33 views

What is called singing with a song?

When you sing with a song, for example, sing Wings of Birdy quietly or loudly by yourself when you are listening to it. What is the phrase of doing this?
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1answer
18 views

“the” or “one's” in an idiom?

I've been learning idioms related to body parts, when some like these struck me: 1 A lot of young vandals who go looking for trouble are not right in the head. 2 Can you do this calculation ...
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1answer
21 views

Making up illogical, unreasonable and unimportant excuses/objections

What do you call the the action of making up or seeking very illogical, unreasonable and unimportant ("excuses") or/and ("objections"). I wonder what idiom/expression/verb do you normally use for that?...
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1answer
17 views

which is the right idiom?

Keep a tab on the website for any activities. Keep tabs on the website for any activities. Which of the two, keep a tab/keep tabs, is the right idiom?
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1answer
17 views

How to say that you smoke sometimes and only for fun?

I wonder what do you normally say when you as a smoker would like to indicate that you do not smoke too much and you just do it sometimes and for fun? I'm not a heavy smoker. I......................
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1answer
38 views

Modern substitutes for saving your (presence / reverence)

Edited: I wonder in modern English what we can say prior to uttering something that might sound offensive or disapproving to the person/people you're talking to? I know two phrases: Saving your ...
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19 views

What can we say as a compliment to someone who avoids talking about their abilities as a sign of modesty

Let's imagine a person who often talks about others abilities and accentuates their talents and potential as a sign of politeness. In a dialogue between three people this person is talking about your ...
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2answers
23 views

A child who acts playfully

I am looking for a verb/idiom/expression to describe a specific mood/action of people. The term in my question is most of the time used for children in which they are not serious at all and just have ...
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1answer
28 views

Meaning of “is getting on me..”?

What's mean "is getting on me"? For example: "Mom is always getting on me about not finishing my breakfast."
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1answer
35 views

A person full of complexes

I wonder what would you normally call someone who has a chip on their shoulder informally? (What I am looking for can be considered as an offensive idiom/expression/adjective by most people.) Such ...
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3answers
62 views

What exactly does “is a pre” mean?

In the context of a job advertisement, what does "is a pre" mean? Top and only useful result on Google was this, only guessing "pré-requis" (requirement), which makes it odd to include sporadically ...
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1answer
13 views

Some ways to encourage a discouraged person

Which choices below do not sound natural when you want to say someone "be hopeful" using a hopegiving sentence: Don't lose your hope. Don't be hopeless. Why Ngram doesn't show any ...
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2answers
18 views

<As usual>, <As ever> and <As always>

I wonder how should I distinguish between the three idioms: As usual As ever As always While dictionaries say: (As usual) in a way that often happens normally and is expected or exists ...
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1answer
38 views

grammars on “shoot me an email” vs “shoot me with an email”

According to several online pages, there are different grammatical interpretations of the structure of the phrase - shoot someone an email. To complicate it further, I've seen online a similar phrase "...
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1answer
32 views

Are both “wipe us out of existence” and “wipe us off of existence” idiomatic?

Are both "wipe us out of existence" and "wipe us off of existence" idiomatic? To me, the first one seems to be more correct, but the second one doesn't seem to be wrong either, because "wipe off" also ...
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0answers
23 views

How to refer to a foreign-language student's ability to use his/her good listening comprehension in conversations?

What's the idiomatic way of describing a foreign-language student's ability not only to understand things, but also to use that knowledge and understanding in conversations? For example, Her ...
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1answer
32 views

What's the meaning of “throw a pallet at her”?

Please tell me the meaning of "throw a pallet at her" in this context: Teachers might be using the Unit Organizer and the course map and starting to see kids that normally don’t respond, responding....
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2answers
27 views

What is the meaning of “lay it on” in this sentence?

I read a sentence in "The Tempest" which was: Lead, monster; we’ll follow. I would I could see this taborer. He lays it on. And it is translated to: Lead on, monster. We’ll follow. I wish I ...
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2answers
31 views

what's the difference between these two expressions: “for good” and “for keep”

what's the difference/relation between these two expressions: "for good" and "for keep"? I'm not an English mothertongue, so for me these are very similar in meaning, but couldn't find any clue that ...
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0answers
30 views

Find the idiom for:'i shall be acceptable or pleased'

To show willingness as a mark of concern. eg., the patient accepted to under go a surgery. Note:If it's not clear, then please ignore, doesn't matter.
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17 views

Entering through legal / illegal solutions

Let's say that as a business man you have some problems with the tax ministry of your country. You are a very wealthy and influential individual that have friends in high places. Therefore it would ...
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1answer
55 views

“I could eat a horse” - Why 'could'?

"I could eat a horse" is a well-known phrase. I wonder why the modal-verb 'could' is used. According to this source (EnglishPage), "Could" is a modal verb used to express possibility or past ...
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1answer
59 views

What is the most common sarcastic response to something you already know?

How sarcastically imply someone who is trying to teach you something that you are well aware in that case Edited: I am going to find an up-to-date English metaphorical and sarcastic expression or ...
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2answers
41 views

An English equivalent for “all truth will not bear telling”

We all believe that telling the truth is fine. But sometimes there are some occasions in which you'de better keep someone in the dark about something (possibly on their own or someone else's favor) or ...
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1answer
30 views

An expression / a proverb to say: “liars often forget what they said”

As you may confronted some liars, you possibly would confirm that usually they forget what they have made-up and then related to you in the past and it's not unlekely that once they will forget in the ...
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1answer
19 views

To do somebody a favor

The Free Dictionary says: To do (someone or oneself) a favor means: To help someone else, typically at their request. In this usage, the person being helped is stated between "do" and "a." ...
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1answer
45 views

“A cold fish” vs “an icy person”

How do the similar expressions below can be distinguished from one another? Icy person: If you describe a person or their behaviour as icy, you mean that they are not affectionate or friendly, ...
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1answer
20 views

A modern substitue for “kith and kin”

In old-fashioned English, the term "kith and kin" encompass all the people you've been connected with, including the nuclear and extended family members. What is its modern substitute if exists? ...