Questions tagged [idioms-in-context]

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the usage of idioms, in a specific context.

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An idiom for "making one's final / last attempt / effort"

I am wondering what are the nuances among the following options and whether they all work properly in this sentence: After so much work, just keep it up a little longer! You've got this far. If I ...
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1 vote
3 answers
98 views

What does "Jewish nose" imply? [closed]

In the following link of the youtube video at 1:10, the bride says: "He is an Irishman with a Jewish nose." What does "Jewish nose" imply to make people laugh out loud in the video?...
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0 votes
1 answer
50 views

What's the meaning of this sentence 'the conflict started brewing'? [closed]

I have a translation assignment, but this sentence is so confusing to me. It talks about the theory of '21 days to form new habits or get rid of old ones.' ❗️Here is the text: "Dr. Maltz ...
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0 votes
0 answers
26 views

English phrase/idiom that means "attending an event just for the sake of being seen"

I was just wondering what the idiom was for "attending an event just for the sake of being seen there" (along the lines of what a lot of famous people do just for the sake of publicity) . I ...
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23 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is the meaning of "dog-food" here?

I was watching a programming course ("Kotlin for Java Developers" on Coursera). The instructor of the training course said: "We focused on the use cases we knew about from our ...
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1 vote
2 answers
187 views

Looking for an idiom meaning "you haven't changed"

Is there any idiom that means "you have not changed" that you could use in a conversation when you catch up with an old friend? Thank you.
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0 votes
2 answers
34 views

Do inorganic nonmetallic materials imply that inorganic metallic materials exist?

I am not a chemistry major and encountered a chemistry term today which seems strange to me: inorganic nonmetallic materials[1, 2]. Does the name imply that there exist inorganic metallic materials? I ...
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0 votes
1 answer
41 views

Why is this sentence "I want to tell the answers to my friend" wrong?

Is there any problem about this sentence? English is not my first language and I'm still learning it. About this sentence, I think the problem is in structure or semantics, but i have my doubts. That ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
53 views

Can we use the verb 'hath' in modern English? [closed]

I've checked the discussion here and someone said that this verb must never be used in modern English. I've also looked up and this is the old use of has according to OALD. However, I found this ...
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1 vote
1 answer
14 views

Can we substitute 'as to' with 'for'?

This question came to me after reading someone's comment somewhere. She wrote: She did not have a clue as to how to relate to the teenagers. I've seen people here commonly use the phrase as to when ...
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0 votes
2 answers
267 views

put pen to paper

What does "They’ve put pen to paper" exactly refer to in the following news extract? Is it a paraphrase of the preceding "The early parts of the deal have been inked already'? They’ve ...
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2 votes
1 answer
201 views

Is it correct to say "Keep Your Eyes on the Road" when the person is riding a bike on a ground not on a road?

I heard a lot of people say "Eyes on the Road" in action films, but I couldn't see any dictionary mentioning it. It seems to mean that you must pay attention when you are driving to avoid ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
37 views

What does "Did the very weak " mean?

Hi there!Could somebody please tell me what is the meaning of this expression? You'll find it in the John Monroe first comment, almost at the bottom.
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0 votes
0 answers
17 views

"No bets" gambling

The phrases below are standard phrases used in gambling, if I am not mistaken, but is "no bets" also a standard phrase? I can't find anything similar. In Russian a similar expression is used ...
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  • 1,959
0 votes
1 answer
35 views

Meaning of "slaughtered on the altar of expediency"

I was reading the book The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research by Marian Petre when I came across the following idiom: ... anyone with an armchair and reasonable general knowledge can usually find ...
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Meaning of "You're one rib short of a barbecue"

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS8oLlPOhPY&t=5m49s In an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Michelangelo is attacked by a crocodile. After managing to escape it, he tells his ...
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  • 167
1 vote
1 answer
26 views

What's the point using 'Mind you' in just one clause? [closed]

To be honest, after reading about 4-5 definitions of this phrase/idiom and some relevant discussions, I still find it opaque. These sentences I took from Collin online dictionary uses Mind you without ...
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  • 4,227
1 vote
1 answer
33 views

Figurative language

Would a native speaker of English understand what is meant by a "a second head" and "third hand"? "My friend sometimes jokes and calls his computer his second head and third ...
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  • 1,959
1 vote
0 answers
81 views

Is "raise a specter of doubt" an incorrect use of the idiom?

Warning, major spoilers for "Gone Girl" by David Fincher. First a little bit of background/reminder. This is a sentence I've got troubles with. Meticulously stage a crime scene, with just ...
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0 votes
2 answers
45 views

Can we really put as well not only in the end of the sentence?

My question is a bit similar to this discussion: use-of-as-well-in-the-beginning-of-a-sentence. However, I still didn't get a clear answer to the related problem. I want the firm answer whether it's ...
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1 vote
2 answers
60 views

"As plain as the nose on one's face" VS "Stand/stick out a mile"

I was wondering if the following idioms mean exactly the same thing: Be (as) plain as the nose on your face: to be very obvious. stand/stick out a mile: to be very obvious or easy to see. Example: a....
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1 vote
1 answer
37 views

Leave something (behind) somewhere

**Leave something behind**: to leave a place without taking something with you: We left in a hurry and I must have left my keys behind. Now I need to include "home" within the idiom! I ...
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  • 13.7k
1 vote
1 answer
20 views

"Have a hard time" VS "Barely manage"

I want to indicate that someone has gone through a lot of difficulties to achieve an academic degree because he / she wasn't studious enough or was not smart enough to pass their exams. I wonder if ...
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  • 13.7k
0 votes
1 answer
30 views

"Calm down" VS "Get calm" [closed]

After a series of bad events, my life is just ............. and I want to maintain that peace. a.getting calm (this is the correct answer here, but I need to make sure whether there is a better idiom ...
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1 vote
0 answers
24 views

"Keep it together" VS "Pull oneself together" in AE

Based on dictionary definitions, the following two idioms mean more or less the same thing: "Keep it together:" to remain calm, composed, and self-possessed, especially despite or in the ...
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3 votes
4 answers
106 views

An English proverb or idiom that describes you shouldn’t condemn the weak

Do not ever condemn a straw/dust that comes under your foot. If it ever rises up and goes into your eye, it will cause a lot of pain! That’s an English translation.Kabir Das says that you should not ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
41 views

a chickgoer, who cannot help but think of girls around [closed]

So lets say Ive got a friend who goes after pretty girls and only thinks about girls, trying to lure her out whenever he sees one. I want to call him a chick-goer(or chickgoer) for him. I know there ...
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1 vote
1 answer
68 views

What does 'to come over one's hoot' mean?

I came across the phrase 'to come over one's hoot' several times while watching a British TV series and I can't get the meaning of it from any definition of 'hoot'. The context was like this: A and B ...
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0 votes
1 answer
61 views

Am I using the idiom "loose ends" correctly?

According to Cambridge dictionary 'loose end' means 'something that still needs to be done or explained.' I was chatting with Facebook support about a problem with my account and when the person asked ...
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  • 515
5 votes
3 answers
800 views

What does it mean to you: 'Launched into a Roll'?

I am reading a sci-fi text and cannot figure out one idiom. What is the meaning of the bolded phrase? The context is this: Corazon Santiago launched into a roll, crossing the narrow metal hallway in ...
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  • 303
0 votes
0 answers
50 views

How to use let alone?

This is what I've got from Oxford dictionary: let alone used after a statement to emphasize that because the first thing is not true or possible, the next thing cannot be true or possible either Let'...
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  • 4,227
0 votes
1 answer
25 views

"They chose no other sort of food, nor did they consider it"

They ate pastries, limber under rigid icing, filled with an indeterminate yellow sweet stuff, not still solid, not yet liquid, like salve that has been left in the sun. They chose no other sort of ...
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  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
17 views

"Make a contact with" and "make a call to"

Between Make a contact with... and make a call to..., is there a difference? Suppose I want to phone my friend (Lisa). Are these sentences below correct? I want to make a contact with Lisa. I want to ...
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  • 4,227
0 votes
0 answers
29 views

"{Not to sing my own praise} but I was a good-looking young lady", is this correct?

I came across the following sentence: Back then, there were many boys chasing me. Not to sing my own praise but I was a good-looking young lady. Is "not to sing my own praise" correct use ...
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  • 1,395
0 votes
1 answer
100 views

What does the phrase "play a bluff" mean here?

Please help me figure out the meaning of the phrase "play a bluff" in the following sentence from the description of the game Golazo: You can play a bluff to deceive your opponent and show ...
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  • 1,781
-2 votes
1 answer
198 views

"Occupy one's mind" vs "Preoccupy someone" vs "Prey on one's mind"

Imagine something gets so important to you that takes up your mind and occupies your thoughts in the manner that you constantly think about it. A) Ana, what James told me at the party last night has .....
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  • 13.7k
-1 votes
2 answers
133 views

Idiomacy of the phrase "to be failing in one's duty"

[my question derives from one having been put up here before] Are the components of the phrase "to be failing in one's duty" in solid idiomatic connection with each other. I.e. can "...
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  • 295
20 votes
2 answers
1k views

in/at one fell swoop(=at one time) What's fell here?

in/at one fell swoop (=with a single action or movement, all at the same time) What's fell here? I think 'swoop' is a noun and if it should be modified, then 'past participle' or adjective should do ...
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5 votes
1 answer
8k views

"Back in the day" vs "back in the days"

Is there any difference between the two idioms back in the day and back in the days? Most of the free online dictionaries only give the version with day, but I have certainly seen native English ...
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0 votes
3 answers
53 views

Use of **per capita / head**

I keep on hearing phrases such as doctors per capita and deaths per head of population which make no sense to me, as I understand both capita and head (which derives from the Latin caput) to be ...
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  • 24.1k
0 votes
2 answers
45 views

"Hitting two birds with one stone" Can I use "by" instead?

I know that the idiom states "hitting two birds with one stone" but I'm just wondering is it grammatically right to say "hitting two birds by one stone"?
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1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Can "I dare say (so)" mean "Of course" in a certain context?

Can the expression "I dare say (so)" mean "Of course" in a certain context? I know the general meaning and usage of this expression. From Collins dictionary: You can use 'I dare ...
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  • 1,217
2 votes
1 answer
90 views

Idiom: use of "all things X"

While understanding the general meaning of "all things X" ("All Things Electronic", for instance), I'm having some issue putting it into a sentence. Would you rather use (I can't ...
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0 votes
2 answers
41 views

Idiom to describe a poorly executed task

Are there any idioms to describe a situation where the task given was very poorly executed, nothing can be done to re-do the task, and the task ends up a failure.
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  • 383
0 votes
1 answer
68 views

It’s raining today vs. It would rain around this time

I’m a Japanese English teacher. I come across a strange sentence when I’m correcting a student’s composition. Although I feel it’s strange but I can’t explain why. I need your help. In this situation, ...
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0 votes
0 answers
506 views

An expression or Idiom to describe feeling lost/ confused/ fuzzy?

Can you recommend me any idioms or common-sense expressions for feeling lost/confused/fuzzy? I had the idea to use "being stranded on an island" (cause we had this usage in my mother ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
40 views

What is the difference between "what is the good of?" and "what is the use of?"

My question is and I would like to know, is there any difference in the meaning between the sentences "what is the Good of?" and "What is the use of ?" In order to make this clear, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
1k views

'in use by' or 'used by'?

Please help with clarifying which phrase would be better if both are correct: 'The port in use by the web-server.' 'The port used by the web-server.' This is a standalone sentence without further ...
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  • 113
5 votes
5 answers
5k views

Is "butter on toast" an idiom in English

This is a stanza from Ruskin Bond's poem If Mice Could Roar: If tortoise could run And losses be won And bullies be buttered on toast I can't understand the phrase bullies be buttered on toast. By ...
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  • 1,026
0 votes
2 answers
743 views

The difference between characteristic, feature, aspect, attribute and quality, their definitions are defined using each other

It's annoying the Dictionary always happens to me this absurdity: Characteristic - distinguishing feature or quality Feature - a distinctive attribute or aspect of something Attribute - regard a ...
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