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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2
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2answers
45 views

How to learn to speak idiomatically?

As a non-native speaker, I struggle a lot to come up with quick responses that sound idiomatic. It sucks because it also means it's harder to express some thoughts in fast-paced situations like ...
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2answers
1k views

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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2answers
56 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 ...
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1answer
21 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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4answers
711 views

What does “smell the glove” mean in this article?

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2015/03/04/smell-the-glove Smell the Glove. Handshaking may be a chemical as well as a social greeting GRIP firmly, maintain eye contact. ...
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0answers
27 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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26 views

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
39 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
12 views

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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2answers
3k views

Idiom for needing to focus on something

Is there an idiom or a phrase people use at work one needs to fully focus on a specific task? Thought I've heard it at work before, but can't think of it right this second..
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3answers
12k views

Best interpretation of “everybody has an angle”

Of late I have learned about the sentence "everybody has an angle", which I cannot recall for now where I came across it. I have no idea about its meaning, usage, and so forth. I think what I look ...
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2answers
1k views

Did you forget your password?

When we type the password incorrectly to log into the website, the prompt is "Did you forget your password?". However, I think it's the current situation so it might be better to say "Do you forget ...
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1answer
1k views

What does but mean in the phrase “If they but knew it”

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see ...
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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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3answers
398 views

Through and through

This word means the complete degree of penetration and you seem to double the "through" to make it sound stronger. I wonder, in Russian you say "along and across" to mean that you know something "...
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3answers
2k views

use of idiom “to see eye to eye”

I wonder whether I could use "see eye to eye" when I agree with someone spontaneously like this, " I see eye to eye with you" or when I disagree with someone " I don't see eye to eye with you"
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1answer
535 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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0answers
44 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
18 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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0answers
16 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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3answers
2k views

Is “to have one's head in the sky” a valid English idiom?

Is "to have one's head in the sky" a valid English idiom like "to have one's head in the clouds"? It took me too long remember this. Or rather, to become conscious of it. In the future, I shouldn't ...
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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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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
58 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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1answer
22 views

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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3answers
2k views

to judge something on its own merits

I have looked it up but I am confused because I couldn't discern its meaning. For example Longman Dictionary says : to judge something only on what you see when you look at it rather than on what ...
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2answers
9k views

getting something out on the table

These following two paragraphs are from one book and come one after another. While this treatise might not appear to meet the normal requirements of an academic paper, let it be said that such ...
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4answers
4k views

“stretch something to its limit” meaning

I have encountered this sentence: Science can explain how gravity works between two objects, but why should it be based on the exact equations we find rather than others? In fact, why should ...
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1answer
31 views

Expressions for live alone

I believe there are some other ways to say "I live alone". Can you provide me with some expression explaining its formality? What about these: be on (oneself). (?) live with (oneself) (?) Do these ...
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1answer
30 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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2answers
42 views

'be said to be' what does this mean?

Here goes example, "The earliest recorded use of "queer" as a form of homophobic abuse is said to be a 1984 letter by John Sholto Douglas, the Marquess of Queensberry."
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1answer
75 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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3answers
73 views

Can these be used interchangeably?

I would like to know if the following expressions can be used interchangeably. just in case/out of caution/for caution’s sake/for the sake of caution/ err on the side of caution. a. I took an ...
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3answers
4k views

The man of double deed

There is this beautiful poem I heard on "The Fall" (british tv show). There was a man of double deed, Who sowed his garden full of seed; When the seed began to grow, 'Twas like a garden full ...
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0answers
47 views

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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1answer
47 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
33 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
54 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 ...
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3answers
574 views

When one problem is added to the previous one

Let's assume someone has a big problem and is dealing with it. While he/she has not solved the first problem, another problem comes up and adds to the previous one. I wonder how you would explain this ...
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1answer
45 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
64 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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2answers
411 views

meaning of 'slip up on'

I came across a few sentences.... He 'slipped up on' just one detail. Someone had 'slipped up on' the order. I do understand what slip up means - to make a mistake. But what about ...
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3answers
9k views

Walking up/down a level road/street

Is walking up/down the road/street applicable if the street is not sloped? I think I heard something about "with/against the numbering of houses" but I'm not sure if it's correct. Also, if that were ...
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1answer
25 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 ...
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4answers
3k views

“Not to put too fine a point on it”

– What did she say? – Not to put too fine a point on it, she said you sexually harassed her. This expression means 'used to apologise for a possibly impolite statement one is making.' But why does ...
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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
4k views

Can I used “meet” in “Patients can meet a doctor”?

I tried to translate directly from my native language and the word was meet though I highly doubt it. The sentence is: Patients can meet a doctor by scheduling an appointment or visit the clinic ...
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13answers
12k views

What's up with the “pun (not) intended” thing?

Whenever I read a carefully composed English text with a pun in it, the stated "pun" is always followed by an explanation whether or not it was intended. Why is that? Where I come from (the Czech ...
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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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