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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948 views

“Get got” or “Get Gotten” which is correct?

I've heard both usages in the meaning "to get caught", however, I'm not sure that both of them are correct. From my research, though, both should be fine, however, "got" is both Br.E and Am.E, while "...
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0answers
5 views

Alternative expressions for “there's a possibility of something”

I usually say "there is a possibility of ..." to describe something that can still happen anytime later, but I don't think this is the only way to describe it. The problem is that, while searching ...
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1answer
22 views

What does “work one's way across” mean?

Is work one's way across an idiom or does it mean literally? Examples: I should like to travel and work my way across the USA. I am planning to work my way across Australia. I work my ...
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3answers
10k views

Idiom like “catch on fast”

I'm looking for idiom like "catch on fast". How else can you say a quick learner and a short learning curve?
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1answer
35 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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0answers
23 views

Meaning of you “see you coming”

I am wondering if the phrase "see you coming" means what it says literally: "I saw you with my eyes coming towards my way", or "I knew you were coming towards my way or going to do something", so ...
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0answers
40 views

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

I have found in the novel 'The ladykiller' of Martina Cole the following sentence: She looked sixteen going on twenty-five. Does this sentence mean that she is twenty-five but when somebody has a ...
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1answer
45 views

'How is it that Maynzie consistently punches above his weight?' means 'How come that Maynzie firmly pulls women who are better looking than him? '?

I have found in Macmillan Dictionary the following: to punch above your weight means 'to pull or pick up someone who's better looking than you'. As an example gives the following question: ...
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2answers
72 views

What does the phrase 'a punch above your weight' in the sentence ''Get a punch above your weight mug for your mother-in-law Helena''mean?

What does the phrase 'a punch above your weight' in the sentence ''Get a punch above your weight mug for your mother-in-law Helena''mean? I have found in Urban Dictionary the following: to ...
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1answer
24 views

“Not like that” and “such”

Is it possible to say so, meaning "like this"? I know I used to be selfish, but I'm not like that anymore. I know I used to be selfish, but I'm not such anymore.
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2answers
26 views

Phrase from the fairy tale

Could somebody explain me what it means: "They knocked the hard ground into soft, the soft into hard, the rocks into spring wells, and the spring wells into rocks". This phrase I took from the fairy ...
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2answers
72 views

About Any the wiser

If you don't tell them, nobody will be any the wiser. (Cited from OLD) I want to know whether 'any' modifies 'the wiser' or not. I think that it does, because the wiser means one of one wiser, thus ...
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1answer
149 views

What does “seas the day” mean?

What does the idiom seas the day mean? An Indian cricketor tweets that he seas the day. What part of speech is seas in the phrase? Is it a verb? How did the phrase come ...
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2answers
328 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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0answers
12 views

How do we say add through CGI video edit?

How do we say add through CGI video edit? I am sure there's a proper way to say this, but I have no idea how to say it in an idiomatic way. Someone need to make a video and add in a CGI hat of ...
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1answer
30 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
21 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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2answers
28 views

Is it correct saying “buy something hand-to-hand”?

In trades I really need to know if is correct the use of this idiom. If its ok or not, would you tell me what are the common ways to express when we need to buy or sell some goods when the buyer and ...
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2answers
52 views

'in the privacy of his kitchen.' what does it mean?

I am trying to translate some fanfics to Korean. Anyway, I can't understand the meaning of the sentence. Looking Will in the eyes gives Hannibal a tranquility that he usually only knows in the ...
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1answer
75 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
31 views

What is the significance of 1st of October?

In the song Paper Planes, there's a passage as quoted below. My name is Olushola, I just got off my visa I live everyday like it's the first of October I wonder what the significance of the 1st ...
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0answers
18 views

Idiom: It follows that

Since non-count nouns like "sugar" take singular verb agreement it follows that the verb must be the singular "has". How do you parse the structure of it? Does "it" serve as a dummy subject, with the ...
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2answers
2k 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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4answers
9k views

Let's “crack on”

What does crack on phrase means. I've heared it in following use cases. Boss is saying to us: 'Let's crack on' - and we start discussing projects. Man is discussing with sombody: 'We've cracked on ...
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1answer
25 views

What's the plural of “that x of a y”?

But that did not solve his problem, his mother's birthday was next week, he had counted on Arsenal beating Manchester and if that idiot of a referee had not awarded that idiotic penalty. I am ...
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2answers
37 views

Can 'get stuffed' be used in a more literal way, instead of 'stuff oneself' (with food, for example)?

'I'm starving! I'm going to go to Chick-fil-A and get stuffed', does it sound okay to a native's ear? British people would use it in a whole different sense but maybe a literal usage of that phrase ...
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2answers
34 views

“The way I see it”

For example, I'd say "The way I see it, you catch on quick". I wondered, "the way" in themselves are Nouns but then how come do they function as an Adverb in this idiom? I mean, if it were "In the ...
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2answers
262 views

Is the idiom “in the offing” used?

Is the idiom in the offing used and understood now? It is present in many lists of English idioms, but I have never encountered it in real life. However, if one makes a search on Google News, one will ...
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4answers
77 views

To beat someone in a competition/debate/etc in a humiliating way

What is the most common informal/casual idiom / expression / verb to imply making someone feel defeated in a humiliating way in AE? For instance, let's say two youngsters are playing soccer against ...
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0answers
19 views

Why to say “A little bird told me it was the best hotel in this city at that time” and “In a pig's eye”? [duplicate]

what means "A little bird told me it was the best hotel in this city at that time" and "In a pig's eye"? --A little _____ told me it was the best hotel in this city at that time. --In a _____ eye. ...
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2answers
73 views

What does “pulling out one's fingernails” mean?

What is the meaning of "pulling out one's fingernails" Is the meaning of the expression similar to "pull teeth" or does it have a different nuance? Here is a sample sentence; It took ...
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3answers
8k views

What is the meaning of “A is the good, B is the bad and C is the ugly”?

If A is the good, B is the bad and C is the ugly, what does this statement imply? That: C is even worse than B C is something intermediate, not good, not bad C is "outside of the box" and can't be ...
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0answers
3 views

Can I say “empower toward”?

This is a one line description about how I am trying to describe my work. However afraid the grammar is not correct and can't find anything about it on the web. "Empowering teams toward efficient &...
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1answer
44 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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1answer
40 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “Are you a man or a mouse?” [closed]

Today, my teacher gave me an assignment to write down a conversation using the phrase: Are you a man or a mouse? I don't know what that phrase means, can you please help me with this?
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1answer
39 views

Idiom for a doctor telling a patient that he's terminally ill

Suppose a doctor is telling his patient that he is terminally ill and he's got only a few months to live. I assume this kind of situation can be described concisely with this form, A doctor is X-...
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2answers
5k views

what is the meaning of “call all the shots”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/should-you-let-your-customer-call-all-shots-martin-connor Should you let your customer call all the shots? what is the meaning of "call all the shots"? I guess it ...
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1answer
39 views

are “go or walk barefoot”, “go on foot”, “walk in bare feet” the same? what about “go on bare foot”, “go or walk with your bare feet”?

Ok, in the dictionary, we say We came on foot (= we walked). Source walking around the house in bare feet (= not wearing shoes or socks) Source barefoot: adjective,adverb: not wearing anything on ...
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1answer
101 views

Do people say widespread influence? [closed]

Is widespread influence grammatically correct? Also, is it the right way to say it? Thanks
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1answer
49 views

“Go Back to square one” VS “Go back to the drawing board”

I am going to say: In spite of all my efforts, I couldn't pass the final exam and I have to attend all these sessions from the beginning again and start everything from the outset! The same old ...
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1answer
79 views

Why are the poor duck and the goose targetted in a derogatory sense In English?

He is a lame duck Becoming a doctor is a wild goose chase. you bloody goose He was out for a duck or golden duck. These are some of the terms associated with duck and geese ...
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2answers
922 views

What does the phrase “The horse has left the barn” mean?

What does the phrase "The horse has left the barn" mean? I'm asking this question because I was watching the live testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire before a ...
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2answers
184 views

“March to the beat of one's own drum” Positive or Negative

In the view of the dictionary definition, the idiom "March to the beat of one's own drum, is more or less something negative which has a connotation of being inattentive, inconsiderate or reckless and ...
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0answers
22 views

Making one's own word / opinion the one that counts

I am looking for an idiom/expression which implies defeating the opponent in a debate / an argument / a discussion and making one's own word / opinion the one that counts. I know the idiom "have the ...
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3answers
20k views

What does it mean “to talk over someone”?

I saw this video where two policemen, in three different times tell citizens "Don't talk over me" (0:12) or "you are talking over me" (3:37 also 3:44). It seems that all of these mentions in the video ...
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2answers
19k views

Call it a day meaning

What is the meaning of "Call it a day/night". I have heard people saying "I am calling it a day". I tried to find out the meaning in dictionaries, but could not. Please let me know your answers.
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3answers
3k views

“not to know A from B” VS “not to know a B from a bull's foot”?

I've been doing some research and I came across the idioms "not to know A from B" and "not to know a B from a bull's foot". As far as I know they seem to have the same meaning "to be ignorant" or "to ...
2
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1answer
17k views

“Bite me”, What does it mean?

"Bite me" is an expression used in a lot of TV series. Does it mean "leave me alone" or something else? Example: Someone tells Penny that she is stupid. She answers, "bite me". Is it an old expression?...
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1answer
1k views

Work on (doing) something and work at (doing) something

What's the difference between work on and work at, and what's the right way to use them? We're working on/ at our relationship. I need to work on/at my German- it's getting rusty. We're working on/...
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1answer
51 views

The meaning of “within view of”

I have always understood "with view of someone" to mean can be seen by someone. But I have seen several sentences where the phrase seemingly means can see something from a vantage point, e.g.: The ...