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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2answers
2k views

'Hard of a..' in 'Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp'

I rarely saw sentences where an article follows after the preposition 'of,' but somehow I encountered this sentence today; Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp? I think 'hard of' may be a ...
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11answers
3k views

A term for a situation when something illegal, unjust, immoral and socially unacceptable becomes a standard pattern of an individual's behavior

When I was a teen, in a summer camp we enjoyed a sort of game that we played during so-called naptime after the midday meal. Split into pairs, the boys decided who would be horses and who horsemen, ...
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1answer
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What is the meaning of the expression 'nice to wheat you'?

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, the word 'wheat' can be only a noun. However, in a scene from the television cartoon Rick and Morty, it was used as a verb in the phrase "nice to wheat you". What ...
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5answers
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Is there an English idiom for provocative titles, something like “yellow title”?

There is a Russian idiom "yellow title" used for provocative / trolling news and articles titles. It's similar to yellow journalism but used particularly for titles. Does this idiom exists in English ...
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6answers
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Idiom “to eat like a pig”

Does it sound right to say: He is always eating like a pig, leaving crumbs all over the table. (Using Present Continuous, because of always + negative connotation)
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4answers
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Explanation of “does there exist”?

I wrote in a forum: Does exists any other approaches? Someone suggests me to write: Does there exist any other approaches? I made some researches on the web and I found that the latter ...
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3answers
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“draws a lot of water in this town” meaning?

It's taken from the movie The Big Lebowski, in what the police chief says about a man named Jackie Treehorn. The Dude: Mr. Treehorn treats objects like women, man. Malibu Police Chief: Mr. Treehorn ...
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1answer
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Is “fugazi” an English word?

The British rock band Marillion has a song called Fugazi, which is also the title of the album. This is one of their lines: Do you realise, this world is totally fugazi. By context I can deduce ...
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2answers
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What is the meaning of “Maybe I should take up surgery on the side.”

I'm just reading "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser. I didn't get far - on page 5 he uses the phrase "Maybe I should take up surgery on the side." From the context I would deduce it means something ...
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4answers
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What is the meaning of “morning blues” or “Monday blues”?

Just want to know the real meaning of: Morning blues or Monday blues Do these two have the same meaning?
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2answers
23k 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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1answer
119k views

What does “apples to apples” phrase mean?

I came along this phrase in a sentence like so ... can be compared apples to apples I guess it has something to do with apples to apples game, but I couldn't figure it out. What does this ...
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3answers
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What does the phrase, “Money talks, BS walks” mean?

What does the phrase, "Money talks, BS walks" mean? I replaced a bad word with "BS". I've googled it, and I've found several conflicting meanings. For instance, this Reddit thread has several ...
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2answers
500 views

McCoy, decoy, and coy

A “McCoy” means something that is truly genuine. The idiomatic expression, “the real McCoy” is used when the speaker wants to emphasize the purity the authenticity of something. It is said to derive ...
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2answers
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“To think” idiom

I have this Magic: The Gathering card flavor text: “To think some believe it peaceful to die in one's sleep.” What exactly that “to think” means?
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5answers
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Please tell me what “count with” means

Among the lyrics, there is the sentence "you can count me with the dreamers." This phrase is from movie called Tangled. It's the lyrics from "I've got a dream". What exactly does that mean? count A ...
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7answers
9k views

I need a proverb or idiom which can roughly mean “He has taken up more jobs than he can handle”

Something like "His head is in ten different places".
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5answers
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How to understand “waving it in the bloke from the Ministry's face”

"The ring, the ring that became the Horcurx, Marvolo Gaunt said it had the Peverell coat of arms on it! I saw him waving it in the bloke from the Ministry's face, he nearly shoved it up his nose!" ...
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5answers
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What does “For next to nothing” mean?

I will start with the example I know to make it clear. In a TV show this conversation happened: Guy1: This car is crap. I'll buy it for next to nothing? Guy2: How next to? I guess the fans of this ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
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The meaning of “a knife and a main chance”?

What would be the meaning of the following sentence: He's a man with a knife and a main chance. Could it be something like "He had both means and a motive?" I encountered it watching crime ...
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4answers
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“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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4answers
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Pick Up The Chant

Suppose at a sporting event, some people chanted something. Then other fans that were not chanting started chanting the same thing: Fans picked up the chant. Sentences similar to this are ...
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4answers
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Difference and usage between “I dare say” and “dare I say it”

I dare say is defined on Dictionary.com as: to venture to say (something); assume (something) as probable. I've also heard of the expression dare I say it as well; however, I was unable to find a ...
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4answers
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Are you up for it? OR Are you down for it? If I want to convince someone

This was surprising for me. "I am up for it" = "I am down for it!" Let's build a case. Case: We are a group of 5 people. Two want to watch 'Titanic', I want to watch 'Avengers'. Now, I want ...
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2answers
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Meaning of “to betray your age”

I'm watching The Wire and in the Wikipedia article about one of the characters (Wallace) it is written "He betrays his age when he is found playing with toys while supposed to be on lookout duty." I ...
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6answers
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Ambiguity of the idiom - “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

Since my childhood, I have been told about this phrase/idiom by my teachers, friends and parents. Since now I see everything written in English microscopically, this seems perplexed to me. A ...
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1answer
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Would you or do you happen to

So I found examples of both 'would you' and 'do you' before the phrase 'happen to'. Do you happen to have... Would you happen to know... Are they interchangeable? Please explain the differences. ...
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1answer
883 views

You can keep your bowlers black

"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty, But don't judge on what you see, I'll eat myself if you can find A smarter hat than me. You can keep your bowlers black, Your top ...
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2answers
775 views

Does English have an expression for “Straw Enthusiasm”?

In Polish there's an expression Słomiany zapał which is a play on words, Straw enthusiasm and Straw going ablaze. The idea is that straw burns with a very bright flame but the fire dies out very ...
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2answers
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Nothing-but: singular or plural

Nothing but books and magazines pleases/please her. What is the subject "Nothing" or "Books and magazines"? What should we use here singular or plural? Nothing pleases/please her but books and ...
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1answer
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Is it idiomatic to say “could only be used”?

In my another post (What prepositions could be used to describe the position relevant to water?) I said "Under" could only be used with "water". I meant that other prepositions, such as "below, ...
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8answers
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Pouring from empty to empty

How to translate to english from a foreign language an idiom that uses two different words that have the same meaning “empty”, to say “pouring from empty to empty”, which means if you pour something ...
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3answers
28k views

Excuse me, excuse myself, excuse yourself?

I would like to know how to use the excuse myself/yourself idioms. Also would be nice to know the possible situation for these sentences. I know, if I caused any trouble I can say "Excuse me" for it. ...
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3answers
983 views

Does this sentence need “if” or “when”?

I came across this sentence: "There isn't an entomologist in the whole world who wouldn't give all he has to be in my shoes today." This was said when a person caught a rare insect. If "if" or "...
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4answers
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What does “take the points raised” mean?

Sorry I lost the context of the phrase, but as far as I remember when I looked up the phrase on Google I felt it didn't matter. I felt it had one meaning. At any rate, could you tell me whatever ...
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3answers
947 views

The meaning and the underlying expressions of “But the war isn’t being sold on these grounds.”

I have questions concerning the sentence "But the war isn’t being sold on these grounds.": What does the sentence mean? How are the word combinations "isn’t being sold" and "on these grounds" used in ...
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1answer
679 views

In “the chickens come home to roost” - is “roost” a verb or noun?

Consider: the chickens come home to roost Is the word roost used as a verb or noun in this idiom?
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1answer
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What does the phrase 'waking thoughts' mean?

Passage: Suddenly he was standing on short springy turf, on a summer evening when the slanting rays of the sun gilded the ground. The landscape that he was looking at recurred so often in his ...
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2answers
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What are the differences between “check it” and “check it out”?

"Check it" makes sense to me. But I don't understand the meaning of "check it out". It is not the only case. In many cases, the addition of "out" makes the sentences/phrases awkward to me, though this ...
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4answers
6k views

If “to f---” means to have sex, what does this idiom mean?

We all know that fuck means to have sex, so what does it mean when a speaker says fuck you? If fuck me means the speaker is asking someone else to have sex have with them, then what does fuck you ...
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2answers
473 views

Shouldn't you put your better foot forward?

There's a phrase that goes Put your best foot forward. Given this phrase usually offers advice to humans who have two feet, shouldn't it be Put your better foot forward?
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2answers
794 views

You are welcome

In response to "Thank you", one usually says, "You are welcome". Can this phrase be shortened and just say, "Welcome"?
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3answers
3k views

To look “forced”

I was talking to a girl in English and in personal, friendly and non-formal situation. The girl behaved like she...was obligated to speak with me like she did. It was just a feeling that she had some ...
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2answers
1k views

What does this verb mean in this context?

The horses laid into the collar. What does this mean?
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2answers
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Dr. Who says, “be my pal…”. What does this mean in this context?

In a teaser for the new series of Doctor Who the Doctor asks Clara : Clara, be my pal and tell me... am I a good man ? My problem is that in French it simply doesn't have any other sense than ...
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2answers
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Can we say 'she got out of her/the bed’ with a determiner?

Bed is being used as both the countable and uncountable meaning as in Simon lay in bed thinking. She got into bed and turned out the light. (source: Longman) I wonder whether this she ...
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1answer
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What does “that would be that” mean?

A friend of mine watches BBC Top Gear. He sometimes hears the guys say "That would be that". What does that mean?
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1answer
299 views

Can I use verb “to split” in meaning to “to run”?

There is an idiom "time to split" which means "time to run", "time to go away". But can I use verb "split" separately with the same meaning? For example "They have split and stopped responding me.".
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1answer
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“It is raining” or “it is rainy”?

I'm trying to say: I don't like the weather today because it is ____. (rainy / raining) I have to carry an umbrella for ____ (rainy / raining) weather. Should I use rainy or raining? Also, what ...

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