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Questions tagged [phrase-meaning]

Use this tag for questions about the meaning and usage of a particular phrase, for which a dictionary cannot answer.

50
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9answers
45k views

What's the meaning of “break your legs”?

One of my friend told me to break my legs before entering the examination hall...I was confused with her words! How am I supposed to sit for the exam if i broke my legs? Or maybe is it kind of idioms/...
45
votes
6answers
19k views

Meaning of “Sue me”

I came across a dialog between two people struggling on a cutting the line situation. Here is the dialogue: A: Hey man, the end of the line is over there. B: Yeah... A: No seriously, I was here ...
43
votes
1answer
4k views

Why did he reject my thank you?

I know "No, thank you" means rejection. Me: Hey, Bob. You want some drink? Bob: No, thank you. But I was involved with this kind of conversation Me: Thanks, Mr Jordan for teaching me. ...
41
votes
5answers
11k views

What does the expression 'seven for seven thirty ' mean?

I get invites which tell me I am expected at 7 for 7.30. What time should I arrive?
40
votes
3answers
16k views

What does it mean? “I can't people today”

There is a shirt with a sentence written on it. The sentence is : I can't people today What does it mean? I've seen this link and I know that "people" can be a verb but in this special case, I ...
35
votes
5answers
3k views

What does “have a pop-up feel” mean?

Support for the Rohingya cause across the region has a pop-up feel. Source: Nouzie I looked up pop-up in Merriam Webster: 1: pop fly 2: a component or device that pops up 3: a pop-up ...
34
votes
8answers
94k views

Is it rude to say “I'd appreciate if you could reply as soon as possible”?

Recently I have emailed my teacher and asked for my transcript. I've thought that I asked for it politely, but my teacher emailed me back that he was currently busy and "your tone was quite rude" I ...
28
votes
9answers
14k views

What does “at 19.45 hours” mean?

I was reading a book and this sentence seemed a little odd to me: At approximately 19.45 hours the two men rose, stretched and yawned. They picked up their gear and stood at the door, ... What ...
28
votes
6answers
6k views

What's the meaning of “be broker than the Ten Commandments”?

The meaning of "the Ten Commandments" is clear (see Wikipedia for example). Also, Oxford Dictionaries show "broke" means "Having completely run out of money". But I don't understand the meaning of ...
27
votes
6answers
9k views

Why it is called 'Black Friday'?

In the Western countries like USA and Canada, there is a shopping fest(festival) called Black Friday, I wonder why the word 'black' is added to it? I think the 'word' black denotes some negativity ...
27
votes
3answers
6k views

I don't get this joke “Massive Attack On Pentagon Page 14 News”, can anybody explain me its meaning?

I was reading an article about the first issue published by the satiric magazine 'The Onion' after the 9/11 attacks. One of the headlines of that issue was Massive Attack On Pentagon Page 14 News ...
25
votes
10answers
27k views

Is 'no more' used to mean 'dead' in English?

Do the English or the Americans use no more to mean 'dead'? For example, do they say "He is no more" to mean "He is dead"?
25
votes
2answers
7k views

Meaning of the “On guard!” exclamation

I recently watched the very epic ending of the Shrek 2, and when the cat draws his rapier, he shouts "On guard!" to the castle guardians. I perfectly understand the meaning from the context, but was ...
24
votes
13answers
9k views

Would saying “who is this” in normal tone be rude in an occasion not on the phone?

I am not a native English speaker; I am not sure how to interpret such an event. For example, suppose I approach my friend to say hello; suppose he is together with someone I don't know; suppose this ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “Bless you” mean in this context?

“What's that?” said Ron, pointing at a large dish of some sort of shellfish stew that stood beside a large steak-and-kidney pudding. “Bouillabaisse,” said Hermione. “Bless you,” said Ron. ...
24
votes
2answers
4k views

“it was backwards in heels”

In his Democratic National Convention speech on 27 July, Barack Obama said: Let me tell you, eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled ...
23
votes
4answers
11k views

The meaning of “half woman, half girl”

"It was the same mirror I'd gazed into as a child, then as a girl, then as a youth, half woman, half girl." Educated by Tara Westover What does "half woman" mean? (For example: A ...
23
votes
8answers
6k views

Should “cooking” and “cleaning” be taken literally in “…two men at once. One cooking. One cleaning.”

Just read a tweet, My fantasy is having two men at once. One cooking. One cleaning. Is it a word play in which 'cleaning' refers to a sexual intercourse or, actually, 'cleaning' is there intended ...
22
votes
4answers
7k views

Why does the phrase “drop dead gorgeous” mean “very gorgeous”?

I came across the phrase Drop Dead Gorgeous which means very gorgeous or good-looking. Why does the above phrase have this meaning? How do the given words relate to the meaning?
22
votes
4answers
8k views

I do not really understand the proposal: “Don't hate Monday. Make Monday hate you”

Please explain. I like to learn English. I do not really understand the proposal: "Don't hate Monday. Make Monday hate you". Help me to understand this sentence. I am very interested in this phrase. ...
21
votes
5answers
5k views

Why blame the Australians?

I noticed the following comments under a hot meta post: Downvoting questions from new users I agree this is horribly bad form. I blame the Australians. – Andrew But @Andrew, as you yourself ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of the so-called “pregnant chad”?

They’re not passing it on, they’re not voting for anyone, they’re wasting their PR like so much pregnant chad!!! I encounter the above from here. I have looked up the dictionary but find it ...
20
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3answers
4k views

What does “to be painted shut” mean?

We tried, but the window couldn't be opened. It was painted shut. I am wondering what the bolded part could mean.
19
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7answers
22k views

What does “rogue killers” mean?

US President Donald Trump has recently described the murder of a journalist in Saudi embassy in Turkey as being committed by "rogue killers". I first came across rogue in the context of rogue planets, ...
17
votes
3answers
104k views

Which time is 9 | 8c?

Today I wanted to see (on TV) an american show. Every website I saw says that the show starts Monday 9 | 8c. I think that 8c means 8 pm (or am, but highly unlikely), but what about the 9? It's not ...
16
votes
6answers
7k views

What does “Gringo Price” mean?

What does "Gringo Price" mean in the following context? "A lot of places will “Gringo Price” you. Remember those scammy repair places in the US? They exist in Portugal too." Source: How to Buy ...
16
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4answers
5k views

What is the meaning of “Put a bullet in something”?

I have seen this sentence in a chat between people and I guess when they said "put a bullet" they have used it idiomatically. I am not sure about the meaning though. A : The process is over timing B:...
16
votes
4answers
14k views

Meaning of “Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.”

What is the meaning of this quote by Terry Pratchett? Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life. I think I understand the first ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the expression “Happy is as happy does” mean?

I just read an article in The Economist's China section (2019/02/16) with the subtitle "Happy is as happy is told to". Feeling confused, I googled about this expression, only to find a quite similar ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

When I say, “they will get married”, will it be fully understood as “they will become a couple”?

I have read the web page about Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin on this URL, (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin) According to that web page, Jonathan Morris ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “”I won't let a flat tire get me down,“ Tom said, without despair”"

I've been reading Tom Swifties on a website, and could not understand one of them: "I won't let a flat tire get me down," Tom said, without despair. Where is the pun in that?
15
votes
1answer
4k views

'Die hard' phrase meaning

What does "die hard" phrase mean? Is it hard to kill? I have always been curious about its meaning. This movie title has been translated as 'Deadly Trap' in Czechia.
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is a “coat of arms” called so? [closed]

When I first encountered the coat of arms term, I failed to understand it correctly, trying literal meanings: coat - an outer garment with sleeves, worn outdoors and typically extending below the ...
15
votes
4answers
14k views

Strange words people say when leaving

I've been at parties or other gatherings, and, when it was time to leave, native speakers would come up with odd ways of saying "It's time to go." One way would be: Let's make like a bakery truck ...
14
votes
7answers
5k views

The meaning of “right” in “right by my desk”

Let's say you were asked where is the book that you borrowed from someone. Then you say: ''It is right by my desk'' What does the right mean in the answer? Does it mean that it is on the desk or ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

Can I say “I was born in a place but bred in another place” instead of using “born and bred” in pair?

I am wondering If I tell people that I was born in Melbourne but bred in Sydney, will the people think that I am married and have many children in Sydney? Because when someone "breeds" then it ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What does “the C++ track” mean?

From the book Thinking in Java: I found out, by creating and chairing the C++ track at the Software Development Conference for a number of years (and later creating and chairing the Java track), ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the relation between “dark side” and “mic check” in these lyrics?

I just listened to The Hills (Remix) by Eminem. People in the Youtube comment section were saying this line was great. I let you see my dark side, but like a mic check, you got one too. Lyric ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

what does “stuck for an angle” mean?

Source: Englishtown Lesson Stuck for an angle for a story, Lukas took himself out onto the streets and let himself be inspired by the people and things around him. What does "stuck for an angle" ...
14
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4answers
9k views

Is any difference between “speak English” and “speak in English”?

Is any difference between "speak English" and "speak in English"?
13
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5answers
5k views

What does this sentence in Harry Potter mean?

“Well, Voldemort’s going to try other ways of coming back, isn’t he? I mean, he hasn’t gone, has he?” “No, Harry, he has not. He is still out there somewhere, perhaps looking for another body to ...
13
votes
3answers
7k views

What does “to pump a shotgun” mean?

Is it "to reload" or "to shoot"? I figured out that "to pump bullets" means "to shoot", but I don't know if there isn't a difference with shotgun.
13
votes
3answers
107k views

What does 'just so you know' mean?

“just so you know” (Urban Dictionary) What does this mean? And what grammatical role does “so” have?
12
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5answers
3k views

How to understand: “The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around”?

Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Does “legal poaching” exist?

I heard the illegal poaching being uttered so many times in a TV show, about animals, that my ear of a non-native speaker, made me questioning the validity of the term. I have made some Ngram ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “beat free” (or “can't beat free”) mean?

The Impossible Book – Hey, let’s go for a walk or something! – Oh, I’m kind of busy here… – Busy bee as always. What are you doing? Reading again? Let me see the title. – It’s a ...
12
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4answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “less than delighted”?

This study evaluated the efficacy of a novel group intervention intended to increase the SWB of early adolescents who are less than delighted with their lives. Is it a typo in the text putting than ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “You're on” in this situation

In the movie, Inception, 2010 film. EAMES was sitting down, and COBB approached to him. And said, "You're on. You've got an hour. Now get us something useful." I googled it and found this : ...
12
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3answers
9k views

How is “doze off” different from just “doze”?

How is doze off different from just doze? I think they mean the same thing— sleeping lightly. What's the difference between them?
12
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4answers
9k views

What do folded hands look like?

I search on Google images for "folded hands", and it gives me pictures like this: and this: which I have no problem with. However, it also gives a lot of pictures like this one: ...