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1

The two expressions are not related at all, and so not interchangeable. "By any chance" is a set expression that always goes with a polite request. "By the way" is an expression used to change the subject or slightly redirect a conversation. You could do this by making a statement or asking a question, but it's not necessary. There is no ...


1

If someone gave me ice cream as a gesture of kindness, I might well say (as a native speaker), "That really made my day!"


0

Here is a snippet from King's 'The Stand' Nick was depressed and slightly overawed by the size of the country; never before had he realized how easy it was to stick out your thumb, knowing that sooner or later the law of averages was going to favor you. A car was going to stop, usually with a man driving, and with a can of beer resting comfortably in the ...


1

Yes, there is a difference. I want to make a contact with Lisa. This is not normally used in casual conversation but would be used in a more formal statement (discussed below) contact; verb; to communicate with someone by calling or sending them a letter, email, etc.: Ref C.E.D. I want to contact Lisa. This is just a general statement you wish to connect ...


1

These are all correct. 1: I was given a task 2: A task needed people to do it and I was chosen 3: I was given a task (same meaning as 1 but with the word order flipped) The difference is very subtle and they are all likely to be used interchangeably


5

"Painted Satan" is an unusual collocation (Google Ngram returns zero references), but "painted Jezebel" is a well-known (if somewhat archaic) phrase. Quoting the Wiktionary definition of painted Jezebel: (obsolete, derogatory) A Jezebel; an evil, scheming, shameless or immoral woman, especially one who uses physical attractiveness to ...


0

I think it's supposed to mean "devils in disguise". (Painted, as in wearing a layer of paint for camouflage, metaphorically.)


2

To dumb down [something] means to lower the level of intelligence in [that thing]. The existence of the direct object, and its usage after "in", is implied by the dictionary definition.


0

The following are all very similar in meaning to "a broken shell of a man": a man who is very sad a depressed man a husk of a man a sullen man


4

The main one that comes to mind is to "go above and beyond", which Cambridge dictionary gives as to do more or better than would usually be expected of someone If you wanted to thank someone directly, you could say: Thanks very much for your help last week. I just wanted someone to pick me up from the hospital, but you got me some groceries and ...


1

Your examples are all fine. The expression works in many arrangements. At Lexico you will find 22 examples of both 'shiver' and 'shivers' used in a variety of constructions. (Look for shiver1 then NOUN. You need the first definition. Then open "more example sentences".) It may also be helpful to look at the the next definition (1.1 - the shivers), ...


0

What is it about people who want to clone dogs? "What is it about"/ "What is this about" is a standard idiom which is used before stating something that one has heard about to ask if it is true, if it exists, it really happened, etc. Merriam Webster definition So might be there is a trend going on about people cloning dogs (I don't know ...


1

“Sacred cow” is actually a critical statement. Its origin is British contempt for the Hindu belief in the divinity of bovines. A “sacred cow” is something that cannot be attacked because it is a matter of faith rather than reasoned argument. I think the phrases that you are looking for are “not absolutely true” and “not necessarily true.” These two phrases ...


2

Your use of "sacred cow" isn't idiomatic. A sacred cow is some principle that a person or group considers immune from criticism but unreasonably so. It is almost always used to criticise the very opinion that the person considers to be a sacred cow! The free market has become the sacred cow of conservative politicians, even as it plunges us into ...


1

There is an expression (I believe coined by Shakespeare) that goes “It’s all Greek to me.” It means that you understand it so poorly that it may as well be a totally different language.


2

As Colin Fine pointed out in a comment, the word "fit" is not a verb here, it's an adjective meaning "good, appropriate". So if the phrase can be expanded to anything, it's "for us to define as we see that it is fit" (it = "dummy pronoun" meaning our act of defining them a certain way). "See fit" is an ...


1

I think you misunderstand the sentence. A more condensed version would be "The aims and objectives are for us to define." That is, we define the aims and objectives. (It isn't given from outside, it's us who can make the decision what the aims and objectives are going to be.) What kind of aims and objectives? The aims and objectives for nature ...


0

I think that it means you got fat and needed to add another hole in your belt to accommodate your expanding stomach.


1

On shaky ground I might be on shaky ground here, but I am sure that <enter your favourite conspiracy theory> is true because <enter your favourite outrageous unsubstantiated claims here> are known facts. Expand Expanding the abbreviation IBM reveals that it stands for "International Business Machines" or Expanding the acronym ASCII ...


4

Where did this idiom come from? According to The Free Dictionary, which cites The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer, this idiom has separate origins in British and American dialects. In Britain this term comes from cricket, where a player or team failing to score has, since the mid-nineteenth century, been said to get a duck’s egg (meaning 0, or zero)...


0

To draw water from a dry well. This means trying to get water out of a dry well, often to use for irrigation or drinking. It is one of the "impossible tasks" listed in the old folk song "Scarborough Fair": tell her to make me a cambric shirt, Without no seam nor needlework, And then she shall be a true love of mine. tell her to wash it ...


1

Not an idiom, but a relevant English word is otiose: producing no useful result; futile. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/otiose


0

If you want to use concern as the synonym of interested in, you have to use the preposition " for" so Concerned for means interested in For example: I'm concerned for that blue car= i'm interested/anxious for that blue car.


6

A fool's errand A fruitless labour A waste of time Flogging (or 'beating') a dead horse A wild goose chase A wasted labour A merry chase A lost cause These idioms mean that you get nothing from the work you put in. A few of the other suggestions you have been offered are good, but some refer to 'endless' tasks, not pointless ones. "Treading water" ...


0

In the vernacular, "pushing shit uphill" is a very good fit. It is quite a well known expression in the UK, Ireland and other English speaking areas (not the USA apparently). Obviously it is considered somewhat vulgar, so you wouldn't use it in certain contexts. However it's not on the level of "shocking" and wouldn't be a problem in most ...


1

"Flipping over" is an idiomatic way of saying turn [something] upside down. Evidently they turned a bucket upside down and used it as a drum.


2

I don't think this is an idiom nor is it a particularly popular saying/expression but I think it's very close to what you are asking for. Exercise In Futility In other words: a totally pointless endeavour


0

It seems you want an expression to mean you are expending effort that yields no results. In this case, beating a dead horse, as already suggested, is probably the closest to your intent. This does focus on your effort. I am unfamiliar with “to carry water to fill up a dry well” and no, we do not have this expression in English. If you would like to focus ...


1

I'm surprised no-one has yet come up with the catch-alls Wasting your time Getting/going nowhere Whatever you are doing, you're not seeing any useful result. There's also the rather less polite Pissing in the wind These next two are kind of 'computery', coder terms, but edging their way into broader use. One that doesn't quite fit the question, but has ...


2

"Running on the spot" / "Running in place" also springs to mind.


16

In addition to those already mentioned here, I'd like to submit: beat a dead horse Waste energy on a lost cause or a situation that cannot be changed. I'm partial to this rather colorful idiom for doing something that yields no result, the implication that beating it isn't going to make it do anything you want it to do, make it hurt any more, or make it ...


3

Spinning one's wheels and treading water are options that have been mentioned. Twiddling one's thumbs is a similar expression. To my ear these all have the connotation of "staying in place"—not progressing, but not falling back either. To specifically say that you are expending effort, but meaninglessly, you might look at some of the answers at ...


3

Maybe to tread water, which means that you are acting but not making any progress, much like how actually treading water keeps your head above the water but does not move you forward.


25

Spinning Your Wheels is used to indicate your efforts are not yielding results. This is a reference to a vehicle's tires spinning but failing to find adequate traction to move the vehicle.


0

If the russian idiom has the same meaning as Czech "přitažené za uši", I think tall tale has the same meaning: According to Merriam-Webster: Definition of tall tale/story : a story that is very difficult to believe : a greatly exaggerated story


8

As suggested by @darth-pseudonym, you should split your question into two different ones: one for the idiom and another one for the IBM "deciphering". I'm going to answer the second. According to the Oxford Dictionary decipher Convert (a text written in code, or a coded signal) into normal language. Notice that IBM is not a ciphered, coded or ...


14

As you say, притянутый за уши аргумент is an argument that is weak or fallacious. In English you might call it a specious argument, or one that doesn't hold water (i.e. full of holes).


4

you are in a situation where you experience the lack of proofs and instead of accepting the fact that you're wrong, you are trying to find a very shaky, sometimes even illogical argument in order to factitiously prove your 'correctness'. This can be described as hand-waving — the metaphor is of someone who does a lot of gesturing and emoting in an argument ...


2

"Hit the big time" is an idiom. "Made the big time" sounds like a corruption of that, perhaps when people confuse it with another idiom, "made it big". This Google ngram shows the former is used far more often, and while you can't always reach definite conclusions based on ngrams, the trend is pretty clear.


1

In relation to the first facet of your case: Where, in a criminal case, the prosecution does not have reliable and convincing evidence against someone innocent but still advances the case against him, built up on flimsy and tenuous evidence, then the person can be said to have been stitched up.


5

A possible English idiom is to chop logic, which means "to argue, especially in a hairsplitting way" as a verb. You might use it like Howard, aware that he was losing the argument, was reduced to chopping logic to salvage some of his pride.


31

The idiom I would use is ‘grasping at straws’, for which Cambridge English Dictionary gives two definitions: Grasp at straws: trying to find some way to succeed when nothing you choose is likely to work: We searched all the backup tapes, trying to find the missing files, but we knew we were grasping at straws. trying to find a reason to feel hopeful in a ...


2

It seems that "leather" in the expression hell-for-leather originally referred to a horse's saddle and tack, as the expression was first used when talking about riding a horse as fast as possible. It first occurs in print in Rudyard Kipling's "The Valley of the Shadow" from 1889: CAPT. M. (Jealously) Then don’t say it! Leave him alone. ...


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