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74 votes
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What is mom-pkin?

In the popular Cinderella fairy tale, a fairy turns the poor and dirty Cinderella into a princess and a pumpkin into the carriage that will get her to the party she wants to attend. The spell, ...
Zachiel's user avatar
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46 votes
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What does "Rabbit hole" mean?

Rabbit hole commonly refers to either an actual rabbit burrow where rabbits live, or, as an idiomatic phrase used in your Ted-Ed example, the hole Alice went down following the white rabbit in Alice ...
RichF's user avatar
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40 votes
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Is 'neon' used in daily life to refer to modern things?

Not in my experience, no. The imagery I associate with “neon” is specifically neon lighting. It’s bright, it’s glary, it’s gaudy. It’s mainly used for business signage, so there’s an association with ...
Tim Pederick's user avatar
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38 votes
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unusual usage of bellowing

It's a misprint! The smoke billowed high into the sky. See Lexico for definition and examples.
Old Brixtonian's user avatar
31 votes
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Regarding a metaphor "Old Nick is not just lurking in the small print,"

"Old Nick" is a synonym for "the devil". In this case, it has little to do with the rest of the article. The first line uses the idiom "the devil is in the details", ...
tea-and-cake's user avatar
27 votes
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Help to understand: "leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America…"

The phrase the America there refers to its people, not to the land mass. It is a synonym for the citizenry (of America).
TimR's user avatar
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24 votes
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How would people use "cherry-pick"?

In this context, "cherry-picking" is a very negative term. This meaning comes from statistical analysis. The term is idiomatic and informal. It is not as negative as accusing someone of lying, but ...
Jasper's user avatar
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23 votes
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How to understand: "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around"?

Both Eddie's and Enguroo's answers are correct, but neither say why. The easiest way to compare two things is to put them next to each other and have a look. Hence, the idiom is derived from the act ...
mcalex's user avatar
  • 6,136
17 votes

What is mom-pkin?

In storytelling contexts, the words turned back into a will be, nine times out of ten, an allusion to the fairy tale known as Cinderella. If you do an ngram search for turned back into a *, pumpkin ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 130k
17 votes

Is "sailed into" used as metaphor?

Yes - 'sailed in' is often used metaphorically, although in this specific example, it is probably as much of a pun as it is a metaphor. "Sailed in" is sometimes used to describe an arrival ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 106k
17 votes

Is 'neon' used in daily life to refer to modern things?

No. Neon, either means the chemical element, an inert gas. It therefore means the lights that use this gas to produces a bright red light. The lights can be made into curved tubes and used to spell ...
James K's user avatar
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16 votes
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rollover -- what does this word mean in the following context?

Have you ever seen a car with a mechanical odometer? Many cars and trucks built during the 1960s had odometers that showed mileages between 0.0 miles and 99,999.9 miles. The odometers were connected ...
Jasper's user avatar
  • 24.3k
16 votes

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

You are right. In this sentence the author compares owls to rumors (one of the meanings of next to is in comparison with). If some ideas, accusations, remarks or rumors are flying around, they are ...
Enguroo's user avatar
  • 5,512
15 votes
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What does 'straphanger' mean in this dialogue?

"Straphanger" seems to have a different, and negative connotation in current US military parlance. Since this is a militarily-oriented movie, it is probably the definition that applies. In an ...
Vekzhivi's user avatar
  • 716
15 votes

Regarding a metaphor "Old Nick is not just lurking in the small print,"

In the West, Old Nick is a religious reference to the devil in Christianity. GEORGE FILE, Old Nick, the Devil, c. 1937 Small print is text printed smaller, usually in order to lessen its importance (...
Andrew Tobilko's user avatar
13 votes

What does "Rabbit hole" mean?

The idiomatic expression, a "rabbit hole" is a reference to Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland". Its modern meaning is a detour from your work efforts that will require a great deal of time and ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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13 votes
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What does "step on the brakes" mean in this context?

The US Federal Reserve (FED) is mandated to maintain inflation within a targeted band. As economic activity increases, the risk of inflation also increases. By slowing down the economy, the risk of ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 66.3k
13 votes

Is 'neon' used in daily life to refer to modern things?

The title Neon Genesis Evangelion is in Greek, not English. One way to translate it is, “Creation of New Gospels.” The word neon by itself is the plural neuter genitive of the Greek word for “new.” (...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 8,491
12 votes

"Canon" for technical subjects

It is not incorrect, but it would be more common to see the adjective canonical than the phrase find its way into the canon, which is a phrase normally reserved for texts. The adjective canonical is ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 130k
12 votes
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What's the metaphorical meaning of "off-ramp"?

An off-ramp is a way out of a situation, as used by US politicians. A real off-ramp is in the picture on the right side. Here, it means to give Putin a way to get out of the situation he's put Ukraine ...
Lambie's user avatar
  • 46.9k
12 votes
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What does Chaos Tax mean?

You probably can't find any example of the expression because it isn't a known idiom. It is also not a real tax! There are many kinds of literal taxes and the word is often used as part of a compound ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 106k
11 votes

"Canon" for technical subjects

The definition of the word "canon" appropriate here is: the writings or other works that are generally agreed to be good, important, and worth studying. I understand "the canon of cancer ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 106k
11 votes

The Meaning of "Sat at The Head of The Party"

A party can be a group of people assembled for some reason. To sit at the head of something, e.g. a table, is to sit at one end so that everyone can see and hear you. It implies seniority, leadership, ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
10 votes

What does "life on the road" mean?

On the road is an idiom, and it can mean on the road 1. On tour, as a theatrical company. 2. Traveling, especially as a salesperson. 3. Wandering, as a vagabond. It's not easy to ...
Alan Carmack's user avatar
9 votes

Help to understand "a 'bullseye' on his chest"

Yes, it's a common metaphor and it takes its place among several others in the same theme: He has a target on his back. He is in the crosshairs. He is in the line of fire. He is an easy ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
9 votes

Is labeling a numerical quantity "high," as opposed to "large," metaphorical, conventional, or technical?

As outlined in another answer, the use of high and low, or large and small, are conventions. There are however many situations where height and size are closely linked in such a way that if an object ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 7,567
8 votes

The syntax of metaphors in English

1) Lest the delicate porcelain of my loneliness crack This is the best of your suggestions, in my opinion. I think it is phrased quite nicely, and shows the metaphor clearly. 2) Lest my delicate ...
cbh's user avatar
  • 1,758
7 votes

What is the meaning of "But no last trump" in following sentence?

Its origin is a biblical quotation. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. ...
Martin Smith's user avatar

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