20

Really, it could mean either. If you're talking about a person, it would mean the person is intelligent (this is the more common usage). But if you were talking about an organisation, it would mean they have many intelligent people. It depends on the context.


13

Not quite. The phrase "con artist" does not mean someone who counterfeits paintings or sculpture. "Artist" here is being used in a more general sense to refer to anyone who is very good at something. Like you might say, "the chef is an artist at creating great desserts". So the phrase "con artist" means "someone ...


11

No, the choice between "literal" listen and "metaphoric" look has no implications for intended meaning in such contexts. It's entirely a stylistic choice. And both versions are only likely in casual spoken contexts, so there's no difference in "level of formality" either. On the other hand, there is often a difference between ...


9

I guess the confusion is the use of the plural "brains". This is casual but idiomatic: Wiktionary gives: *(in the plural) Intellect. She has a lot of brains. So "Long on brains" means "having a great intellect", or "being very intelligent".


7

Tolkien tends to use words in an old fashioned style. He is trying to write with majesty and poise, and frequently uses words that had already become rare in English at the time he was writing. In this case "counsel" means the consultation that kings hold with their advisors and ministers. And "trouble" means "disturb, or make ...


6

You can say I am short of time. or I am short on coffee. Be long on something then would convey the opposite meaning. It means you would have a good or large supply or endowment (10). We are long on corn. I think the problem we have is that we are long on generalities and short on specifics. As @James pointed out, "long on brains" means &...


5

Your first interpretation is correct - he kicked the door shut. In this context, "to" is used as an adverb describing the result of the action, i.e. that the door is now closed. From Merriam-Webster: to adverb 3a: into contact especially with the frame —used of a door or a window // the door snapped to


5

You write that you think the saying means you can't distinguish the big picture from the details. In fact, the saying means you can't see the big picture (at all) because you're focusing on the details—because you're looking at the trees, you don't have a wider view of the forest as a whole. "For" means "because of" in this usage.


5

"Con artist" is short for "confidence artist" - the medium they work in and manipulate is people's confidence or trust. "Dodgy" often refers to someone who is successful in evading accountability for harm they've caused, and who has morals the describer likely disagrees with.


4

It looks like an AmE variation of "I'm good for puffs" This is a casual way to say "I have sufficient puffs". (Which could mean I don't have any puffs, but that's okay, because I don't want any.) There are several meanings of "good for" and "good on", and you have to infer the right one by context. This, or the ...


4

Here the word "to" means "into contact especially with the frame — used of a door or a window" (Merriam Webster)


4

To 'set right' is correct and would generally be said. To 'set aright' is a much less common dialect that most would find odd, however I believe in this context the meaning is identical.


4

It is just a joke playing on the reader's expectations. The "Roses Are Red" poem is extremely well known, and is sometimes even used to teach children what a rhyme is. There are a very large number of rhymes that are parodies of this where the last two lines are changed. Usually the last line needs to end with something rhyming with "blue&...


3

It means "You should be living in a proper house. Why are you living here?" It means that his words (advising her to live somewhere else) are even worse than what her Mum says to her. That is, his words are more concerned and worrying than what her Mum says. Yes, "Mum" is her mother.


3

This is a slightly odd phrase. Rephrasing, this means there is an inconvenience because "they" are too perfect. How to interpret this phrase is going to depend heavily on the context. For example, this could imply the speaker finds someone's obsession with perfection to be somewhat annoying, and is trying to state this in a polite way.


3

S.S. is short for "Steam Ship" (or perhaps "Screw Steamer"), and is a common part of the name of many ships, typically large luxurious passenger cruise ships. (For example the S.S. Titanic). So Hook is referring to a large steamship named "Purgatory". Purgatory is, in Christian belief, a place where souls go after death. It is ...


2

The fortuneteller wants to predict the future of an old man. He's old, so he knows that the only thing left to know is his own death, and he'd rather not know anything about it.


2

making good on a campaign trail promise sparked by his predecessor's tilting of the federal bench Your interpretations are fine. 'Make good' is defined in one dictionary as follows. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/make-good If someone makes good a threat or promise or makes good on it, they do what they have threatened or promised to ...


2

Does "Athena could eat properly" mean "If Athena ate she could eat properly"? No. It's a sentence about one's abilities in the past. It's not hypothetical. Athena can eat properly. (=present) Athena could eat properly. (=past) It could mean she was old enough to know how to behave at the dinner table, how to hold a spoon, how to eat ...


2

Although I'm not a native Englisher, to me, "this it is" seems like a regular structure, which in linguistics is called 'left peripheral focus'. There you go Here you are London it is (let's say you were applying for expat jobs around Europe, and finally you got on offer for London and you post it on social media)


2

Hard to say without context, but it's probably literal. Some authors use a pseudonym, i.e. a fake name. If it's talking about Stephen King, he published some of his books under the pseudonym "Richard Bachman". So the writer here is saying that whatever name the author uses, whether "Stephen King" or "Richard Bachman" (or if he's ...


2

You'd have to have more to go on that just the snippet in question, but given the odd phrasing, being "on the cusp" is more commonly used when just approaching something I'd suspect self-deprecating humour was being used. A literal reading of being on the cusp of being under 30 would mean being "very close" to being "under 30" ...


2

It's an idiomatic metaphor. The idea comes with an engine pulling a railway train. If the rails are slippery because of bad weather, or whatever, the wheels of the engine tend to slip, and so the train cannot pull the train. This is referred to as "loss of traction". If the metaphorical engine cannot gain traction, it means it can't stop its wheels ...


2

The expression is odd, but it has no special meaning. The structure can be explained with a different example. Suppose there is a school rule that "essays must be less than 5000 words". Longer essays are not allowed. Then if I write an essay that is 6000 words, it is too long and you can say That essay is longer than is allowed So in your ...


2

They suddenly became [by no wish of their own] both important and renowned (1), and [they] troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great (2). As you correctly pointed out, trouble can be a verb and it's the role it plays in this passage. It's presented in the past simple form. It's a regular verb, thus trouble - troubled - troubled. When you trouble (verb)...


2

'He (or she) is there' simply states that someone is at a place, but 'there he (or she) is' is drawing someone's attention to the fact that someone is somewhere visible, possibly after looking for that person. Often accompanied by a pointing gesture, and also often followed by an exclamation mark.


2

No, it's referring to the process of becoming friends. "Coworkers make the best friends" is saying that the state of being coworkers is the best way to befriend people. In general, "making friends" is an idiom for the process of befriending someone. That's different to saying that you are friends with someone, since that denotes the ...


2

It's a video game in which you supposedly recreate the music of Queen. I believe "hammer out" means that you tap on the screen (like a hammer taps) when playing the 'bass' part in the game. Likewise, "hold down" means that you hold your finger on the touch screen of your device to 'sustain' (hold the same note for an extended time) the ...


2

Verb + "up" (eg "washing up", "eating up", "drying up" etc) tends to refer to the process of doing something to completion. So, "closing the shop" could be taken to mean simply locking it up so that customers can no longer enter, whereas "closing up the shop" could involve the entire process of ...


2

Yes. it is referring to generic drugs (as opposed to name-brand). This may be a US-centric distinction, I don't know, but it is definitely well attested here.


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