47 posts tagged with idiom.
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A metaphor of increments

Hivemind, please help fill the hole in my mind. I know you're good at this: [more inside]
posted by Dashy on Sep 19, 2016 - 21 answers

Idiomatic use of "I can still speak English"

In the first chapter of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, Marlowe says "I'm thirty-three years old, went to college once and can still speak English if there's any demand for it. There isn't much in my trade." What does he mean by that? [more inside]
posted by 256 on Mar 30, 2016 - 13 answers

Metaphor for a Skilled Worker with Solid Experience but Minimal Degree

Can you think of a good metaphor or analogy that puts a positive spin on a person who has a lot of skills and experience in a technical career field and is very good at what they do, but who's education or degree is not as advanced as others who have high degrees in the same field? [more inside]
posted by purefusion on Sep 15, 2015 - 19 answers

Word phrase search engine for GRE?

Is there a way I can search for a word and then be given the most commonly used words before and after it? [more inside]
posted by laptolain on Oct 5, 2014 - 3 answers

What does it mean "majors in the minors"

Is it referring to music cord or in college degree (like major in chemistry, minor in music). overall, it seems to refer the kind of mistake that take the minor thing and inappropriately treat it as a major thing. Thanks in advance for quick help. I am trying to translate it in Chinese, but didn't fully understand it yet.
posted by akomom on Sep 15, 2014 - 16 answers

Is "green board" a known idiom or phrase?

I seem to recall the phrase "green board" being used in some sort of flight test or launch sequence that I watched once, the meaning being that all of the control board system status indicator lights display green, and so the flight/launch can commence similar to the cliché "all systems go". I can't however find an example of this usage.I was wondering if anyone could corroborate that this is an indeed a Thing That Is Said, or better yet provide a source! [more inside]
posted by johnnydummkopf on Sep 6, 2014 - 15 answers

It's on the tip of someone's tongue

Please help my husband and me find words or phrases (any language!) that describe the sensation of knowing how far you are from home. Not really alienation or nostalgia or being homesick-- just the understanding/realization of the distance. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on May 25, 2014 - 14 answers

Shortened or partial Idioms in common use.

You often hear people say things like "When in Rome" or "Great Minds" when people are generally meaning, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." or "Great minds think alike." Is there an actual literary term for these clipped or shortened idioms?
posted by sevcenko on May 22, 2014 - 5 answers

Who first "made it sing"?

What is the origin of "making it sing," as in to cause something to be at its best, be it an instrument, weapon, machine, or anything else? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jan 27, 2014 - 14 answers

What is this Australian expression?

"Cheer up, _____." What is the missing word in this Australian expression said in reference to a person striving to be fashionable by affecting that stereotypical model look--gaunt, unsmiling, and miserable? I heard it probably seven or eight years ago. It's driving me crazy!!
posted by HotToddy on Nov 4, 2013 - 33 answers

What is a figure of speech that describes searching for a problem ...

I'm looking for a figure of speech that describes searching for a problem in something someone else is doing where there is no apparent issue. Sort of like a "witch hunt", but smaller in scale. Like nitpicking, but with more of the idea of looking for a critical flaw.
posted by roaring beast on Jan 31, 2013 - 38 answers

It's like cake on a fork!

Hivemind, please help me come up with weird sayings for the RPG I'm in. [more inside]
posted by mon-ma-tron on Oct 5, 2012 - 31 answers

idiomatic phrase: "no rest for the wicked"

I've always assumed that "no rest for the wicked" was a bastardization of the phrase "no rest for the weary". But is it? [more inside]
posted by facetious on Jul 13, 2012 - 7 answers

Times change, I need a new phrase for a difficult situation

I need a replacement for the colloquialism "tar baby". [more inside]
posted by unixrat on Jun 25, 2012 - 31 answers

The science behind contempt?

Familiarity breeds contempt. (But why?) [more inside]
posted by evil holiday magic on Jul 28, 2011 - 9 answers

Laugh? I thought I'd die!

What is the origin of the phrase, "Laugh? I thought I'd die!"? I'm under the impression that it's older than the Beau Brummels song (1964).
posted by kimota on Jul 8, 2011 - 4 answers

Take my cow... please!

Can you help me pin down an old saying from Westerns (or at least from the American Old West) along the lines of "the second cow is free"? [more inside]
posted by argonauta on May 4, 2011 - 4 answers

Where did "as all get-out" come from?

IdiomFilter: What is the origin of the phrase "as all get-out"? [more inside]
posted by nzero on Apr 19, 2011 - 5 answers

My glass is weeping?

Is "my glass is weeping" a real Italian expression? What does it mean? [more inside]
posted by hapticactionnetwork on Feb 25, 2011 - 6 answers

It's not an idiom. And it's not a phrase. And it's not "conjunction junction"

I'm trying to come up with titles. Where is a site that I can find uses of words that aren't cliches or idioms but common usages? [more inside]
posted by rileyray3000 on Dec 17, 2010 - 5 answers

Is "Coordinately Invited" OK?

Is "coordinately invited" a legitimate phrase? [more inside]
posted by nzero on Nov 4, 2010 - 22 answers

Meaning of "pochée" in context of japanese pattern book

[JapaneseLanguageIdiomFilter] What might "Pochée" mean in the context of a japanese language sewing book? [more inside]
posted by Rube R. Nekker on Jul 23, 2010 - 4 answers

I am three times dumber than you not to know this already

Saying "it's three times less" seems nonsensical to me. Please enlighten me. [more inside]
posted by not that girl on Jun 17, 2010 - 27 answers

La plume de ma meilleur grand-père

I need a French translation for "World's Best Grandpa" but do not know French. My best candidate is "Le meilleur grand-père sur le monde" which I suspect is too formal, ungrammatical, or hopelessly wrong. I'm also stumbling over the sur/dans distinction and suspect there is likely an idiom which is just better in every way. This is intended to be embroidered on a pillow so brevity and informality are prized in that order.
posted by fydfyd on Dec 23, 2009 - 7 answers

Mohammed and the mountain.

Using the phrase 'If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed.' [more inside]
posted by Blackwatch on Jul 16, 2009 - 11 answers

"Take the heart of me?" You can just say, "my heart."

In Return of the King, Aragorn says: "I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me." What precisely does he mean by this? My confusion is with the phrase "take the heart of me." Is this a standard idiom?
posted by Busoni on Jul 15, 2009 - 15 answers

Help me thread the needle.

Over the past year or two, I've noticed an increasing use of the phrase "thread the needle" in news stories and blog entries. The problem is, I don't know exactly what "thread the needle" means, and it appears in a variety of contexts that don't appear entirely consistent with each other. [more inside]
posted by Powerful Religious Baby on Jan 11, 2009 - 16 answers

What the heck is hanging?

What is the origin of the phrase "getting the hang" of something? What did it mean, originally, to "get the hang" of something?
posted by RedEmma on Oct 9, 2008 - 17 answers

What is the origin of the phrase "by the balls"?

What is the origin of the phrase "by the balls" as in: "He's really got you by the balls."? [more inside]
posted by sciurus on Oct 2, 2008 - 14 answers

Birds do it, Bees do it...

Is (or was, since it sounds quaint now) the phrase "the birds and the bees" mostly an American thing or is it also used in other english-speaking countries as a euphemism in reference to sex education. What other euphemisms or idioms are used around the world within the context of sex education (not formal sex education in a classroom setting, more along the lines of "The Talk" parents have with their kids). I'm interested in phrases used in other languages too.
posted by amyms on Jul 24, 2008 - 25 answers

The gig/jig is up

MajorDomesticDebateFilter : What is up? She says jig. I say gig. Google is undecided. [more inside]
posted by vizsla on Apr 25, 2008 - 37 answers

"giving them the Heisman"?

In this blog post on Information Arbitrage the author uses the expression "giving them the Heisman". The meaning is pretty clear from the context but I've never come across the expression before. Can anyone shed any light on it? [more inside]
posted by patricio on Apr 6, 2008 - 13 answers

Is "an X is just an X, and it is Y that Z" a snowclone?

In , "Molecular Ethology: an Immodest Proposal for Semantic Clarification", Heinz von Foerster says To escape this dilemma it is only necessary to recall that an urn is an urn, and it is animals that learn. Is this a reference to some other phrase (quotation, idiom, or otherwise) of the form "an X is just an X, and it is Y that Z"? [more inside]
posted by ErWenn on Mar 22, 2008 - 6 answers

Need foreign idioms about love

Thinking about my newest tattoo idea, it's been brewing for months...now I need the help of strangers. I have most of the elements fleshed out, but I'm looking for a saying about love, preferably in a foreign language, to incorporate. Nothing too long, it has to fit on a banner on my forearm. Idioms are best, or something that is a little more obtuse than "forever love." [more inside]
posted by hulahulagirl on Feb 12, 2008 - 31 answers

How to Search for Idioms and Phrases?

Given a word, how can I search for terms and idioms containing that word? [more inside]
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg on Feb 5, 2008 - 11 answers

Can I show you my exquisite collection of etchings?

What's the origin of/meaning behind the idiom of inviting a lady to inspect one's collection of etchings as a (euphemized/veiled?) sexual proposition? [more inside]
posted by juv3nal on Jan 21, 2008 - 15 answers

What are we talking about again?

Is there a turn of phrase for when someone resumes a conversation after a extended period of time as if no break has occurred? [more inside]
posted by JaredSeth on Sep 22, 2007 - 20 answers

Bilingual idioms.

French letter / capote anglais French leave / filer à l'anglaise Can you suggest other examples of pairs of complementary (perhaps derogatory?) idioms in two different languages? Is there a word for these?
posted by roofus on Sep 19, 2007 - 17 answers

Ayuda me, por favor!

What are some Spanish-language idioms or expressions for "Goodbye" (or similar) to put on a going-away cake? [more inside]
posted by sprocket87 on Aug 27, 2007 - 17 answers

Funny sayings, expressions and idioms

I'm looking for funny sayings, expressions, idioms, et cetera. [more inside]
posted by Anoxs on Aug 21, 2007 - 59 answers

Strangling the monster in the crib

What are the origins of the idiom "strangle the monster in the crib"?
posted by commander_cool on Jul 10, 2007 - 7 answers

Hoot Your Belly and Give Your Backbone Ease

What does "hoot your belly" mean? [more inside]
posted by breezeway on Mar 18, 2007 - 4 answers

was für eine Frage...

Hilfe! Any resources out there to teach someone how to think German? Not think in German, but to think like a German. I've been trying to teach my other half German (at his request), but it hasn't been easy... [more inside]
posted by geckoinpdx on Mar 9, 2007 - 27 answers

A word that describes taking pleasure in my enemy's pain?

Is there an English term for, or an idiom that describes, taking pleasure in the pain or humiliation of one's enemy?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Sep 18, 2006 - 27 answers

Occupational Hazards

"Writer's block," "swimmer's ear," and "athlete's foot" are all examples of occupation-specific conditions. Are there any others? [more inside]
posted by jenovus on May 23, 2006 - 60 answers

Is there a good online dictionary of idioms and phrases?

Is there a good online dictionary of idioms and phrases? I know there are online thesauri, but they don't have the colorful expressions from the original Roget's I.
posted by inksyndicate on Dec 16, 2004 - 6 answers

Deciphering Arabic

LanguageFilter: Any Arabic speakers here? I'm trying to decipher an Arabic phrase: "Baashake ya halo." I might have spelled it wrong, but I know it's not a common Arabic phrase so much as it is slang. Any ideas?
posted by symphonik on Dec 12, 2004 - 9 answers

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