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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
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?
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]
"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!!
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.
Hivemind, please help me come up with weird sayings for the RPG I'm in. [more inside]
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]
Familiarity breeds contempt. (But why?) [more inside]
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).
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]
IdiomFilter: What is the origin of the phrase "as all get-out"? [more inside]
Is "my glass is weeping" a real Italian expression? What does it mean? [more inside]
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]
Is "coordinately invited" a legitimate phrase? [more inside]
[JapaneseLanguageIdiomFilter] What might "Pochée" mean in the context of a japanese language sewing book? [more inside]
Saying "it's three times less" seems nonsensical to me. Please enlighten me. [more inside]
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.
Using the phrase 'If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed.' [more inside]
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?
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]
What is the origin of the phrase "getting the hang" of something? What did it mean, originally, to "get the hang" of something?
What is the origin of the phrase "by the balls" as in: "He's really got you by the balls."? [more inside]
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.
MajorDomesticDebateFilter : What is up? She says jig. I say gig. Google is undecided. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
Given a word, how can I search for terms and idioms containing that word? [more inside]
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]
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]
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?
What are some Spanish-language idioms or expressions for "Goodbye" (or similar) to put on a going-away cake? [more inside]
I'm looking for funny sayings, expressions, idioms, et cetera. [more inside]
What are the origins of the idiom "strangle the monster in the crib"?
What does "hoot your belly" mean? [more inside]
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]
Is there an English term for, or an idiom that describes, taking pleasure in the pain or humiliation of one's enemy?
"Writer's block," "swimmer's ear," and "athlete's foot" are all examples of occupation-specific conditions. Are there any others? [more inside]
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.
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?