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