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Aujourd’hui, maman est morte

I really like learning French through comparisons, translations, and idioms. I also want to understand the idiosyncrasies of the language. What resources can I find for this? [more inside]
posted by glass origami robot on Aug 5, 2014 - 8 answers

Source of "Failed the test of humanity"?

Based on it being used unclearly elsewhere I ended up googling the phrase "Failed the test of humanity". I found multiple uses of it but no obvious originating source of the phrase. Does any one know where this apparent idiom comes from? Is it associated with a particular religion/culture? [more inside]
posted by Lentrohamsanin on Aug 3, 2014 - 3 answers

Can we ever see eye to eye? Body language idioms, please.

Trying to think of idioms / phrases that relate to body language, rather than just body parts. One example could be "to raise eyebrows". There must be others, but the web mostly came up with things like "in one ear and out the other", which isn't quite what I wanted. Suggestions appreciated.
posted by Prof Iterole on Nov 19, 2013 - 28 answers

Is "tee tee" for pee a regional or ethnic thing?

Is "tee-tee" for urination a regional or ethnic thing? [more inside]
posted by vincele on Nov 17, 2013 - 36 answers

inversions of common sayings in specific subcultures/fields?

Cyclists say, "What goes down must come up," meaning if you have a nice long downhill going out, you'll have to climb the same height to get back home. Contra dancers say, "Better never than late," meaning if you don't have enough time to do a figure properly then just skip it and make sure you're ready for the next. What other subcultures or fields have domain-specific inversions of common sayings?
posted by d. z. wang on Oct 3, 2013 - 32 answers

Is there a good quote or idiom for this sentiment?

It doesn't have to 100% match the sentiment, but I'd love if it has the same general lesson (and is more concise than the following): "An idea that you keep in your head, incessantly perfecting, is worth nothing. Whereas the person who is willing to actually act on an idea, even if it's imperfect, has accomplished something. So instead of getting hung up on perfection, just DO something and learn from it for the next time." I'm kind of looking for what, say, Diablo Cody would say to her hipster haters who have never finished a screenplay. Or what you'd tell your friend who wants to be a writer but has been tinkering with their novel for the last 200 years. Oh, and I know about "perfect is the enemy of the good."
posted by Anonymousness on Mar 10, 2013 - 52 answers

Jag söker svenska idiomen!

I'm learning Swedish in advance of a trip to Stockholm to visit friends this summer. (Yes, I know Swedes generally speak excellent English; learning languages is a hobby.) When I'm there, I'd like to pepper some of my conversations with colorful sayings, slang, and idioms. Kan du hjälpa mig? [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Mar 7, 2013 - 5 answers

Calling all idiom savants.

I'm looking for variants of idioms, so that I can put 'em in a bracket to determine the overall winner and champion of idioms. [more inside]
posted by Cold Lurkey on Mar 5, 2013 - 38 answers

Examples of sayings or idioms based on a misunderstanding?

When Bugs Bunny referred to Elmer Fudd as a "nimrod", he was sarcastically comparing the dim-witted Fudd to a biblical king who was known as a mighty hunter. However, the intended sarcasm of that reference seemed lost on the public, and over time, "nimrod" has come to be used to simply mean dull or dim-witted. Can you point me to other examples of sayings or idioms created via a misunderstood reference or saying?
posted by tocts on Feb 4, 2013 - 25 answers

Where does the phrase "Flippin' Henry" come from?

Where does the phrase "Flippin' Henry" come from (to express exasperation)? [more inside]
posted by chill on Oct 12, 2012 - 4 answers

Useful idioms

Business idioms that are actually useful? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Jun 29, 2012 - 31 answers

Sucking on Words

Does anyone know if 'sucking on words' is an idiom or common phrase? If so, what is the meaning?
posted by Le pest on Jun 26, 2012 - 10 answers

That floaty thing with feathers springs eternal etc.

Looking for stories, sayings, myths, etc dealing with hope. [more inside]
posted by actionpact on Mar 17, 2012 - 11 answers

So that's what they think of us

What are some foreign-language terms for things that involve the name of another country or culture? [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Jul 5, 2011 - 78 answers

No I don't think I was once Cleopatra

What does it mean when someone calls you an old soul? [more inside]
posted by Mizu on May 2, 2011 - 24 answers

Like wearing red to a bullfight

What are some interesting/quirky/idiomatic phrases that convey the sense that one has just walked into the metaphorical lion's den, or somewhere you are dangerously out of place? Examples of what I'm looking for, inside. [more inside]
posted by np312 on Apr 22, 2011 - 27 answers

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once bitten, twice shy: Is there a single word which conveys the sentiment of this idiom? I have thought of "gun-shy," but no others. Or another phrase or idiom having roughly the same meaning?
posted by frobozz on Oct 10, 2010 - 17 answers

Earworm tuned to 11

I'm looking for a word that describes consistent loops of music in one's head. Not just earworms, though of course earworms are part of it. I'm talking about a radio station in your head which plays a song more often than you ever heard in actual audio life. [more inside]
posted by goofyfoot on Sep 28, 2010 - 8 answers

How do you catch my eye in your language?

Calling non-English speakers: what are the equivalent phrases in other languages for "catching someone's eye" or "making eye contact"? [more inside]
posted by snarfois on Aug 27, 2010 - 13 answers

domestic vulture. what?

Are there better ways to call someone than a "culture vulture" and "domestic diva"? [more inside]
posted by drea on Mar 2, 2010 - 11 answers

Did you guys see the size of that chicken?

[batshitinsane Filter] (etymology) What is the origin of BatShitInsane? [more inside]
posted by at the crossroads on Feb 13, 2010 - 14 answers

Another word for "ringer"

sportsmetaphorfilter: Is there a word/term for one player who is vastly, ridiculously better than everyone else in their league? extra credit: It's not "ringer" unless you can convince me the term can be applied to someone who comes by their advantages honestly.
posted by thinkingwoman on Jan 16, 2010 - 51 answers

On MeFi, all portents of doom are typed...

Is it "writing on the wall" or "handwriting on the wall"? When / how did it change in popular usage? [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Oct 12, 2009 - 24 answers

If I rub dirt on it, it'll get infected!

What if I just want to walk it off? [more inside]
posted by pdb on Oct 5, 2009 - 12 answers

Shoot for the moon...

Got space-related idioms and phrases? "Cool your jets", "Jumpin' Jupiter!", "Heavens to Mergatroid!", "Over the moon!", "Off like a rocket!", "Out of this world"... [more inside]
posted by Muirwylde on Sep 16, 2009 - 44 answers

pulsus a mortuus equus

I'm looking for a Latin translation of an American colloquialism (knowing that such translations are at best approximations/don't work because the idiom never existed in Latin.) [more inside]
posted by usonian on Aug 12, 2009 - 5 answers

Throw me a bone

Hello! I am working on a cartoony illustration in which I am conveying physical human afflictions/parts of the anatomy that could have very literal visual translations. Some examples: a frog in your throat (temporary hoarseness because of phlegm or mucus). Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis), smoker's lung, kidney stones, funny bone (humerus). [more inside]
posted by geronimo's folly on Jul 29, 2009 - 22 answers

Easy Street, maybe?

What does the insult "There are street named after her" mean? [more inside]
posted by srrh on Jul 26, 2009 - 9 answers

She put on her jumper, drove to my flat, and is now happily wrapped

Wrapped up in British English filter, with [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Jun 16, 2009 - 24 answers

What we talk about when we do the nasty.

I am interested in phrases used during sex in various languages in dialects. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on Jan 9, 2009 - 29 answers

when you say jump, i say stfu?

I'm looking for sayings/proverbs/idioms etc. that convey or state, of one refusing to be told what to do (or think, or say). "When I say jump, you'll ask: 'how high?'" -- the *opposite* of something like this. [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Jul 22, 2008 - 35 answers

What's the deal, Banana Peel?

Rhyming Idioms: I know a couple of 4-year-olds that were rather tickled when I asked them "What's new, tennis shoe" They begged me for more... [more inside]
posted by dogmom on Nov 12, 2007 - 101 answers

Hey, it's a free country

Do other non-U.S. countries/cultures use the phrase "It's a free country?" [more inside]
posted by ALongDecember on Oct 26, 2007 - 31 answers

Help with an idiom

Is the expression "Too many chiefs, not enough indians" culturally insensitive? If so, help me think of a clever way of expressing the same idea using the same "too many x, not enough y" format.
posted by pasici on Apr 18, 2007 - 33 answers

Why a horse in "so hungry I could eat a horse"?

Does "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse" mean "I'm so hungry I could eat at much meat as is on a horse's bones (without getting full)" or "I'm so hungry I'd be willing to eat something as (presumably) unappetizing as horse meat"? [more inside]
posted by 23skidoo on Nov 19, 2006 - 26 answers

Festive Pants?

Idiom filter: Party Pants. I was watching Cien Mexicanos Dijeron (the Unavision version of Family Fued) with my girlfriend, when they got to the final stage, where two people try to answer quick questions with the most popular answers. We didn't manage to catch the first contestant's answer, nor the question, and the second contestant was clearly just spitballing with her answer of what we believe was "cepillo de dientes" (toothbrush). According to the the host, the most popular answer was "pantalones festivos." Festive pants? What the hell? [more inside]
posted by klangklangston on Nov 6, 2006 - 28 answers

Colloquialism

What is your favorite and most colorful expression or phrase? Speaking about two idiots that we work with, my coworker said that they looked like 'Two monkey's f*cking a football', which led me to say 'They couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery', and as a final touch, which made me laugh, my coworker states 'They're about as handy as a bear cub with a toothpick'. I would love to write a book or create a website with colorful phrases from around the world. What are some of your favorite idioms that you use or have overhead in the boardroom, bar, or barnyard?
posted by jasondigitized on Oct 31, 2006 - 192 answers

Teaching a teenager English-language idioms

Help me come up with a list of cool English-language idioms to teach my teenage foster daughter from Taiwan. Slightly [more inside]
posted by ClaudiaCenter on Sep 14, 2006 - 19 answers

paging all rocket scientists..

whats the origin of the phrase 'you dont have to be a rocket scientist..? [more inside]
posted by petsounds on Jul 5, 2006 - 15 answers

Combative non-sequitur retorts?

IdiomaticFilter...: [more inside]
posted by evariste on Mar 22, 2006 - 47 answers

Idioms poster

Please help me find a print depicting idioms and slang. [more inside]
posted by MrMulan on Dec 13, 2005 - 2 answers

Source of the expression "give it the old college try"?

Language/idioms/etc: I'm wondering about the source of the expression "give it the old college try". Google offers tons of examples, but nothing concrete.
posted by cmyr on Jan 29, 2005 - 8 answers

Who's the Pete, for Pete's sake?

"For Pete's sake!" Who's Pete?
posted by rorycberger on Jul 3, 2004 - 10 answers

Shaking a Stick

How much stuff can the average person shake a stick at? [more inside]
posted by badstone on Jan 20, 2004 - 14 answers

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