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17 posts tagged with language and phrase. (View popular tags)
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"When my ship comes in"?

The 1983 Billy Joel song "Uptown Girl" has the line "But maybe someday when my ship comes in / she'll understand what kind of guy I am / and then I'll win." It just occurred to me that, though I'm in my thirties, I don't think I've ever heard the expression "when my ship comes in" used by anyone but Billy Joel. Has this ever been a commonly-used expression? If so, does anyone still use it? And what the heck does it even mean? I mean, I can tell what it figuratively means, from the context. But what is the connection between a ship arriving and someone becoming successful?
posted by Mechitar on Jun 18, 2013 - 48 answers

What word or phrase sums up this pattern of human interaction?

I'm looking for a word or phrase to sum up the following sentiment: [more inside]
posted by bac on Jun 11, 2013 - 42 answers

Etymology of "I know, right?"

I have a theory about the origin of the expression “I know, right?” that’s been fairly popular among young and youngish Americans (and others, for all I know) for the past several years. I’m testing that theory with this question. I understand that Mexicans (and maybe other Latin Americans) have an equivalent expression, “Sí, ¿verdad?” - even with the same intonation as “I know, right?”. Well, one source has told me this, anyway. Can other people verify this? And if so, how common is/was the Spanish version of the expression, and roughly when (and where) did people start saying it?
posted by Mechitar on Apr 18, 2013 - 9 answers

English catchphrases in foreign language films

Are there any famous English catchphrases in foreign language television and cinema? Think of this as the Foreign language equivalent to "Hasta la vista, baby!" [more inside]
posted by Nanukthedog on Sep 26, 2012 - 11 answers

Would that be calmotic or chaolm?

What are some things that are both chaotic and calm simultaneously? [more inside]
posted by lesli212 on Sep 9, 2012 - 48 answers

In nose range?

I want to indicate that something is close enough to smell, but I want to do so in a way that matches these examples: "in sight" for close enough to see, "in reach" for close enough to touch, and "in earshot" for close enough to hear. I keep thinking there must be a simple and obvious way to phrase it, but right now I'm drawing a blank.
posted by amyms on Dec 20, 2011 - 29 answers

"Amazingly odd and oddly amazing" - is there a name for this kind of phrase?

What are these phrases called? Examples: "amazingly odd and oddly amazing"; "terribly basic and basically terrible"; "embarrassingly hot and hotly embarrassing". I could swear I came across a name for this type of word pairing once before (quite possibly on this very site, in which case sorry), but my searches to find it again have been hopelessly awful and awfully hopeless. [more inside]
posted by d11 on Feb 12, 2011 - 16 answers

Origin of phrase "The righteous man champions the lost cause..."

I'm trying to locate the origin of the phrase "The righteous man champions the lost cause, knowing that all other causes are just merely events." [more inside]
posted by victoriab on Apr 15, 2009 - 2 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

Why not six bells? Eight?

Where did the phrase "beat seven bells" (out of someone) come from? [more inside]
posted by pdb on Feb 27, 2007 - 8 answers

You probably discussed this question with your friends yesterday, too.

What's the term (if there is one) for a previously-unfamiliar concept that you suddenly encounter all over the place for no apparent reason? [more inside]
posted by vytae on Jan 24, 2007 - 38 answers

"Me biased against the group? No, some of my best friends are of that group!"

Why is "some of my best friends are black/jewish/gay/whatever" seen not only as unconvincing when it comes to disclaiming bias but also as a stereotypical response by one who is biased? [more inside]
posted by Firas on Jan 25, 2006 - 41 answers

Where does "Cohee" come from?

What is the etymology behind the word "Cohee"? [more inside]
posted by Third on Sep 13, 2005 - 2 answers

Etymology of the phrase "hunt you down like a dog"

What's the origin of the phrase "hunt you down like a dog?" I can seem to find the origins of other phrases involving dogs pretty easily but not this one.
posted by DyRE on Feb 3, 2005 - 16 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

Origin of "Go Piss Up a Rope" and the H. in "Jesus H. Christ"?

Excuse me, but can anyone tell me: What exactly is the origin of the phrase Go piss up a rope? I know it's present in the American South and Midwest, but did it originate elsewhere? Does the phrase occur in other countries? And how exactly does one piss up a rope? Does it mean Go climb a rope (similar to Piss off!), or literally Go urinate up a length of braided twine? And, while we're at it, what the hell does the H stand for in Jesus H Christ? I've always wondered. [...a little more inside] [more inside]
posted by Shane on Jan 19, 2004 - 12 answers

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