91 posts tagged with phrase.
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idiomatic irregular verbs and conjugation

"I mobilize people, you pander, he demagogues" and "I am an innocent victim; you made some foolish choices; she totally deserved it" and "I have a philosophy, you have a tendency, they have an ideology" are examples of a kind of conjugation, where the preferred phrases change depending on the distance to the speaker. Can you think of more examples?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 23, 2016 - 16 answers

One-phrase descriptions of writers

Can a writer's literary style or technique be summed up in one phrase? I am trying to compile such a list of descriptions. An example would be: "Ernest Hemingway: Simple, terse, unadorned, and uses few adjectives." George Bernard Shaw: "Energetic, witty, intellectual, aggressive, comedic, and socially critical." The more technical the description, the better.
posted by omar.a on Oct 26, 2015 - 2 answers

Slang phrases (and where you heard them) for u-turn?

Hi, I'm interested in any slang words or phrases you have heard for making a u-turn. I'll share the two I've heard; I'd love to hear what you have heard. [more inside]
posted by rachelpapers on Sep 23, 2015 - 63 answers

the etymology of you hearing me

Of late, it seems like everyone in the world is using the phrase "I hear you," to mean, sort of, "yes me too" or "okay," or "I understand," or "I get it." Or a combination of all of those. I've been hearing (heh) this A LOT. Why? When did this start? Where did it come from? Is it everywhere or regional? [more inside]
posted by millipede on Dec 1, 2014 - 16 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

Whiskey and weddings go together like.....

I need a fantastically witty but short phrase that plays on some combination of whiskey, aging whiskey, a barrel, manhattans, marriage, and love. [more inside]
posted by tryniti on Jul 9, 2014 - 13 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

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

Trying to track down the source of an annoying verbal tic

The past year or two I've noticed a dramatic uptick in "I was gonna say…" as a conversational prefix. Especially when used to try to take credit or trump a previous comment. (Example below) I think it's intended to mean "I agree", but it always comes across as "I'ma let you finish…" Have you come across this? Did it spontaneously generate, or is there a popular culture origin? [more inside]
posted by Ookseer on Jun 24, 2013 - 23 answers

"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

Like a Man Card, Only Western?

Has anyone ever heard the expression "cowboy card?" References? Insight? Ideas for search terms that won't just get me greeting cards?
posted by newrambler on Dec 20, 2012 - 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

Looking for a word or phrase..

I'm looking for a word or phrase that implies offering a solution to a problem created by the same entity offering the solution. Or even just a created problem in general (e.g. created by society). [more inside]
posted by jjbb on Feb 17, 2012 - 12 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

Is "crow snow" a phrase used in Iran?

Is "crow snow" a phrase used in Iran? [more inside]
posted by stebulus on Sep 8, 2011 - 6 answers

95% of success is...your guess is as good as mine

Is there a saying that goes something like "95% of success is confidence"? [more inside]
posted by oceanview on Jun 26, 2011 - 15 answers

Help me find the software sequencer of my dreams.

What sequencer+daw on the Mac handles clips/phrases in a song as links back to a master instance of the clip, rather than as individual copies? [more inside]
posted by txsebastien on May 24, 2011 - 8 answers

Help me reword "ascend a [horizontal] walkway" so it is correct.

Can you "ascend" a horizontal "walkway"? No? Then how does one describe this action in a single word? [more inside]
posted by phonebia on Apr 20, 2011 - 26 answers

Phrases about machines.

Do you know (un)common phrases about machines? [more inside]
posted by curious nu on Feb 18, 2011 - 25 answers

"Strong like bear"... from where?

Where does "strong like bear" come from? [more inside]
posted by codger on Feb 14, 2011 - 13 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

Etymology of "once and for all"?

What's the etymology of the phrase "once and for all"? What's the earliest known attestation?
posted by topynate on Feb 11, 2011 - 5 answers

Collection of possible future events that are all somehow related?

Is there a word for a "collection of possible future events that are all somehow related?" I want something that captures the idea of a "collection of scenarios." Or, pick an forecasted event, fear, or desire: What is "the spectrum of possible outcomes" relevant to this thing that has my attention, plausible or otherwise, expected or unexpected, the good, the bad, and the ugly? Probability cloud? Scenario collection? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on Dec 27, 2010 - 20 answers

Well you should be happy for me...

Many years ago the answering machine at my parents house received a mysterious phonecall which was two male voices. The first said clearly in a fairly loud tone of voice "Well you should be happy for me..." and the other replied "...I am... but..." The message then cut off. Is this from something, or a reference to something? [more inside]
posted by haveanicesummer on Dec 17, 2010 - 4 answers

What's the original source of the phrase "Wake up, white people" ?

What's the original source of the phrase "Wake up, white people" ? [more inside]
posted by electroboy on Dec 17, 2010 - 8 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

Why not hug the bear?

My coworker is curious about the expression "never put down your gun to hug a bear". What does it mean? [more inside]
posted by momus_window on Nov 18, 2010 - 15 answers

Is "Coordinately Invited" OK?

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

Mac Alternatives to Phrase Express?

Phrase Express alternatives for Mac. Bonus point for FLOSS. [more inside]
posted by RockyChrysler on Aug 21, 2010 - 3 answers

What is a more elegant/poetic way of saying: "I find you in everything that I do" ?

What is a more elegant/poetic way of saying: "I find you in everything that I do" ?
posted by Jason and Laszlo on Jul 10, 2010 - 22 answers

I just made a doobie

"I apologized like a good doobie". "What?" [more inside]
posted by Green With You on Jul 6, 2010 - 13 answers

A game that focuses on sentences, for fun?

Is there a board game that relies on building sentences for game play, but not in a "teach people how to construct sentences" way and is not Mad Libs? [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 4, 2010 - 12 answers

What's your evil?

I should be able to let things like this go, I know, but a Facebook friend wrote a status update containing a phrase I've never heard, and not knowing what she meant is driving me nuts. I'm 44 and the opposite of "street." She's in her 20s -- a hip New Yorker. This sort of thing happens to me all the time, but usually googling or Urban Dictionary helps me. Not this time. So, is this a real phrase or is it some quirky thing she made up: "What's your evil?" [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Apr 29, 2010 - 48 answers

This Question Has All Sorts of Meta-y Goodness!

When did the practice of putting a noun followed by "-y goodness" (i.e., "buttery goodness", "meaty goodness") in a phrase first come into usage? [more inside]
posted by Hanuman1960 on Apr 12, 2010 - 17 answers

"It was not there to protect me from you. It was there to protect you from me"

Where does the phrase "It was not there to protect me from you. It was there to protect you from me" come from? [more inside]
posted by seanyboy on Oct 30, 2009 - 9 answers

Whence "in the not-too-distant future"?

What is the origin of the phrase "in the not-too-distant future"? [more inside]
posted by unregistered_animagus on Oct 9, 2009 - 10 answers

How can I come up with some creative phrases using the word "amped"?

Can you help me find phrases that include the word "amp" or "amped"? [more inside]
posted by niles on Jul 20, 2009 - 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

Nothing you do not need

TattooFilter. Looking for a poetic version of the phrase "Nothing you do not need." [more inside]
posted by anthropoid on Apr 11, 2009 - 32 answers

99 problems but a name aint one

Can I use a song lyric/title as my business name? Or is it copyright protected? [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Feb 23, 2009 - 22 answers

Thesaurus word like "homage to"

Single word that means "to sing the praises of", poss. Greek or Roman in origin. Thinking paean, or ode but not quite. [more inside]
posted by jchinique on Feb 23, 2009 - 25 answers

Quote about roses and thorns

Looking for a quote about sensitivity -- something like "Only those who suffer the prick of the thorn can appreciate the beauty of the rose." Anybody know?
posted by Brzht on Jan 21, 2009 - 3 answers

Great seats at a bad show

Have you ever heard the expression "Great seats at a bad show" or "Great tickets for a bad show" or something like that? Do you remember where you heard it?
posted by Brzht on Jan 13, 2009 - 3 answers

I see you.

Searching for something Bill Clinton once said, when he was on Oprah. Help me find this quote! [more inside]
posted by gursky on Sep 4, 2008 - 6 answers

"Sayonara, sucker" in Russian?

Need to "sayonara, sucker!" in Russian. [more inside]
posted by phunniemee on Jul 30, 2008 - 13 answers

What is the source of "When you fight with a pig you both get dirty - but the pig likes it"?

Where does this phrase/proverb come from? [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Jun 20, 2008 - 10 answers

How to improve my southern speakin' skillz

Please help me expand my base of quaint southern expressions, aphorisms and witticisms. [more inside]
posted by willie11 on May 8, 2008 - 103 answers

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