Dictionary of phrases you've heard before...
November 5, 2018 11:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an online dictionary of idioms, cliches, proverbs, common metaphors, turns of phrase, famous quotations etc. So if I looked up the word hide, let's say, I might find "hidden agenda" or "hidden in plain sight" or "hide and seek" but maybe also idioms/cliches/proverbs etc. involving closely-related words like "secret" or "missing" or whatever. I would love something where I could look up a word appearing in any of these kinds of phrases, not to have to look up in 5 different dictionaries, but if you know a fabulous dictionary that covers just one, I guess I might have to settle.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The Oxford English Dictionary does an admirable job of this. I looked up sick to test my memory on this. Warning: may be too British.
posted by wellred at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2018

The classic (British) version of this is Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. The latest (2012) edition doesn’t seem to be available online, or even as an ebook, but the first edition is out of copyright if you’d like a very dated version.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:22 PM on November 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

I just tried looking up ‘hide’ in that version and it’s useless. Apologies for the suggestion.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:26 PM on November 5, 2018

TheFreeDictionary has an idiom dictionary that seems to do what you're looking for.

When I searched "hide", I got a variety of common phrases. Scroll to the bottom of the page and there are a variety of tools to help you see other similar words and options.
posted by hydra77 at 12:42 PM on November 5, 2018

We had a printed phrase etymology book as a kid that we would look things up in to read the history of it. Might be worth looking into one of those.
posted by msbutah at 12:51 PM on November 5, 2018

Not sure if fits what you’re looking for but perhaps a collocation dictionary such as this online one
posted by iamsuper at 12:58 PM on November 5, 2018

There are a bunch of sites that do something sort of like this. Some I use are:

Cliche Finder.
Related Words
The Idioms
posted by Miko at 5:49 PM on November 5, 2018

A co-build dictionary is what ESOL/ESL students use for similar purposes. Here's an online version with related terms at the bottom of the page.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 6:00 AM on November 6, 2018

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