Submitted by bob2  •  October 3, 2006

Retail Therapy

Does anyone know who first used the expression “retail therapy”. How would one go about finding the first time this expression was published?

Submitted by anette  •  April 4, 2006

Hi all vs. Hi everybody

I’m German, but work in an American company. So the expression “Hi all” is pretty popular as a salutation for email messages. Now, an American English native speaker told me that this is Southern accent, and I should use “Hi everybody” instead. (same with “Dear all”)

What do you think?

Submitted by adam  •  March 29, 2006

Over exaggeration

Is it correct to say “over exaggerate”? or is exaggeration by nature already over emphasizing? Surely you either exaggerate or you don’t? It just drives me mad when people say this all the time!

Submitted by bethann  •  March 3, 2006

Butter won’t melt in my mouth...

So I am a university English Lit student of about three years, and I have to admit, I don’t exactly know the meaning of this phrase. I came across it while reading “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and was reminded how much this phrase has always annoyed me, because I have a general idea of what it means, but couldn’t specifically define it. I am also curious as to where this phrase originated from. Any ideas?

Submitted by sara  •  February 27, 2006

Thisclose

I recently used the phrase (?) “thisclose.” A friend asked me what it’s called when the literal writing matches the meaning. Is there a word for that? What is it?

Submitted by donnieantonini  •  February 23, 2006

Cow Eyes

What does it mean when someone says you have cow eyes? I’ve heard a bunch of answers but I don’t know which is right. I have been told it means:

- Your eyes kind of stick out (like Steve Buscemi) - Your eyes are different colors (I guess this is common among cows? I know it’s common among certains dogs and cats) - Your eyes have a sad look to them (cause cows look sad?) - You have a stare that suggests you are “hot to trot” - You have a blank, empty stare.

Any ideas what this really means?

Submitted by bill  •  January 15, 2006

Perfect Storm

Does a phrase exist (english or other) that describes a situation in which something that normally would not occur takes place, solely because the circumstances surrounding it (themselves possible anomolies) make it possible.

Example: A “perfect storm” can take place because wind speeds reach the correct speed at the correct moment, water temperatures are at the right temperature at the correct time, etc., etc.

Submitted by alinadeem  •  January 10, 2006

As wet as ?

as dry as a bone as cold as ice as sick as a dog as wet as ??? a fish? water? what’s right?

Submitted by jamesrigg  •  January 6, 2006

Discussion forum

Am I not right in thinking that the phrase “discussion forum”, as often used to refer to bulletin boards on websites, is a tautology?

Submitted by gargeug  •  December 8, 2005

Charade you are!!

I have heard the expression “Ha Ha, charade you are” in the pink floyd song pigs, and also in a southpark episode. In the episode cartman used it like you would use the phrase “touchee” in an argument. Does anyone have any input as to what this phrase means and an example of using it.

Submitted by donnieantonini  •  December 6, 2005

Might could

There’s an expression from the Southern United States that has always bugged me and it is “might could” which means may be willing and/or able to do something in the future. It is used like this:

“Are you going to do it?” “I’m not sure but I might could.”

Despite being bad grammar and redundant, my question is what is the correct response? Both the phrases, “I’m not sure but I might.” or “I’m not sure but I could.” just sound strange to me. Is the only way to use a longer phrase like, “I’m not sure but I might be willing to do it later.”

Submitted by elisemodgins  •  October 26, 2005

Riot act

What does it mean when someone states that they were “read the riot act” or that THEY read someone else “the riot act”? Is there such a thing as a Riot Act. I haven’t been able to locate information on this.

Submitted by shantel  •  October 14, 2005

worthwhile debate

“For all it’s worth” or “for all its worth”?

e.g. He rolled the R for all it’s worth.

Submitted by vanillla  •  September 28, 2005

OK vs Okay

I have seen both OK and Okay used regularly. If OK is correct what do the O and the K stand for? If Okay what is the origin? Thank you.

Submitted by steve  •  September 27, 2005

most unique

Is it correct to describe something as “most unique”? It seems to me that “most” is redunant though it does add emphasis akin to expressions such as “very pregnant” and “very dead”.

Submitted by steve  •  September 27, 2005

hanged vs. hung

In primary school we learned that prisoners were hanged by the neck until dead, and not hung by the neck until dead. Paintings, coats, and Christmas stockings are “hung”, not people. They are “hanged”. Is this correct? I hear news reporters say “hung” all the time. Never “hanged”.

Submitted by tweyland  •  September 21, 2005

all _____ sudden

Is it regional to use “all of a sudden” versus “all the sudden?” The former sounds more correct to me.

Submitted by marta  •  September 7, 2005

words, words, words...

Could anybody tell me what these words above might mean or refer to? I’d be very, very grateful...

teletubbified, beefcakeosity, blubsome, hamburger junction, horseburger (do we really produce that kind of stuff??), jelly-bagging, rocktabulous, froogle, trammel-netter, woo-woo book, telangiectasia, truncus arteriosus. :-)))

Submitted by m56  •  August 21, 2005

Prepositional verb or phrasal verb?

IYO, is “sailed through” a prepositional verb or a phrasal verb in the sentence below?

She sailed through her exams.

Submitted by jiri  •  July 26, 2005

Burnt

It happened to me that I touched by accident the exhaust pipe of my motorbike when it was damn hot and got burnt.

Now, what would you say to questions like ‘What happened’? I always seem to carry over the pattern from Czech and look for a preposition such as ‘on’ or ‘by’ but it all sounds awful:

I got burnt ON/BY the exhaust pipe.

So I always end up resorting to either a long narrative or ‘It was the bike’...

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