Talk:English-language idioms

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Suggestion: Redirect this to Wiktionary's Category[edit]

This list does not seem very useful to me at all. Not only are the idioms not linked to individual articles, but no attempt is made to explain the idioms. I really think that this should be made to redirect to English idioms, which itself is a soft redirect Wiktionary's Category. This would be far more useful IMO. Besides, there doesn't seem much hope of improving this list, as no one has discussed it in the last four years... (talk) 05:47, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Seconded. There are some English idiom articles already in WP like Toe the line and Kick the bucket but they aren't even listed here. This page is next to useless as it is. -- (talk) 15:54, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Thirded. Why is it still here? It was chosen for deletion... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hekabe (talkcontribs) 22:04, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Answer: Because it is no longer a catch all list for your favorite idioms. It is a list-class article of notable pop culture idioms. There is more to it than can be supplied by a redirect. It provides a place to define the derivation and pop culture usages. Improvement over deletion. -- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 21:52, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with those who say it is not very useful. As soon as I looked at the list I could think of 30 or 30 English idioms that are mission, and some of those given aren't exactly common.
"May never be complete" is an understatement -- entire multivolume dictionaries exist of English language idioms. Moreover, "English language" takes in a lot of territory, but there are plenty of Australian, British, Canadian, and US idioms that would only be generally intelligible in their particualr country of origin, despite all of these countries nominally using the "English language".
Perhaps it would be more useful to: 1) provide a definition for "idiom"; 2) give two or three examples; and then 3) provide a list of bibliographic references were large collections (no collection is going to be "complete") of such idioms could be found for various languages/countries/ethnicities. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Needs editing[edit]

There are entries on this page that do not appear to be true idioms. We need to remove other figures of speech. There is also a noticeable lack of translations of those that are truly idiomatic expressions. We need some ground rules for inclusion and citations for included content. -- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 02:09, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I am going to remove many of these as they are not idioms. The entries "quiet as a mouse" and "like a maggot in a meat barrel" are examples of similes. Anything that compares and uses like or as is probably a simlle. The meaning of "Quiet as a mouse" is very similar to the meaning of the actual words and therefore not an idiom. The phrease "nutty as a fruitcake " is a metaphor, sort of like a "man of steel". The phrase "Even a blind hog occasionally finds an acorn " might be a Proverb or Hyperbole depending on how it is used. We need some ground rules. I propose we include in the list only those idioms that either have their own article, like Kick the bucket, can be otherwise linked to a reliable source, or are defined in wictionaly, like this one. I will attempt this after a reasonable period of time has passed. -- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 15:43, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
There is no reason that a simile, metaphore, or proverb can't also be an idiom.
Among the definitions for "idiom" are: 'a manner, style, or form of expression that is characteristic of a people, district, community, class, period, or movement.' Also, 'a expression in the use of a language that is peculiar to itself /either/ grammatically, OR in having a meaning that cannot be derrived from its cojoined elements.'
To take one of your examples, "quiet as a mouse" doesn't fit the third definition of "idiom," but it /does/ fit the first two definitions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:36, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

There are many missing .....I'm not going to add cause I don't know how to ...Well I'm a new user Tessa Peyton (talk) 19:23, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

A little help please[edit]

Some of these may not qualify as idioms and others need to be sourced before adding to the list. The rules for inclusion are given in the second paragraph of the list page. There are plenty of examples of content in the existing table.

  • Caught his/her eye – To become aware of.
  • Easy as pie – An action that is considered very easy to accomplish.
  • Every dog has his day -- Everyone succeeds sometimes.
  • Off one's perch – to be humbled or shamed.
  • Fall off the wagon – a slip in sobriety and return to addiction.
  • Fell off the back of a truck -- Indicates stolen goods.
  • Give someone the runaround – To be unhelpful by creating excuses, shifting blame or sending them on a fruitless task.
  • Give up the ghost -- To die, or finally reveal something (as a secret).
  • Cold feet – To have fear or anxiety.
  • Hold your horses -- Stop or slow down.
  • Hit it out of the park – A big accomplishment or success.
  • Jump all over someone -- Verbally harass someone.
  • Jump the gun – To start too soon.
  • Kettle of fish -- Type of thing. Situation.
  • Lay one's cards on the table – To reveal previously unknown intentions, or to reveal a secret.
  • Lead in the Shoes -- very slow.
  • On the fence -- Undecided.
  • On the ball -- Organised and progressing matters well.
  • Over the hill -- Older than middle aged.
  • On pins and needles -- In a state of extreme anticipation.
  • Over the moon -- Exceedingly happy.
  • Pulling your leg – Making a joke at your expense.
  • Spill the beans – To reveal secret or private information.
  • Stem the tide – Stop or slow an large number of things. Trying to stop something unpleasant from getting worse
  • Sugar the pill – Make a negative thing less so.
  • Sweep you off your feet – Impress someone often to romantically impress someone.
  • Vent your spleen – Explain your anger or strong emotion (usually negative emotion).

-- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 18:25, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Not sure if all these should be removed, as many are well known, sourcing should not be difficult for you to find.--UnQuébécois (talk) 19:26, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Just a quick "google" to 'the free dictionary" search finds...
  1. On the fence
  2. Under the weather
--UnQuébécois (talk) 19:30, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Please help by attaching source citations to the above idioms before moving them back to the list page. I don't need a lesson in how to do it, I'm asking for help. I moved them here because they lack proper sourcing, not to get rid of them. Please re-remove them from the list page if you are not going to provide the help. -- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 06:05, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

The source does show "Under the weather" as an idiom...?


make heavy weather of

To exaggerate the difficulty of something to be done.

under the weather

1. Somewhat indisposed; slightly ill. 2. Slang a. Intoxicated; drunk. b. Suffering from a hangover.

There has been no other major objections to the list of idioms on the page, there has been no clear concensus to remove any "unsourced" items. I did not read any "please help me source these items" in your statement only "please help me" a very general statement as the title to the discussion. I tried to provide help by locating sources for you, if that was what you wanted I I must have misunderstood your request. I was under the impression you were trying to fix the problem.--UnQuébécois (talk) 06:51, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Contrary to the statement above, there have been numerous objections in talk page discussions on this list of idioms. This one suggests eliminating the article completely and this one properly points out that Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The problem with the old list is that it was little more than a bunch of dictionary definitions. Then there are the many complaints like this one, this one or this one that point out how a list becomes a dumping ground for many other figures of speech . It is for these reasons that the article needs to be converted to the table format. The Table format endeavors to facilitate internal links, source citations and notes that tell the history or derivation of the idiom and highlight it's pop cultural usage. It takes a little work to properly research the idiom and not simply accept the first definition resulting from a google search. Please continue in this vein and refrain from merely adding them to the table with a dictionary definition or worse yet wp:original research. Without objection I will move the items that are simply definitions back to the talk page (so that they won't be lost) and work on moving them into the table one-at-a-time after they have been properly researched and validated to be idioms. I will also challenge new items if I feel they do not meet the definition given in the lead section of this (list class) article. -- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 00:02, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
With the lead section having been improved significantly (thank you user:AbbyShant) , the time has come to repeat the necessary move. Again the list above is preserved in order to properly research the entries before adding them to the table. -- Cdw ♥'s (talk) 03:33, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move. Jafeluv (talk) 11:35, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

– Compound modifier. MOS:HYPHEN. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 07:04, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Support – how is this potentially controversial? Dicklyon (talk) 05:46, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Testing the waters for a possible move of the Category:Articles with non-English language external links category tree. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 06:02, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Moving Profanities[edit]

As regards moving the List of English language euphemisms for profanities, no objection. However, as regards the list of "profanities" itself: a definition of 'profanity' needs to be included, and then the list compiled and edited accourding to that definition. Lacking such a definition, the current list has a number of problems. For example:

  • Profane could mean "offensive". What constitutes offense is highly regional and culturally dependent. "Bloody" might be offensive in the UK, but usually isn't considered so in the US. "Piss" is sometimes conisdered merely vulgar in some places, while in others is considred offensive. In the US the phrase "God damned" is sometimes considered offensive, but which part is considered offensive varies depending on where you are. Radio stations in the south are likely to bleep "God" (<bleep> damned), whereas in the northwest "damned" is more likely to be bleeped (God <bleep>); in other areas the whole phrase gets bleeped.
  • Profane can also mean "obscene", which is not the same as "offensive". For example, Under that definition the "N-word", though offensive, is not a profanity.
  • Profane can also mean "irreverent" or "sacriligious" (from the verb form, "to desecrate"). In that sense, "fuck", while offensive, or even obscene, might not be considered "profane". But examples of "taking the Lord's name in vain" would be considered profanity, and would require the list to include the various euphemisms for "God" and "Jesus" -- for example "gad", "gar", "geez", "gee", etc.

So, by all means move the list, but in the process clearly define its purpose and clean up its entries.

Is ... considered an idiom?[edit]

Does "The only stupid question is the one left unasked" qualify as an idiom? (If not, I'll remove the link back to the idiom page from The only stupid question is the question you don't ask - Idiomatic Proverb) Technical 13 (talk) 00:10, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

There are sooooooo many idioms that you have not written ..I'm just going to edit it and add some more Tessa Peyton (talk) 19:20, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Suggestion: Idiom count[edit]

This list isn't particularly helpful list for someone searching for a list of English idioms. Perhaps it would be useful to mention that there are over 7 000 idioms in the English language. Source: — Preceding unsigned comment added by GrantZ (talkcontribs) 18:50, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Geographical information needs rationalising[edit]

Some of the entries have a (UK) indication - presumably meaning that the idiom is unique to the UK. But why is there no equivalent for idioms that are unique to the US - or Australia, Canada for that matter? (talk) 10:29, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

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