Search found 3455 matches

by Phil White
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:35 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Guacamole strategy
Replies: 2
Views: 363

Guacamole strategy

For a few weeks now, I have been hearing Boris Johnson talking about a "guacamole strategy" for dealing with localized outbreaks. It has always puzzled me, as has his bizarre pronunciation. So today I bothered to try to find out why "guacamole". Turns out it is a "whack a mole strategy", which is on...
by Phil White
Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:49 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Bars at a border
Replies: 6
Views: 466

Re: Bars at a border

The image below shows all the designs for the infamous Mexican border wall. Your picture appears similar to design no. 8, where the elements are called "columns", but I would probably just say "posts" or something similar. https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/17482/production/_105226359_trump...
by Phil White
Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:19 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: which team/the team
Replies: 2
Views: 456

Re: which team/the team

On the other hand, I suspect that 2 and 4 are far more widespread in spoken English than 1 and 3...
by Phil White
Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:27 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: noblesse oblige
Replies: 3
Views: 688

Re: noblesse oblige

Your example "Gillespie, exercising a monarch's noblesse oblige, also appeared, unbilled, at ‘Bebop, Forty and Under", for example, sounds totally alien to my ears. And your 2019 citation grates very badly for me. I only know the expression as a sort of standalone tag. Something like "I have to go t...
by Phil White
Thu Jun 18, 2020 12:31 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: noblesse oblige
Replies: 3
Views: 688

Re: noblesse oblige

Thanks for that, Ken. It is odd to me that you find the phrasal usage less important. For my part, I have never in my life heard the use as a noun. I only know the phrasal use.
by Phil White
Tue May 26, 2020 2:18 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: didn't use to
Replies: 3
Views: 1613

Re: didn't use to

There is something about "didn't use to" that seems very wrong to me when I see it written, but it is perfectly correct and is in widespread spoken use. It's just something that irks me a little. Strange that, as I am usually very tolerant! For me, all the sentences are fine. I regard the idiom "use...
by Phil White
Mon May 25, 2020 1:02 pm
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: analphyxia
Replies: 2
Views: 1868

analphyxia

I was talking to a friend about rhyme, and he asked whether there was a word for a rhyme that occurs within a line of poetry and not at the end of the line. "Internal rhyme", I said. "Oh, is that all?", he said. It occurred to me that there should be a word for the obsessive fixation that there has ...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:31 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: In all honesty
Replies: 5
Views: 2417

Re: In all honesty

Yes, Trolley, "I ain't gonna lie" has also become widespread this side of the pond. It seems to me that it's used to preface something that the speaker knows is pretty outrageous and socially unacceptable: "I ain't gonna lie; I don't trust pikeys". And yes, Erik. "Just sayin'..." is a really unpleas...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:27 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: In all honesty
Replies: 5
Views: 2417

Re: In all honesty

Very good question, Steven. And not entirely easy to answer. The short answer is yes. You can use the phrase without a negative undertone. The longer answer is rather more complicated. We tend to use "in all honesty" when we know that what we want to say will be difficult for the hearer, and we are ...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:01 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Toilet product
Replies: 5
Views: 2542

Re: Toilet product

Generally, I would probably say a "toilet freshener". The ones you show could be described as "in-cistern toilet blocks".
by Phil White
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:55 pm
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: Translations
Replies: 3
Views: 2525

Re: Translations

Actually, I would guess that that was not machine translated. Nowadays, machines are really quite good and are already making the market very difficult for us. I guess it was written by a human with a dictionary and a couple of English lessons.
by Phil White
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:48 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Half asleep half awake
Replies: 4
Views: 2477

Re: Half asleep half awake

The word that springs to my mind is "drowsy". It is also possible to use the word "soporific" in this sense, but it is not common.
by Phil White
Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:51 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: onboarding
Replies: 2
Views: 3483

Re: onboarding

Your online sources are correct. The business jargon, which has been around for a while now, refers to the induction (which was a perfectly good word) of new employees. I suspect that the speaker in your conference call incorrectly assumed a wider meaning. I certainly don't know it in relation to ne...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:44 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Ships
Replies: 4
Views: 2720

Re: Ships

Ships are large vessels defined primarily in terms of their size, and secondarily by the fact that they are mostly seagoing vessels rather than freshwater craft. Unless they are submarines in the Royal Navy, in which case they are always "boats". While Erik's explanation generally holds true, many ...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:12 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Long scary ladder
Replies: 4
Views: 2763

Re: Long scary ladder

In the Alps, particularly in Italy, some rock faces have been opened up for tourists who do not have the skills or courage to actually climb the rock faces. These routes are made up of ladders and steel cables that you can use to clip yourself in using a harness. Such a route is known in Italian and...