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  • Category: Group Discussions

    What is an Idiom? Want to learn

    The recent 'Let's increase our knowledge of idioms and proverbs' exercise conducted by the Managing Editor was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by me.

    I am raising this post to learn and have a healthy discussion, as advised by the ME.

    My questions are addressed to the ME.

    #642260 - Ornithologist- Kill the Goose That Lays the Golden Egg (not valid)
    #642308 - Ornithologist - Kill the goose that lays golden egg.

    Why did you mark Padmini's response as invalid? In fact, her response is an idiom and the grammatically correct one of the two.

    #642308 - Cardiologist - From the bottom of my heart (not valid - do not think this is not an idiom/proverb)

    I think that it is an idiom. Why do you not think the above not to be an idiom?

    Let's discuss and learn.
  • #642597
    Actually, for Ornithologist, I was looking for an idiom with the word 'bird' in it. Although Goose is a bird, somehow I felt it did not quite match the profession in the way I was looking for. That is why I did not consider it valid for Padmini's entry, although erroneously I gave points to the same one for Sun's entry.

    In the case of "from the bottom of my heart", I thought it to be more of a general phrase which is commonly used rather than an idiom per se since an idiom is generally something we do not understand as such from the words. In this case, I feel that we do understand the meaning, that it means something said with an intensely deep feeling & fervour.

    Let us know other members' opinions, too, on this.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #642600
    Good learning. It is not only Idioms but also the proverbs and phrases. Kill or killing the ghoose that lays golden egg is a valid idiom or proverb. 'From the bottom of my heart' is not an idiom but a good phrase to express our feeling.

    Idioms, proverbs and phrases move together. We should not go by the old books and the set idioms, proverbs and phrases only. Everyday we can give birth to new idioms, proverbs and phrases.

    Where there is a will, there is a way (old)
    Where there is a wheel, there is a way (New)

    No life without Sun

  • #642603
    Earlier I also used to think that 'from the bottom of my heart' was only a usage. But now I have checked and found that it is an idiom.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #642604
    So, you didn't check whether the entries were idioms, you just relied on your knowledge.

    I think answers for such knowledge enhancing exercises must be thoroughly checked for correctness, otherwise, they don't serve the purpose.

    From the bottom of the heart is, in fact, an idiom.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #642606
    I am attaching an image, I just clicked, from a book on idioms. I think it should prove that the idiom in the discussion is correct.
    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

    Delete Attachment

  • #642612
    Juana,
    From the image, if you say that 'From the bottom of my heart' is an idiom, ' I can also see 'at heart' which should also be an idiom. Is 'at heart' an Idiom or proverb or phrase. I am sure, 'From the bottom of my heart' is a good phrase not an idiom. An idiom should not be understood easily and directly. It will have the words with hidden meaning. one has to learn it.

    He is good at heart - is easily understood without any detailed explanation.
    My words are from the bottom of my heart - is also easily understood without much explanation.
    Have one's heart in one's boots - This is an idiom which cannot be understood easily, but has to be interpreted as 'be depressed or discouraged' after going through the books on idioms and phrases.

    No life without Sun

  • #642613
    I took the above from a book of idioms, published by Penguin. I am attaching an image of the cover of the book.
    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

    Delete Attachment

  • #642614
    I cannot click the cover and the page together. Here is an open page, from the book on idioms, with the same background.
    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

    Delete Attachment

  • #642733
    [Response removed by Admin. Read forum policies.]
    'It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it'. - Aristotle.

  • #642745
    Juana,

    Don't you think your remark in #642604 about not checking the entries was unfair & unwarranted? Surely that was an avoidable remark in this discussion to learn. I may not have a book of idioms but that does not indicate I was slack in checking the entries.

    It is considered to be a phrase at some sites and an idiom at other sites, while some mention it both as a phrase as well as an idiom.

    It can be seen as a phrase at https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/from-the-bottom-of-my-heart and at https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/7/messages/388.html and at https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/from-the-bottom-of-ones-heart

    At https://writingexplained.org/idiom-dictionary/from-the-bottom-of-my-heart the origin of the phrase is given, though referred to as an idiom in the summary at the end.

    So do you think we could accept it both as a phrase & as an idiom?

    [I have edited what I had written (not valid - do not think this is not an idiom/proverb) to (not valid - do not think this is an idiom/proverb) - had put in the second 'not' there mistakenly]

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #642753
    So, Vandana,
    Is there any recheck and rethinking to award points for my Idiom/phrase ' From the bottom of my heart'? which was treated as invalid by you.

    No life without Sun

  • #642759
    Vandana,

    "In the case of "from the bottom of my heart", I thought it to be more of a general phrase which is commonly used rather than an idiom per se since an idiom is generally something we do not understand as such from the words. In this case, I feel that we do understand the meaning, that it means something said with an intensely deep feeling & fervour."

    What does the above communication indicate? I asked a question and you responded with what you 'thought' and 'feel'. I based my statement on your response – how is that unfair and unwarranted. I did not know that I was supposed to deduce another meaning from your statement.

    And if, as you say, we do understand the meaning of the phrase in the discussion, it would be interesting to know your thoughts on idioms that you used as examples –

    all that glitters is not gold
    an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
    early bird gets the worm

    Can we not infer the meaning from them?

    Coming to idioms. My knowledge of idioms is that they can also be phrases –

    To substantiate my claim, I did a random search, on Macmillan and Collins online dictionaries, of idioms that you had used as examples. The dictionaries list them as phrases. So, does that make your examples incorrect?

    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/the-early-bird-catches-the-worm
    https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/the-early-bird-catches-the-worm
    https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/go-at-it-fight-tooth-and-nail?q=fight+tooth+and+nail
    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/to-fight-tooth-and-nail
    https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/the-pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword
    https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/a-bird-in-the-hand-is-worth-two-in-the-bush?q=a+bird+in+hand+is+worth+two+in+a+bush
    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/to-kill-two-birds-with-one-stone

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #642814
    Both Vandana and Sun have described what they understand idioms to be. In fact, the response #642612 was given cash credits. I request whoever thought that particular response to be correct to join this discussion. Let's discuss and learn. Share your inputs and knowledge and why you thought the response to be right.

    Both responses state that idioms are not understood from the words, and I agree with them. But, I feel that the real meaning of the definitions is not understood.

    Phrases have a literal meaning, while idioms are more figurative. A phrase defines and lets you know exactly what is being said -

    At the bottom of the well – is a literal phrase, it tells you something is at the bottom of the well
    At the bottom of the shelf – tells you the exact position of something
    At noon – is literal, it tells you the precise time
    At breakfast – it tells you when
    At home – it tells you where

    From the bottom of my heart describes an emotion, how do you identify where that bottom in the heart is!

    At heart tells you how someone really is, as compared to how you see them – you cannot get at the heart of the person to measure their worth.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #642823
    To me, idioms are complete sentences while phrases are incomplete meaningful sentences.
    "From the bottom of my heart" sounds like an incomplete sentence, hence a phrase.
    "Kill the goose...." on other hand is a well known idiom right?
    Using phrases would make sentence personal, like "I thanked my dad from the bottom of my heart", is clearly no idiom.
    Idioms should apply to general and not personal right?

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #642842
    As Charlie Brown would say, Good Grief! I did not know that a totally ordinary usage of words like thought and feel would be turned on their heads and taken literally and interpreted as incompetency in checking entries. I hope henceforth that there are no such literal unhealthy assumptions/deducing moments in healthy discussions. Otherwise, I will wisely stay away rather than be stung in this unfair manner.

    Since the phrase bottom of the heart does appear in an established book of idioms, I will accept it as an idiom. Thanks, Juana, for the photographic support to indicate it as an idiom, as also for the informative input you have given on phrases and idioms.

    Sun - I will give the points & cc for that idiom, but not for the Goose one, in the same way that I did not consider it correct for Padmini's entry as it is not associated properly with the profession.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #642848
    Madam,
    Why ? Is goose not a bird associated with ornithologist? If not, where should we include goose? Don't they come along the cock and hen which are birds as per books?
    Members, What do you say? Is goose a bird or not? In which category does goose fall?

    Vandana,
    Not a happy going conduct of contests. A contest organizer should be firm and steady, and not to waver. In the jewellery profession, I mentioned Diamond. In that case, Like the birds, You should expect the word jewel only, but awarded points and CC. Why? If so, why not goose a bird that lays big eggs like the bird hen? Is hen not a bird like duck or goose? Goose is a large waterbird.

    No life without Sun

  • #642865
    Good grief indeed! If I could only spell out why Charlie Brown says that.
    At the end of it, what counts is that the phrase has correctly been recognised as an idiom.
    I too have a hope - that 'henceforth' answers are properly vetted.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino


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