Poll: Can a single word be an idiom?

Can a single word be an idiom?


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  • Votes: 698
  • Comments: 16
  • Added: March 2005

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I want to see some examples of one-word idioms.


overlook. Think of why it means something very different than "look over". Flipping the words doesn't change the meaning in this way. This happens because of the certain meaning the word has acquired in American English.

Or how about "rhubarb" meaning a fight?


Does "cathouse" have anything to do with cats?


"Great" ordinarily means "good," "large," or "superior." But used in an ironic sense, it means "not good," an idiomatic usage not found in most dictionaries.


it means defective
one word ayt?! =)


even one word can be an idiom because it can


(from Bart in the Simpson's )
Ay! , Caramba!


base on my understanding, the idiomatic expressions may be in single word,
for example 'hot'

Benny Roc

I'm new to this website, and I just posted my vote for this poll. I see the result of the poll, but WHERE IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?? They don't tell you what the right answer is?? If they don't, that doesn't make any sense. Who asks your a question and doesn't tell you if you're right or wrong.


Benny, they're polls, and many are questions of opinion not fact, so they don't always have single correct answers.


I totally agreed with Benny Roc. Most of this polls are about grammar. GRAMMAR is made of RULES, Tdol. It's quite frustating being unsure about the correct answer.


This section is the poll area. You can find many questions with answers in Testing. http://www.usingenglish.com/testing.
Polls are not the same as tests/quizzes.


Obviously yes


a word can be used as an idiom provided it has a meaning different frm its ordinary meaning when used in a sentence e.gphrasal verbs.i called most of these verbs contextual idioms bcos their meanings depend on hw they ar used in sentence e.g take in is a word which av more than 2 meanings, to b deceived nd 2 b carried away


what do you call compound words with new meanings? blowfish, crosswalk, cowboy, corkscrew, cobweb, clockwise, foxglove etc.?


An idiom cannot be one word. A word with many meanings means a word with many meanings. The word "hot" for example has many meanings. Does that make "hot" an idiom? No, that does not. That just makes the word "hot" have many meanings. On the other hand, idioms are phrases or expressions.
Now the understanding is that phrases and expressions can be single words; however, they are not always single words. The command "Go" is one word, because the subject is ommitted for simplicity. "Go" is a command and not an idiom. The word "sigh" is an expression and is singular but not an idiom. As phrases and expressions may be single words, that does not mean idioms have to be single word expressions or phrases, because they are not. Let's remember a word is just a word, and no single word can be an idiom. Take this from a grammar expert, who knows grammar like the back of his hand!

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