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  1. #1
    beachboy is offline Key Member
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    Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    Is there an idiom or expression in English that means picking on somebody by humorously (or not) exposing what they have done without mentioning their name? Something like: "As you know, guys, there's somebody here who totally forgot my birthday last year, and...."

  2. #2
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    In BrE, you'll hear "As you know, there's a person here, who shall remain nameless, who forgot my birthday last year ...".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    beachboy is offline Key Member
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In BrE, you'll hear "As you know, there's a person here, who shall remain nameless, who forgot my birthday last year ...".
    Is it what they call "to drop a hint"?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    Hmm, it depends. The person would only "drop a hint" if, at the same time as saying those words, they looked directly and very pointedly at the "nameless" person.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
    beachboy is offline Key Member
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Hmm, it depends. The person would only "drop a hint" if, at the same time as saying those words, they looked directly and very pointedly at the "nameless" person.

    Ah, that's it!

    But can this expression be used humorously? And can't I ever drop a hint in a whatsapp group, for example? If I do it virtually, what would the expression be?

  6. #6
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    You can drop a hint in a whatsapp group, text messages, emails, virtually anything.

  7. #7
    beachboy is offline Key Member
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    What if somebody in a group drops a hint, the shoe fits, I feel teased and I want to confirm my impression? What would a typical reply be? "Did you drop this hint for me"?

  8. #8
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    There isn't a standard or typical response. I might say "My ears are burning!" - that's an expression used when you think/feel that someone is talking about you even though you can't actually hear them. Equally, I might say, sarcastically "I really have absolutely no idea who you could possibly be talking about!"
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. #9
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    I probably would take a more upfront approach. If I'm not sure the remark is directed at me, I would ask something like "wait, is this about me?" But if I'm sure, I would say "You don't have to be so obvious." It all depends and like ems said, there is no typical response.

  10. #10
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Re: Picking on somebody without mentioning their name

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    What if somebody in a group drops a hint, the shoe fits, I feel teased and I want to confirm my impression? What would a typical reply be? "Did you drop this hint for me"?
    Even when the exchange is by text, a natural phrase might be "I guess you're looking at me (when you say that)?", or conversely "I hope you're not looking at me when you say that".

    There is a humorous response that I think relates to this type of situation. Sometimes when a negative observation or something similar is made about a person and the target feels that there may be some truth in it, they might respond jokingly with, "I resemble that remark". It's a play on the phrase "I resent that remark", which would of course be a complete rejection of the observation. So, it has the tone of a rejection but is actually an amused acceptance.

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