When I ask a question about something said from somebody, I tend to write the question as “What does it mean [quoted phrase]?” probably because that is closer to the Italian way of asking it (Cosa significa […]? where cosa means what, and significa means “it means”).
Is that idiomatic, or should I always use “What does [quoted phrase] mean?”
“What does [quoted phrase] mean?” is idiomatic.
People might also say, “[Quoted phrase]- what does that mean?”
The former is probably most often used when the speaker is truly just interested in learning.
The latter is used when the speaker is also expressing some hint of irritation at either their not knowing the expression or irritation at the original speaker for using the phrase without explanation, forcing them to have to ask.
Source : Link , Question Author : apaderno , Answer Author : Jim