This tag is for questions seeking an idiom that fits a meaning. If you're also seeking a phrase, see the "phrase-requests" tag too.

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15
votes
6answers
2k views

What do you call this problem in the knee area of the jeans?

What do you call this problem when your pants, especially jeans, look like sticking out in the front and look as if there is a pillow on their knee part? (As if it has taken the shape of the knee.) I ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

English equivalent for the Persian expression “To keep one's face red with slap”

In Persian we have a saying "صورت را با سیلی سرخ نگه داشتن" which literally translates to: To keep one's face red(warm) with slap It's used in a situation in which a person, if poor or ...
14
votes
19answers
3k views

Chasing something that doesn't exist

I'm trying to find a word or short phrase that would describe chasing something that doesn't exist. My restriction is that it can't be referencing something that would only make sense in our world ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

Do you know any idiom/proverb for saying “that's great! Literally everybody got aware of our problem!”

How do you sarcastically say "that's great! Literally everybody got aware of our problem!" if you want to use an idiom/proverb?
15
votes
12answers
3k views

Is there any idiom about the problems so bad that cannot be solved? [on hold]

Do we have any idiom in English stating such a concept? "the problem got so bad/complex that it cannot be solved anymore"
3
votes
1answer
40 views

I need a word to convey the meaning of getting a course approved w/o ever going to class

I've recently started working at the International Office at my University and I've found myself in need of an English word for succeeding in a test and getting a course approved without going to ...
1
vote
3answers
112 views

What do you call someone who is easily influenced?

I am looking for a term with bad connotation. I am aware of the popular terms like "he/she has no personality", pliable, malleable, weak-minded but i couldn't find any more on the insulting side. It ...
1
vote
3answers
62 views

Is there an English idiom that is equivalent to “ calls seem to be getting ever more louder”? [closed]

Are there any phrases that I can use instead of this? context: In this case it is to show something whose importance is increasing and therefore the number of people supporting this particular ...
0
votes
3answers
28 views

Phrase similar to “in the offing”

The meaning of "in the offing" I guess is "something that is likely to happen in the (distant) future" Is there any phrase that describes something that is likely to happen soon?
29
votes
27answers
6k views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is a habitual liar”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression for describing people who tell lies out of habit (so you cannot trust them at all). I know that these people are called "compulsive liars", but I'm not looking ...
8
votes
4answers
94 views

A phrase for when one is reduced to quibbling on unimportant details having had to give up significant ground

Is there a popular phrase or idiom to capture the following very particular scenario? Person A and person B are arguing over something. Person A repeatedly gives ground to B until the argument becomes ...
5
votes
1answer
57 views

Alternatives to “exponentially bigger”

One idiom that grinds my gears is "exponentially bigger" outside of an actual (exponential) trend, e.g. in pairwise comparisons like "A is exponentially bigger than B". What is a good idiom for ...
2
votes
2answers
37 views

An idiom that means to make someone admit/confess that they are wrong

Example sentence: He was _____ by his friends and was looking embarrassed. He is a fraud and will _____ soon.
15
votes
15answers
502 views

Synonym for “Blind Spot”

I'm looking for a term or an idiom to point to the weakness of something, specifically a computer program. Something similar to "Achilles Heel" but not that! I just found blind spot : "an area in ...
4
votes
5answers
400 views

Slang or idiom for submissive [on hold]

Is there an idiomatic or slang word meaning a submissive person who does everything others order him to do and never complains even when they should, and is ,in a sense, controlled by someone else.
7
votes
5answers
392 views

The last small thing that messes up all the (previous) effort

For example: In the immortal Tom and Jerry cartoons, Tom tries to balance himself in delicate situations like walking a rope, balancing a tower of flatwares or lifting a ton of weight above his head, ...
0
votes
2answers
25 views

Expression that means naked dress/garb (see description)

People play strip poker and get naked through the game but what about when they start playing poker without any clothes on. I want ro say "they are wearing/putting on _____ before playing poker." ...
5
votes
7answers
248 views

Idiom for making up a false story as an excuse to get out of something

An idiom that means to make up stories or excuses, especially those that are not true, and are just false excuses you give when you try to justify/save yourself. Maybe similar to feeding ...
9
votes
16answers
2k views

Is there any idiom or expression that would imply “ It is hard to argue against such rationale”?

Is there any idiom, expression or saying that would imply "this is a rational idea and there is no room to dispute, so one has no choice but to accept it" (i.e. "It is hard to argue against such ...
3
votes
5answers
62 views

Is there an idiom or word that describes something exciting or unsettled till the end

Suppose I watch a movie or event, do a task or listen to a story. All these events are exciting and they keep this excitement up throughout until the end. It keeps us engaged and exhilarated till the ...
7
votes
8answers
128 views

Requesting a word or idiom for “impressive failure.”

I'm looking for a more formal expression or word that indicates failure to the extent that one would have to work very hard to achieve it. I'm aware of the idiom "epic fail" but I'm looking for ...
10
votes
5answers
152 views

English equivalent of Polish “An ox forgot [how it was] when it was a calf”

"An ox forgot [how it was] when it was a calf" is used to describe a person that has no mercy/is severe for someone younger when he makes a mistake. Generally speaking, the older one pretends to be ...
7
votes
5answers
740 views

The phenomenon of having given or receiving a thing that gives you a reason to keep trying after you have failed or slowed down

I guess something like a second motivation. A situation : Let us suppose that I am working on a project. I started it with enthusiasm and worked hard at it for a while. But after a plodding for a ...
2
votes
4answers
177 views

(In)formal equivalent for “Sword of Damocles” concept

What are the formal and informal equivalents (idiom or word) for the situation which Sword of Damocles could describe that? From Cambridge Dictionary, Sword of Damocles means: If you have a sword ...
1
vote
1answer
16 views

A particular time when someone will/may/is supposed to be tried/executed/punished

A time/date/something like that when someone is supposed to be tried/punished/executed or will be tried/punished/executed for something evil that he has done (people may or may not be aware of it)
2
votes
2answers
57 views

Is it clear what the idiom “lit up like a candle” means?

Take this sentence: I gave a beggar all my change, and he lit up like a candle. It's used in Norwegian, but I wonder if it's perfectly clear what it means in English, and are there better idioms to ...
0
votes
3answers
56 views

“wrench” is to “works” as “crimp” is to what?

It's commonly said that one puts or throws a "[monkey] wrench/(BrEng) spanner" in the "works", but what does one put a "crimp" into? CRIMP Google Image the act of crimping. a crimped ...
4
votes
4answers
99 views

What is a idiom for a person who can read people and is perceptive?

I'm doing homework and I need idiom for a character who is very perceptive?
26
votes
20answers
5k views

Is there any idiom or expression that would mean “all my efforts wasted”?

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that would mean "all one's efforts wasted". I have found "to have one's cake dough". Can I use it for "all my efforts wasted" too? ( A non-native friend told me ...
3
votes
4answers
99 views

Is there an English idiom/metaphor for “mind boggling”, only more so?

In Hungarian, if you want to express that something is mind-blowing, you say megáll az ész "the mind stops". (For example, the National Geographic Channel's show Brain Games is titled Megáll az ész! ...
3
votes
4answers
95 views

Is there a SPORTS PHRASE [in particular, one relating to “soccer”] similar to “make sure all our bases are covered”?

The expression mentioned in my question’s title is a baseball reference, of course, which I fear could potentially limit its understandability to only those English speakers who are familiar with that ...
2
votes
4answers
170 views

Is there any idiomatic synonym for “to apply a double standard”? [closed]

Is there any idiom that if you use it in your conversation, the audience would notice that you are accusing someone of having a double standard behavior or policy? In Persian we use this idiom: ...
7
votes
10answers
282 views

Idiom or expression for criticizing people who ignore you right after getting what they wanted/ were after

There is an idiom in Persian that literally says: "(to be ignored right after) somebody's donkey has crossed or passed (over) the bridge" We use it in situations where someone (now feels relieved ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

Generic one-word term for “fixed date and time”?

I'm looking for a generic word that describes a fixed date and time, as an entry in a datebook, translating from the german word "Termin". An online translation tool suggests "appointment, deadline, ...
3
votes
2answers
31 views

What would be the phrase or proverb or idiom for “A robber is recognized or appreciated by a thief”?

What would be the phrase or proverb or idiom for "A robber is recognized or appreciated by a thief"? For instance, a jailbird criminal is supported/helped/appreciated/awarded by a corrupt politician ...
0
votes
2answers
25 views

To be a reference in a skill/topic

I am struggling on how to say when someone is an expert on a certain topic or skill. Because it is not exactly the meaning I intend to give. What I really want to say is like: "When you want to know ...
25
votes
10answers
4k views

Any equivalent to this Persian proverb “The yellow dog is the jackal's brother”?

Suppose you have a new boss and your former boss was a vicious and dictator one. Now you are visiting the new boss for the first time. He seems to be a nice person to you, but one of your colleagues ...
4
votes
3answers
109 views

Idiom for being forced to dig your own grave?

Suppose that a team of people is laid off but is asked to temporarily stay to train their replacements. Is there any idiom that would describe people in such a conflicting situation? "Digging their ...
6
votes
3answers
266 views

Idiom request for critisizing someone who ignores or overlooks their old things or friends, in an annoying manner, after having or finding new ones

I'm looking for and idiom, expression or proverb for criticizing (or describing) a situation in which someone doesn't pay attention to/ like their old things, friends, colleagues, hobbies, etc any ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

What is single word or phrase/idiom for “someone speaks alot but works very-very slow” [duplicate]

What is single word or phrase/idiom for "someone speaks a lot but works very very slow" for example.... someone said/planned he would do 100 task but actually finished less than 10 task
8
votes
13answers
1k views

Idiom request for describing an uncrowded or a deserted place

Is there any idiom for describing an uncrowded/ a deserted place? ( I mean a place with few or no people in there.) We say in Persian : " not a single bird is/ was flying (there)". ( i.e. There ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Is there another idiom to replace “rolling the dice”?

Does this sentence sound unnatural? The journalist has read the book, written a review and rolled the dice. I know rolling the dice means to "take a chance". But I am not sure if giving ...
4
votes
3answers
68 views

Need help naming this platform in my back yard

What do I call a semi-circular concrete platform in my back yard that looks like a stage. It is about 30 inches above my grass lawn and is attached to my rear wall and appears that it could be a band ...
5
votes
5answers
670 views

English equivalent for the Persian idiom “Putting the drill on poppy”?

There is an old saying in Persian that describes a situation in which: Someone is going into too much (unnecessary) detail while doing something. Someone does something with too much (unnecessary) ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

Term for a “bad advisor” [duplicate]

How would you name someone who is intentionally giving you a bad advice with a purpose of getting advantage of you (think of Francis from "House of Cards"), or just to get pleasure out of watching ...
0
votes
3answers
42 views

What is the idiom for “throne always succeed by their sons only”? [closed]

What is the idiom for "throne always succeed by their sons only"? What i means is: there is no chance for new talents.
37
votes
15answers
5k views

What is the equivalent of Persian idiom “When the reed blooms”?

In Persian, we say "When the reed blooms" when we want to express that an event: Never happens. (This is only the opinion of the speaker so it's not a fact) It's very unlikely to happen. It's going ...
16
votes
18answers
4k views

Any English equivalent for the Persian idiom “to play dead like a mouse”?

I'm looking for an idiom or expression for describing someone who fools or manipulates other people by pretending to be poor/ weak or incapacitated/ ill (=unwell)/ inoffensive / innocent as a tactic ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

What is it called when you end up preparing for something and then it doesn't happen because you prepared?

For example, if you bring your umbrella with you 6/7 days of the week, and it does not rain - and then on the 7th day, you end up not bringing it with you, and it rains because you did not have your ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

an idiom used to compare two people

I saw an idiom that is used to compare one person, group, etc. with another that is much better. I forgot what it is, but I remember it can be used in a question form like 'How can you ___ ?', ...