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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2
votes
4answers
45 views

Small but powerful?

I'm looking for a word or idiom that describes something that is small but powerful. For example, a tiny computer that is capable of doing the same work as a larger computer.
4
votes
3answers
236 views

Is there a word or phrase for someone whose ominous remarks come true?

Someone who makes such comments as: "Look at his car tyres! He is inviting an accident." (and he does suffer an accident minutes later.) "I never have shrimps with pepper. You're likely to ...
3
votes
2answers
197 views

Figurative alternative to “have the conch” (the right to speak)

Conch noun Remote Control. From the shell in Lord of the Flies, the person holding it having the authority to speak at council meetings. I may be pushing the envelope in my own usage (I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Idiom for scientific charts & graphs on a subject

I have many charts & graphs which represent a single topic from a diverse points of views, using various parameters. For example, on the subject of Building a House: Graph which represent the ...
10
votes
20answers
2k views

Is there a phrase or idiom for “being defeated by future problems”?

One needs to anticipate and plan for problems before starting a large project. What is it called when one becomes so caught up with planning for possible problems that one never sets out? ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Alternative to idiom “Barking up the wrong tree”? [closed]

I want to use the idiom: Barking up the wrong tree. But in the situation it seems a little rude. What are the idioms/phrases similar in meaning to this idiom?
25
votes
12answers
8k views

Idiom for “just because you give something a different name, it doesn't change what it is”

I'm looking for a way to idiomatically express the sentiment that just because you give something a different name, or precede it with a disclaimer, it doesn't change what it is, e.g.: "I mean this ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

“Last straw on camel's back” but positive? [duplicate]

Is there an idiom that is similar in meaning to the last straw that broke the camel's back, except with positive connotations? For eg., how do I idiomatically express that "the My Little Pwny mount ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

An idiom for “beginning in the wrong end”

Say that in order to determine what B is, you analyze A. But then someone analyzes B in order to determine what A is. In my language, we would say that this procedure "begins in the wrong end". What ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Is there a word or phrase to describe the aging of graphics technology?

So I'm thinking of something along the lines of the idea of the "uncanny valley" in which technology reaches a point where it's very human/life-like but still "off" somehow, causing a revulsion or ...
4
votes
5answers
617 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Idiom/phrase for someone who faced a lot of difficulties in life [closed]

I came across the Kannada saying "Benkiyalli aralida hoovu", meaning someone faced lot of difficulties in life. Is there an equivalent idiom/phrase in English?
0
votes
4answers
152 views

Phrase/word that is a synonym to “Question Everything”

What are some phrase/word synonyms for the phrase 'Question Everything'. My friend came up with nullius in verba, which I really like, and I was wondering what others are out there? Edit (from ...
5
votes
1answer
111 views

Equivalent of local idiom “The potter drinks from a broken jar”

There's an idiom in a native language which literally means "The potter drinks from a broken jar". i.e. a potter will not spend a lot of time making a beautiful jar for himself to drink from, he uses ...
3
votes
7answers
235 views

What are “good men that do nothing” called?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke Is there an idiom, phrase or preferably a single word that we can call people that could have helped ...
3
votes
6answers
543 views

What is an adjective for “requires a lot of work”? [closed]

For example, Starting a new business requires a lot of work. What would be an adjective in: Starting a new business is _.
-3
votes
4answers
54 views

A word or idiom for a religion which gets blamed for a single person's misguided activity [closed]

The title is self-explanatory. Thanks for any help you are being able to provide.
2
votes
3answers
166 views

Idiom or word for a very heavy thing

There is an idiom in Turkish for describing very heavy things: "Heavy like a dead donkey" (Eşek ölüsü gibi ağır). In English, there is a dead weight but it is not quite similar. Also, it has two ...
1
vote
5answers
137 views

English idiom equivalent to “Like a deaf man at a wedding procession”

I have been trying laboriously to find an equivalent idiom or a catchy phrase to the one we have in Arabic مثل الأطرش بالزقة which simply means, “He is like a deaf man at a wedding procession”. It is ...
2
votes
3answers
67 views

Words or phrases for 'credit takers'

Let say, A and B work in the same office. Every time A talks to B about his idea or working style, B always takes that idea to his boss and acts as if it was his own idea. What are words, phrases or ...
1
vote
2answers
271 views

A word or phrase to describe someone who is obsessed with words?

I want to be able to describe the love for, or obsession with, words. It may also be a condition from other's perspective. It maybe because he is a lunatic who wants to aggrandize his vocabulary, a ...
-1
votes
2answers
86 views

Word/phrase for “last minute love confession”

I want a word or a small phrase which can be used in place of "last minute love confession". I specifically use "last minute" for when the confessor and the confessee are going away from each other, ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

Term for varies with jurisdiction

Is there a term for the concept of homo/heterogeneity of jurisdictions when it comes to legal status of a certain action? That is being illegal in all jurisdictions [limited to context] or being legal ...
2
votes
7answers
160 views

Alternatives for “I told you so.” [closed]

Sometimes, "I told you so" is expected by the target. What if we want to surprise them with another famous phrase which would deliver the same message, perhaps with more intensity. Sometimes, "I told ...
1
vote
2answers
132 views

A word (or expression) which means paying someone with counterfeit money?

Just as shortchange means cheating someone by giving insufficient money as change, the word I am looking for means cheating through counterfeit money. There are words as simple as deceive, bilk, ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

Word or phrase for a person who sets their watch forward to prevent being late?

My aunt does this. She sets her watch 15 mins early because she knows that she is chronically late all the time. Is there a word or phrase specifically for the act of setting your watch forward with ...
2
votes
3answers
99 views

“to have merchant's ears”

Is the expression "to have merchant's ears" an idiom or a recognized adage, meaning "pretending not to understand"? Please explain with examples or provide a better idiomatic phrase.
3
votes
10answers
848 views

Looking for an idiom to describe “a misunderstanding”

Can you suggest an idiom or common expression that can be used to describe a misunderstanding? The typical case is when Mr. A is talking about something and Mr. B understand something else. Mr. A ...
4
votes
3answers
891 views

Term to describe “revenge through sexual intercourse”?

What term can be used to describe someone who, to take revenge on or extract payback for (perceived) past wrongs done them by their (unfaithful) romantic partner, goes off and has casual sex with ...
5
votes
10answers
731 views

A phrase for “to get heavily involved in something”

I'm looking for a phrase or an idiom meaning "to get heavily involved in something" or "to become passionate about something" where "something" could be a hobby, lifestyle, a music genre etc. One ...
25
votes
10answers
5k views

An idiom for a stupid action which is beneficial in the end, or for the person who performed said action

My friend works for an investment firm, and his colleague mistakenly double-submitted a long bid for stock on a very risky day. The entire firm was on edge the whole day, watching the stock price. In ...
16
votes
2answers
838 views

Term for Only “Unbelieved Warner”

I'm looking for a word, phrase, or idiom to describe a person or fictional device. In stories, especially horror and fantasy, there can be a character who is dismissed when they try to tell others ...
3
votes
3answers
101 views

What is the name for group of people who line up to create a corridor?

What is the proper name for group of people who line up in two lines to form some kind of a corridor for other people to pass between the two?
1
vote
4answers
54 views

Let's not throw money at lawyers

Is there an idiom for telling my client to leave the lawyers to one side and sign a contract later on in the process -- something like "Let's not throw money at lawyers at this stage"? Thanks, ...
4
votes
8answers
232 views

Adjective to best describe sense of helplessness

I am writing a small piece on the current financial and economic crisis, and I am looking for adjectives or short expressions that describe the sense of helplessness that seems to hang over many ...
6
votes
6answers
645 views

idiom request for “classic is good”

I am looking for an idiom for telling "Classic is good.". The term "Classic is good" by itself tells what I want actually, but I want a more intense saying instead.
1
vote
7answers
93 views

Synonym for overdoing something/taking too wide an approach

I'm looking for an idiom or a synonym for a situation when someone has taken a heavy handed measure that achieves the desired effect, but also goes above this, affecting things that aren't a problem. ...
10
votes
11answers
4k views

Is there an expression that means something bad as a precursor to something good?

If someone is the bearer of bad news you might say, Don't shoot the messenger. If you have something that seems unfortunate at first but ends out wonderful you might say it's a blessing in disguise. ...
1
vote
4answers
147 views

Phrase required for “Defeated person is more dangerous”

In my native language there exists a phrase Injured snake A wounded snake is assumed to be more vigorous/dangerous. Are there any similar phrase/idiom/proverb in English?
1
vote
6answers
174 views

Another idiom that has the same meaning as “mere ink on paper” or “words without actions”

Is there an English idiom that has the same meaning as "words without actions" or "mere ink on paper"? Especially in the field of economics.
0
votes
10answers
155 views

Boolean OR in English

What is the English equivalent of boolean-OR, which conveys the meaning of "either of the options or both", as opposed to XOR, which conveys the meaning of "strictly one or the other"? "Either or ...
1
vote
3answers
117 views

Looking for a Verb / Idiom to Make a Wish Come True

Let say I wish to have a car, and somebody bought me that car. Which verbs or idioms can describe the "somebody's" action?
2
votes
5answers
141 views

Idiom for “don't put me with somebody together in the same sentence”

I am looking for an idiom used when people say that you are as good/bad as somebody, but you don't agree with it because you think you are not on the same level as them, or that you are way better ...
0
votes
3answers
52 views

Referring to two or more choices [duplicate]

Example: I wasn't sure if it was A, B, or C. [...], I still knew I would fail. I thought of either way but I think is not grammatically correct. What should I chose if I'm referring to two or ...
7
votes
4answers
819 views

Is there an opposite of tightfisted that also contains reference to a hand?

Is there an opposite of tightfisted that also contains reference to a hand? The opposite of 'tightfisted' is always 'generous'. I want a word, idiom, or phrase that means generous but with reference ...
6
votes
5answers
704 views

Idiom: to hesitate when something is nearly finished

I have an idiom on the tip of my tongue, or at least I think I do — the meaning I want is roughly “to hesitate or falter on a task, when it’s almost completed”. The phrase that first came to my mind ...
2
votes
4answers
281 views

Everybody had a different opinion. Is there an idiom for this?

I'm searching for an idiom (in a negative sense) that means that a group of people have different opinions, so it's difficult for them to solve a problem, to decide on something or agree on something. ...
-1
votes
3answers
251 views

Metaphor to describe a person who lacks charisma [closed]

I'm looking for a good metaphor or idiom for a person who is completely uncharismatic. I'm preferably looking for a phrase that compares the person's charisma to something, such that it would fit the ...
4
votes
6answers
664 views

What is the idiom for “as anyone can see” or “clearly”?

I keep wanting to say "the handwriting on the wall," but that's not correct. The place I'm trying to use it is, "Alice likes Bob, Carol likes Bob, Alice thinks Bob likes her, but Bob dates Carol, and ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Word or phrase for literally and figuratively?

Say, for example, you and a group of people were all sailing out in the ocean and something happens...then you say, "I guess we are all in the same boat" You are literally in the same boat with ...