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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5
votes
2answers
98 views

English play on: (Chinese) “enemies and lovers are pre-destined to meet”

Wondering what phrases English has similar to this Chinese idiom. ABC Dictionary (GoogleBooks): 183. (lit) [If we/they/you were] not rivals/enemies, there would be no encounter. (fig) ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Idiom or word for someone who opens their mouth and closes their ears in discussions? [on hold]

Some individuals are not interested in listening to your opinion, and it seems like your idea either has no value to them, or they already know what you are about to say, and they talk over you or ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Confusions about the definitions of “draw on”

The idiom draw on as I know has many definitions. Two of which are to approach and to pass gradually This can be very confusing because the same phrase has two opposite meanings. Here's an example ...
1
vote
3answers
60 views

Idiom for: managing to solve a big problem only to be frustrated by a smaller problem

What would be an idiom for solving a massive problem and then only getting hindered by a small problem? So after solving a hard problem, getting stopped by the easy problem. It would not be: out of ...
-2
votes
1answer
42 views

Is there an idiom or slang word for “the last round of beer”?

I'm looking for a word or phrase that would fit here, where a few guys are drinking at a pub. A. "I must be going now." B. "Hey, wait, let's have ..............." which would mean a final drink ...
4
votes
2answers
48 views

An expression for not giving up when you know you should

Is there an idiom or expression that describes a situation where one knows they need to stop doing something that's not working, but they don't want to because of all the effort they've already put ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Is there an idiom about “dying monkey”?

is there an idiom sounding like "monkey dies" or "monkeys died"? What does it mean? I've been wondering since I heard Robert Plant's song "Monkey": Tonight you will be mine | Tonight the monkey'll ...
3
votes
6answers
627 views

What is the English idiom for eventually getting it right after many mindless attempts

I made up an idiom that I think describes what I want to say quite nicely: "If one shoots enough arrows at the target, one is sure to hit the bull's eye." An actual English idiom I know of that ...
101
votes
17answers
13k views

Is there any English/American equivalent for the Hungarian phrase “beating the nettle with someone else's penis”?

I am trying to translate this comically vulgar Hungarian phrase, often (but not exclusively) used in a political context. It means to make someone else carry out one's rash or risky ideas, usually ...
1
vote
4answers
142 views

Idiom or proverb for a thing you are trying hard to find

For example, this idiom is a thing that I'm trying hard to find. It satisfies itself in this situation. The only result I get when I google is "needle in a haystack", but I don't need it because that ...
78
votes
15answers
15k views

Is there an English idiom for trying to do two things at the same time and failing at both of them due to splitting your effort?

I'm basically searching for the opposite of putting all your eggs in one basket, where the risk is total failure because you did not hedge your efforts. I'm searching for a phrase that encompasses ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Is there a word or phrase for “running away from home to avoid an arranged marriage”

In the olden times, a woman would need parental consent to get married, or worse, her groom would be chosen by her father. As a consequence of such element of culture, she would sometimes run away ...
15
votes
17answers
3k views

Idiom that means trying to save something that is beyond saving

It's on the tip of my tongue. Example: "Replacing the hard drive of this computer would be [idiom]. It's going to fail completely soon enough."
0
votes
3answers
46 views

Word Request: A word that would describe how seconds (or other unit) relate to minutes (or other unit)

For example, if I had the sentence: A minutes ______ are seconds. What word would work here? It would also fit in the sentences below. A byte's _____ are bits. A byte is split up by eight ______ ...
7
votes
7answers
309 views

Word or idiom to describe someone who always tries to inflate his skills/properties/experiences when talking with others? [duplicate]

Is there a word or idiom to describe someone who is always trying to create a good impression when talking about himself? Someone who is always trying to show that he is better than others even if he ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

the good guys and the bad guys

So I'm watching a sci-fi flick with my kids and a new character appears on-screen. My son says, "Dad, is she a good guy or a bad guy?" I could have replied, "Well, people are more complicated than ...
1
vote
0answers
75 views

Looking for an Equivalent to the AWL for Academic Idioms

Coxhead developed and evaluated something called the "Academic Word List" for English Language Learners. This is a list of (supposedly) the most common "academic" terms to be used by students from ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Synonymous idiom for: You can't run before you can walk

I'm looking for an alternative way of saying "You can't run before you can walk." This is equivalent to saying "you can't take on higher level things before you have mastered the basics". I am ...
4
votes
4answers
569 views

Is there a term for someone performing worse at something because they are being watched?

Is there a term for a person performing worse at something because they are being watched? For example, a person makes more mistakes typing when someone is watching over their shoulder? Attempts to ...
1
vote
5answers
94 views

Is there an idiom or word to describe the action of individuals who verbally tease another person?

I have seen some young kids like to tease somebody and laugh at the person and think this is a lots of fun for them, I would like to know if there is any word or idiom that explains their action.
1
vote
4answers
77 views

Phrase or idiom for an intentionally unfulfillable request

In some situations, someone may make a request or ask a favor while fully knowing that the other party is highly unlikely to agree. This is often done to shift the blame or to justify oneself. For ...
2
votes
6answers
332 views

Something as an “antechamber” for something else

In Italian there is the expression "something as an antechamber for something else", meaning something can precede and somehow cause something else. For example: Data show prisons are far from ...
1
vote
2answers
38 views

is there any idiom to refer to information that comes from the 1st line of battle?

Would "news from the trenches" be acceptable and understood? I am not sure if it is proper English or a direct translation from the Spanish idiom "desde las trincheras".
2
votes
3answers
100 views

What is a possible equivalent for *not worth the paper it's written on*

What is a possible modern equivalent, in our internet, and supposedly paperless age, of the expression not worth the paper it's written on.
13
votes
8answers
2k views

What do you call a frustrating and inexplicable ending?

I used to be a fan of the TV show Dexter, I say “used to be”, because until the last season it was a thoroughly enjoyable (and) guilty pleasure of mine. However, season 8 ruined it for me. The twists ...
2
votes
3answers
81 views

An idiom for “seen clearly” or “plainly”

I'm looking for a way to convey how multiple things are very well seen from a certain vantage point. In my native language there is a very appealing expression for that, that can be translated as ...
0
votes
3answers
90 views

Idiom meaning 'a shambles' sounds like /pass potch/?

I'm looking for an idiom that means 'a shambles' or 'a whole mess of various things', and any other reverse definitions of 'a whole mess of various things'. Perhaps "a mare's nest", which I've ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

“Like X but a little less Y and a little more Z”

Like X but a (little/lot) less Y and a (little/lot) more Z. Is there a name for this type of comparison? It's not really an analogy (or is it?) It's not a simile or a dissimile. Examples of ...
2
votes
3answers
77 views

Can I say “something in your vibe” as an alternative idiom to “to vibe with something.”

I am searching for a slogan for my website named "Vibeware", and as you might have guessed, it is about software (the name itself being a result of playing around with the first letters in my name ...
3
votes
3answers
164 views

Opposite of buyer's remorse

Buyer's remorse is when you have a sense of regret after purchasing something. You may have been coerced into first purchasing the item out of fear or guilt. What would the opposite of this be? ...
2
votes
3answers
44 views

how to say that I don't enjoy the spotlight

I am trying to convey a subtle message that I'm not particularly keen at giving a presentation while also allowing the possibility that I can give it after all if the other party so desires. As reason ...
21
votes
12answers
7k views

Is there a slang word or idiom for someone who borrows money from friends or relatives and never (or rarely) pays them back? [duplicate]

My question doesn't refer to bank loans or credit card accounts. Nor does it refer to getting things out of other people's generosity. It is specifically about money; a slang word or idiom for a ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

An English idiom for “solve a problem that has been solved”?

In Polish, and I believe in a number of other European languages, there is an idiomatic expression which translates to "to force a door which is already open". It is used to describe a situation when ...
0
votes
2answers
76 views

Is there a noun or adjective for someone who makes trite remarks as if they were new and original?

Usually at the end of a speech, as if such remarks were fresh, and special for the occasion, e.g. I've said it before and I'll say it again: hasty climbers have sudden falls I'm against all ...
1
vote
3answers
1k 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
395 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
253 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
90 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 ...
11
votes
20answers
3k 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
175 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?
26
votes
13answers
9k 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
135 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
2k 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
187 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
6answers
893 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
171 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
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
182 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
301 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
878 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 _.