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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1
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2answers
36 views

What is an idiom for overcoming a life obstacle?

It's on the tip of my tongue -- something related to a tool like "to pass through a vise". The meaning is along the lines of overcoming a character-defining struggle in your life; the kind a person ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

More eloquent idiom/expression for the phrase “cut it at the roots/source to prevent the problem from growing/escalating ”

There's nothing particularly wrong with the phrase that's in the title except I figure there may be some better sounding alternative or something more pleasing to the ears. Example usage: We have to ...
4
votes
3answers
54 views

the expression is roughly equivalent to “ Cover your breast over the baby's mouth”

In my own language, the "Cover your breasts over the baby's mouth" is such a lovely and interesting idiom. It's derived from the thing that is: a baby cries very much and the mother is too busy with ...
37
votes
20answers
5k views

Is there any equivalent for this Persian expression “____ is like an unopened watermelon”?

The Persian expression/ simile "____ is like an unopened (=uncut) watermelon" implies that you never know what the given (risky) issue/ choice will turn out to be until you proceed to experience or ...
0
votes
3answers
88 views

What word or phrase is like a more negative version of “astonished”?

Is there a better word for the following example than astonished? I was astonished at the lack of respect Joe showed to his parents. I’m trying to use the word astonished in a sentence, but I ...
25
votes
8answers
5k views

What's the English equivalent for the Italian slang expression “magna magna”

"Magna magna" is a typical Italian slang expression used by common people to give vent to their frustrations and disappointment with politicians when cases of corruption and personal interest in ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

Any English equivalent for Russian idiom “to write for the desk drawer”? [duplicate]

It means "to write literary works, knowing that they will not pass censorship and be published". I am looking for some English equivalents that can be used to describe not only writing but also doing ...
4
votes
2answers
66 views

Idiom/saying for “there was no possible better solution at the time”

Context: "We did the best we could. There wasn't much else we could have done because there was no possible better solution at the time" The problem I have with what's already written is that it ...
6
votes
2answers
810 views

What do you call a person or action who provides information irrelevant to the subject? [closed]

What do you call someone or the action of a person who in an argument says one thing, but provides information to something that has nothing to do with what he was trying to prove?
3
votes
4answers
144 views

What is an idiom for better than “textbook case”, “by the book” or “best practices” [closed]

Something indicating above and beyond the standard best practices, superior to by-the-book-experience. For instance, I would like to use it in a blog title The non-textbook / non-standard / beyond ...
4
votes
4answers
84 views

Is there an expression describing some thing precious because it's rare?

This is a question similar to A word to describe something that is desired only because it is rare, but I am looking for an expression, a saying, or an idiom use in daily life, not a term or jargon. ...
51
votes
13answers
6k views

English equivalent for the Persian idiom “send someone out in pursuit of black chickpeas”

"To send somebody out in pursuit of some black chickpeas" is a Persian idiom that implies 'to make or ask someone to run an errand so that you be able to have/ buy some time in order to deal with your ...
5
votes
4answers
144 views

Equivalent idiom for “turning in one's grave” for a living person?

If you do something that would greatly upset a deceased person, it would cause him to "turn in his grave". However, what if the person affected is still alive? Is there an equivalent idiom for this?
3
votes
2answers
138 views

A verb that means “to die of a broken heart”

Is there any one-word verb, a phrasal verb, or an idiom that means "to die of a broken heart" or "to die of grief/sadness"? Example: She went through a lot of adversities and grief in the past ...
25
votes
9answers
3k views

What's the English idiom for wanting something without the effort necessary to get it? [closed]

What's the English idiom for wanting something without the necessary effort to get it? In German, we say "wash me but don't get me wet."
12
votes
14answers
2k views

Idiom request for describing someone who just makes frustrating or disappointing remarks [duplicate]

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that means someone just makes frustrating or disappointing remarks. Maybe some of you have watched the TV cartoon 'The adventures of Gulliver' in which there ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the word for individuals who unwittingly post very similar questions asking for the same words, without doing any previous research?

Many newcomers on EL&U post very similar single-word-requests, all asking for more or less the same words. The two main categories appear to be asking about verbosity and thriftiness. What is ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a word for something hidden in pants/trousers pocket but its shape is visible?

How do I describe the shape that is visible from the exterior of a pocket? For example, when we put a cell in our pants pocket, we can ‘see’ it is a cell phone. How do I express this in a sentence? ...
65
votes
22answers
13k views

Is there an idiom or typical expression for an unfunny joke?

Could you tell me some suitable idioms to express this situation: A guy told you a joke, but it's not funny at all. In Japanese, we say "He slipped" or "His joke was so cold that the air got ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

To donate something you want to throw away

Suppose that a person buys a packet of sugar. On the way home, the packet falls off his hands and the sugar scatters on the ground. Nobody is expected to gather the sugar again, but that person does ...
0
votes
0answers
58 views

other ways of saying 'to want something bad enough'

I've been surfing the web looking for an alternative to 'want sth bad enough' but I haven't found anything useful. I've got a dialogue between two characters who are a couple. They're facing ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Alternative for “all for one, one for all”

Looking for an alternative idiom/phrase, etc. for the titular term. Any idea?
27
votes
12answers
6k views

Idiom for a person who is above any question

I read somewhere a sentence which said about a political leader that he is the "holy something" whose actions cannot be questioned. The context was to describe that even though this man does bad ...
18
votes
6answers
5k views

Word for “a way of choosing the guy to do the horrible job.”

In the aftermath of a party, a few friends are to decide the guy who will have to do the cleaning. They play a game, any game, like rock paper scissors, to decide who has to do the cleaning. The one ...
26
votes
19answers
6k views

What is the problem that gets worse after you try to solve it?

Example sentence - This problem is a _____ which gets complicated every time you try to solve it. Is there such a word that represents a problem which will become worse if/when one tries to solve it?...
2
votes
4answers
55 views

An idiom for using power of position to get things done

It is not nepotism as nepotism is possible because they use their power and it is use their power which I want to replace. Example situation would be getting into someplace by force, like a concert, ...
1
vote
3answers
90 views

Idiom for a situation with no reliance and trust

Is there an idiom or expression for a situation or a part of time that there's an atmosphere of distrust and every one is cheating each other and no one can be able to find a trusthworthy person?
1
vote
2answers
83 views

Is there an English equivalent to the Syrian proverb: “Throw meat to the dog, and he'll forget the bread and salt”?

When they throw meat to the dog, he forgets the bread and salt (companionship one had with someone else). This Syrian phrase is said to someone who throws away years of friendship and gregarious ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

What's an expression for “it doesn't matter where you start so long as you end up in the same place”?

Is there an expression for "it doesn't matter where you start so long as you end up in the same place"? The specific context I wish to use this in is in education: saying that it ultimately doesn't ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

Term for “to have a hidden purpose for being involved in something”?

The hidden purpose can be selfish or not. He or she is involved in something to ensure their purpose is fulfilled. Example : She joined our group to help us. She has no _____. He will only join us ...
1
vote
4answers
138 views

What's a word or phrase that means 'take advantage of someone's psychological weaknesses'?

I'm looking for something that's catchy and succinct. 'Exploit' is a good word for 'take advantage of' but it doesn't take into account someone's psychological weaknesses. example sentences: "By ...
3
votes
2answers
182 views

Idiom for trying to make better something that is already perfect

Examples maybe editing mona lisa, finding a substitute of chocolate, etc. It was just a thought, I can't think of anything else. I mean I can, but only as accessorizing unnecessarily, which is not ...
2
votes
4answers
54 views

Idiom to express that there is no more hope for something to happen

Example situation : I have been waiting for the admission results. The result is declared and I don't have my name in it. Still I check every other hour if it has changed to include my name. Then my ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

Translation of German “Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht wird”

A German speaker wrote: As the German saying goes: You never eat the food as hot as it is cooked. This is a literal translation of the proverb, "Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht ...
24
votes
14answers
3k views

An idiomatic phrase meaning that you are aware of a coming change based on minor signals you've observed over time

I feel like there's a phrase that people sometimes use in order to indicate that they have been aware of an impending change or event. The phrase draws on the metaphor of a soldier placing his ear to ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

A word for a period covering two years

Specifically the phrase "two years". Just like how you can say two moons for “two months”. I've thought of: "two periods" but that doesn't seem right, and "two seasons" but not quite sure if it is ...
-1
votes
1answer
44 views

Idiom to express that everyone pay for themselves

I understand there is splitting the check when the bill is split equally between certain number of people. But that may differ than paying for what each of them bought or used. Example : I'm not ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

Idiom for challenging someone to fight

Calling or inviting someone, maybe even pushing in some way, to have a fight with them. It might be a bar fight, a school brawl, or a professional challenge like in the UFC. Example sentence—The ...
1
vote
2answers
49 views

How to say that “not watching a movie continuously”?

I feel awkward when I am trying to express this. Sometimes when we watch a movie on a computer, we don't watch it from the beginning to the end. In this case, is there a verb or phrase that native ...
5
votes
4answers
114 views

Idiom for expressing feeling of not willing to talk to a person who always replies in a disrespectful manner?

Is there an idiom for expressing the feeling of not willing to talk to a person who always replies in disdain or have such attitude or replies back in a disrespectful manner?
16
votes
18answers
3k views

Term for when doing a job or work following all the rules and regulations

Sometimes a work is done by any means necessary, often against rules. I am looking for a word or idiom that means doing work according to or following rules and regulations. Example : You're ...
0
votes
5answers
200 views

A word for stripping someone of something hard-earned [closed]

It is like taking away the fame, wealth or influence of a celebrity. The police ____ Alan Turing. Alan Turing was unfortunately ____.
21
votes
8answers
3k views

Idiom for falsifying/altering records, illegally

So far I've got fudge. I wonder if an idiom verb exists for changing account information or something like that done by crooked businessman or accountants to dodge authority, like IRS.
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Negligence in saying something

When I said something and I want to state that what I said was based on some level of negligence, what phrase should I use? For example: There are two main parameters in the method: the number of ...
0
votes
2answers
176 views

A term for thinking that something will happen in the future because it hasn't happened yet

It can be called a false belief I guess. An example situation would be rolling a die five times and getting every number except six and then believing that the next one will be a six. But in reality ...
5
votes
1answer
47 views

An idiom meaning “The ideal form of something always seems perfect, but in reality it probably isn't”

Is there such a thing? I am thinking, specifically, of socio-economic systems whose theory looks fine and good—but usually turn out bad. Consider the scenario where someone, for example, is ...
5
votes
2answers
67 views

Idioms to say If there is something needed to be done, then do it today?

My friend try to use idioms/parse to express that "If there is something has to be done, then let's do it right now, not postpone to other day." She was trying to use "One of these days is none of ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

The term for when it is easy to remember things that happened at the start or beginning but not the middle

It is like remembering how we started a thing and finishing it but not those in the middle. An example is a trip taken long ago about which you only remember the start and end or things near to the ...
4
votes
4answers
101 views

A phrase that means “feigning being violated”

There was a recent phrase I can't remember for feigning being violated. I know the word perfidy is sometimes used, but that is not what I am looking for. I remember seeing something on the media and ...
3
votes
3answers
97 views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is showing equivocal behaviors that indicate a feigned reluctance”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that mean "someone is showing a feign reluctance to do/ have something" or "someone pretends to be less interested in something or someone than they really are." ...