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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29
votes
17answers
6k views

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

Could you tell me 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
45 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
67 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
18answers
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
47 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
88 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
1answer
51 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
32 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
7answers
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 ...
0
votes
4answers
104 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.
3
votes
2answers
161 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
41 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
83 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
34 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
41 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
97 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
195 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
38 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
135 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
34 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
53 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
37 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
53 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
2answers
70 views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is showing equivocal behaviors that indicate a feign 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." ...
14
votes
14answers
3k views

The verb for love at first sight (idiom or word)

The verb for love at first sight (idiom or word) that is loving or liking them nearly instantly. Love at first sight is an experience and therefore a noun. I wonder if there's a verb close to, if ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Idiom for two different consequences from one antecedent

I'm searching for an idiom to use to say briefly that two different outcomes may represent different sides of the same underlying phenomenon. I would use it in the topic of a chapter. These two ...
43
votes
16answers
6k views

Is there an expression to indicate the strategy of wearing someone down with numerous small irritations?

I would use rope-a-dope, but it's got connotations of pretending to lose that I don't need. I'm trying to describe the behavior of someone who sends twenty detailed emails a day about various projects,...
2
votes
3answers
69 views

What's it called when someone does his work at client's home

People of some occupations usually do their work at the specifically equipped facilities. For example, you go to the barbershop to get a haircut or you go to the dentist, when you have a tooth pain. ...
5
votes
4answers
148 views

Is there an English equivalent of the Portuguese saying “Seven dogs to a bone”?

Is there an English equivalent of the Portuguese saying “Seven dogs to a single bone”? Sorry for not including the detailed meaning of the expression. “Seven dogs to a single bone” is the literal ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

English equivalent to “a small fruit in an elephant's mouth”

In the Indian language of Malayalam, there's a saying "Aana vayil ambazhanga", which literally translates to: A small fruit in an elephant's mouth. It means: Having too small an amount for ...
17
votes
6answers
3k 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
80 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
44 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?
14
votes
12answers
3k views

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

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
41 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
128 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
67 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 thing/...
0
votes
3answers
38 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
7k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
110 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
64 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 ...