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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6
votes
11answers
924 views

Idiom request for wasting time or money

I am looking for an idiomatic expression that expresses the idea of the negative consequences for having wasted your time or your money for instance, and now that you really need them you don't have ...
3
votes
4answers
51 views

Is there an English equivalent to “Do not expose others' misdeeds”?

In Bahasa, the phrase "Jangan membuka aib orang lain" is used to ask other people to not expose one's bad deeds. An example of this would be: [After A breaks B's vase with C watching] A: C, ...
2
votes
4answers
50 views

Trying to find an expression/idiom to match these two phrases about providing bad solutions?

Say I'm looking for a job and a friend of mine gives me an option; but their offer is horrible(say working for less than minimum wage, 80+hour weeks, no vacation, doesn't use my degree; etc.) What is ...
32
votes
13answers
4k views

If a bald man were capable of curing baldness, he would cure himself first!

Is there any idiom/expression for saying to a person who has some unsolved problems and tries to give some pieces of advice to, or guide, others for solving the same problems? We (Iranians) have a ...
4
votes
3answers
59 views

Idiom for 'after they get what they want'

Is there an English idiom meaning "after they get what they want" in the following dialog: A: Mike was much friendlier when he was a low-ranking officer. He doesn't even say hi to his old ...
6
votes
7answers
383 views

Expression for internal struggle

In German language, there is the beautiful expression "seinen inneren Schweinehund überwinden", which amounts to "to overcome one's inner pig-dog", and vividly describes the feeling of surpassing the ...
23
votes
17answers
4k views

English equivalent to the Indian saying “Like a thief being stung by a scorpion”

The title is the literal translation of a south Indian proverb, used to describe situations where a person who's already guilty will be proven so, if he voices himself against something. Examples: ...
0
votes
3answers
54 views

“Giver of false hope” translation?

The term "PHP" (no, not the programming language) stands for pemberi harapan palsu which roughly means giver of false hope in English. An example of usage would be: "Sialan lo, PHP ya! Katanya mau ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

“high-end clientele” is to “low-end clientele” as “carriage trade” is to what?

Is there a phrase in English that works as a direct antonym to the idiomatic carriage trade, that is, the wealthy patrons of a store, restaurant, hotel, etc.; the elite clientele? carriage trade: ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

A powerful idiom for “low exposure” [on hold]

Imagine someone creates a piece of art, but nobody notices it. Like a great book, which nobody reads because nobody knows that it exists. What are some powerful words or metaphors for this condition? ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

Is there a word for when you run into someone and both of you try to avoid each other and fail, repeatedly? [duplicate]

It has most certainly happened to all of us at least once: Two people walking along the same narrow pathway in opposite directions walk into each other. There is room for both to pass each other, ...
5
votes
5answers
139 views

Is there an English equivalent to the Indian proverb-“If you have the ability, even grass can be your weapon”?

The original Indian saying (in Tamil) is வல்லவனுக்கு புல்லும் ஆயுதம் (Vallavanuku Pullum Aayudham) Translation : For the capable, even grass can be a weapon Meaning: If you have the ability and ...
26
votes
20answers
5k views

Is there any curse/ swear equivalent for this Persian curse? “ May your head be covered by soil!”

There is a curse/ swear in Persian that literally means " May your head be covered by soil" and implies that " you'd better die and be buried /be underground!"( you are not important). We use it in ...
2
votes
4answers
94 views

Is there any English proverb parallel to any of these Persian proverbs?

There is a Persian proverb, which I would translate it as follow: Whenever you catch a fish is fresh. Which is often used to suggest that it is never too late to do the right thing.
9
votes
10answers
2k views

Synonymous idiom for “more x than you can shake a stick at”

It's very difficult to search the web for synonymous idioms, at least for me. I found Origin of "More X than you can shake a stick at", but I'm really trying to find a similar phrase to it. ...
27
votes
14answers
5k views

English equivalent for “Don't burn your house to smoke out a rat!” [duplicate]

In my language there's a saying which literally translates to Don't burn your house to smoke out a rat! It advises us to use solutions that are appropriate to the magnitude of the problem. ...
5
votes
3answers
90 views

Is there an idiom for making the same mistake repeatedly?

A Russian acquaintance of mine asked me whether there's an English equivalent of "They keep treading on the same rake": someone walking or running across the backyard or garden steps on the bow rake's ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

English equivalent for “Worm that lives in poison.”

In my language, there's a saying which literally translates to Worm that lives in poison. It is used while judging people who keep bad company as being bad themselves. It is used to address ...
5
votes
4answers
332 views

English equivalent for “Picking a fight with your mother because you…”

In my language, there's a funny saying which literally translates to Picking a fight with your mother at home because you lost a fight at the marketplace. It means taking out one's frustration ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

I want and you want, but a higher power wants

'I want and you want, but a God/higher power wants' This is an Arabic idiom used when 2 people don't get what they want and they believe a higher power got what he wants, and it is maybe for the ...
1
vote
3answers
29 views

'Gargle with rose water before you dare speak of/about'

'Rinse your mouth/gargle with (rose/blossom water or Zamzam water or in case of culture differences Pierian spring water), before you dare speak of/about..'. This is an Arabic saying. This is used ...
3
votes
4answers
86 views

Chinese proverb equivalent? “Hitting a dog with baozi”

Background: "baozi" is any of several varieties of big, soft steamed buns filled with meat, veg, and seasonings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baozi There's a phrase in Mandarin which translates to ...
9
votes
7answers
920 views

English Idiom 'cut the apple in half'

There is a French idiom, which translated word-for-word is Let's cut the apple in two It means both parties will benefit from 50% of the requested initial negotiated deal. Can this idiom be ...
0
votes
4answers
56 views

Expression or idiom: disappointment

Is there an expression that you could use when you feel really disappointed because no one appreciates your favor and kindness, and they usually upset or hurt you instead. An expression that suggests ...
42
votes
24answers
6k views

Is there a similar English phrase for this Tamil proverb - “Lavish outside home yet starving inside of it”?

In Tamil, a south Indian language, there is a saying which roughly translates into English as: Lavish outside home, starving inside of it. Background : This proverb has a mocking tone and ...
1
vote
6answers
112 views

English equivalent for “An ignorant child learns when it itches”

In my language, there's a saying which literally translates to "An ignorant child learns when it itches." It's a kind of warning that means If people refuse to realise the magnitude of a ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

“Speak of the devil” neutral-sounding synonym for non-person scenario

Is there a neutral-sounding (i.e. doesn't mention the devil) synonym for the idiom "speak of the devil"? The idiom "are your ears burning" or a derivative of that wouldn't be great for this case ...
2
votes
5answers
114 views

What is a positive-language-focused term for an attempted solution that didn't work?

There is a quote: I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. I'd like to use a term that is devoid of negative connotation for those "ways that won't work". Terms like ...
28
votes
16answers
3k views

Is there any equivalent to this Persian proverb? “A bad or faulty item should inevitably be kept by its owner”

We use a proverb that implies "A bad property (i.e., a thing belonging to someone) or item should inevitably be tolerated/kept by its owner" when we want to say "This bad item won't be accepted by ...
2
votes
2answers
49 views

Idiom for all at once or none at all

I'm looking for a creative and relatively familiar idiom to describe something that needs to be handled a specific way because an activity comes in waves. Specifically I'm looking to describe ...
10
votes
11answers
617 views

Things will change: idiom or proverb

Is there an idiom or maybe a proverb stating that things will not be the same or as you want, forever. For example when telling someone that they might be in a good state or status now, but they will ...
14
votes
14answers
2k views

What is the expression to describe that you are surrounded and have few ways to act?

Something like "circle is narrow" (just total random)? For example I'm trapped by circumstances and don't know how to get away with that. Because every way of acting seems not to be good. Thank you ...
4
votes
17answers
2k views

Idiom for “dominate”

I'm looking for an idiom that means "dominate" and can be used in the following sentence: Our team dominated from the beginning to the end.
1
vote
4answers
85 views

Punching several tons above my weight [duplicate]

Is there a more commonly used phrase or idiom other than I've punched several tons above my weight Of course, I know the original expression is "I've punched above my weight" but I need to ...
1
vote
4answers
47 views

Is 'We are for it' correct usage? [closed]

If war—or anything, for that matter—was impending, people might say "We are up for it," to hearten the spirits of everyone and to ready them for the coming conflict. 1: It looks like it is war. ...
5
votes
2answers
61 views

Any phrases like “What makes you tick?”

I'm looking for a phrase or an idiom to describe one's deep-seated passion for something, such as archaeology, Renaissance art, organized charity, Greenpeace, or similar to the following Whatever ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Classic phrase regarding a growing distance from our children

At the end of Miranda July's recent WSJ article, she offers the following melancholic observation: From the moment your kids are born, you’re always losing them. I've occasionally heard ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the idiom for a guy/situation who/where has his own shortcoming but still mocks others?

What is the idiom for a guy/situation who/where has his own lacking but still mocks others? Like you are poor but you laugh at a rich man who has just become bankrupt. For example, suppose like this ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

A word or idiom to replace “bromance” between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz

The word bromance is a well-known portmanteau of bro or brother and romance. According to the linked Wikipedia article, it means: a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two (or ...
0
votes
3answers
38 views

A word for good part of something

I'm looking for the correct adjective or noun to describe good part of something. It could be anything such as a book, a movie, etc. Update: Take this for example: I've skipped a few parts ...
39
votes
20answers
9k views

What do you call the facial expression or the state just before bursting into tears?

What do you call this facial expression that forms just before bursting into tears? (Especially when a baby has been treated in a way he/she didn't expect and consider it unfair or feels neglected. Of ...
15
votes
11answers
3k views

Word or phrase for “it won't change anything, but we'll protest anyways”

There exists a phrase or device, somewhat akin to the parables of Paul Bunyan or John Henry, when your efforts at protest are futile against a struggle, but you are compelled to struggle against it ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Idioms describing the entirety of something [closed]

What are some idioms that describe the full entirety of something, or the complete collection. One would be "the whole nine yards" - what else?
3
votes
4answers
55 views

English idiom for 'went on to kohl it, so he/she blinded it'

'He went on to kohl it [namely, rim the eye with kohl], so he/she blinded it [the eye].' This is a rough translation of the Arabic idiom, 'ذهب ليكحلها فعماها' To rim the eye with kohl is to ...
2
votes
6answers
122 views

Idiom or slang to show you're scared and/or sorry

Is there any idiom, phrase or slang you use when you have done something wrong and you want to show you are really sorry? Whether you are deeply sorry or you're just saying that because you are ...
1
vote
3answers
100 views

Opposite of 'damned with faint praise'?

Is there an opposite of 'damned with faint praise'? Meaning to subtly endorse something by making overly mild criticism.
44
votes
24answers
7k views

Is there an equivalent term to “Cold Turkey” for starting something instead of quitting something?

Cold Turkey is an idiom most commonly used when quitting something that is very difficult, like smoking or drugs all at once instead of gradually. Can you also start something "Cold Turkey" or is ...
5
votes
6answers
218 views

It was your choice; idiom or expression [closed]

Is there an expression or idiom used when someone has done something that hasn't had the desired result after being warned about it, to mean "It was your choice and now it's the result"? Like he can't ...
28
votes
11answers
6k views

Idiom for making fun of something people are ashamed of?

What is the idiom that can describe the action of making fun of somebody's already sensitive and weak spot for which s/he is already troubled or ashamed? For instance, mocking somebody about his/her ...
0
votes
3answers
114 views

A term for someone who fails to see the big picture or doesn't see the wood for the trees [duplicate]

I'm looking for a term to describe someone who loses sight of the big picture because he focuses on the wrong details, for instance: a sales manager who fires his highest performing sales rep ...