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
5answers
324 views

English equivalent of Polish idiom “To explain [something to someone] like a cow in bound”

Another Polish saying "Tłumaczyć jak krowie na miedzy" that means "To explain [something to someone] like a cow in bounds". Explanation This idiom is used to describe a person that is dumb above ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

English equivalent of Polish saying “You let a boor into office and he will drink ink”

I'm looking for English equivalent of Polish saying "Wpuścić chłopa do biura to atrament wypije" literally meaning "You let a boor into office and he will drink ink". Explanation This saying is ...
11
votes
5answers
656 views

English equivalent Polish saying “Dumb people are not sown, they're born”

I often wonder if there is any similar English idiom to Polish saying "Głupich nie sieją, sami się rodzą" literally meaning "Dumb people are not sown, they're born." Short explanation: This saying ...
2
votes
5answers
292 views

English idiom for a lot of paper? [closed]

Is there any English idiom with meaning "a lot of paper" (like documents), like "a tons of paper" or so. Thanks!
3
votes
1answer
60 views

English idiom for keeping a lousy employee on the payroll because of his connections? [duplicate]

You know (hypothetical) Larry, the CEO's third cousin, who was hired on an important and well paid position even though he totally sucks at it, dragging the entire department down, but the CEO keeps ...
12
votes
11answers
645 views

Phrase or idiom for someone that is overspecialized

If I have a friend that spreads their interests too thin, gathering a large body of superficial knowledge related to many topics, I'd probably use the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" to ...
10
votes
8answers
900 views

Is there any equivalent for this Persian proverb “A lopsided load won't reach the destination”?

There is a proverb in Persian that literally means: "A lopsided load won't reach the (given) destination." It implies that "dishonesty, deviation from the right path, or injustice wouldn't have ...
9
votes
6answers
122 views

Is there a term/phrase for a vicious cycle of overcorrection?

When something starts going wrong, then when you try to correct, you overcorrect and make things worse, then you try to correct it again, and again overcorrect, making things worse again, etc, until ...
1
vote
4answers
52 views

Expression for “more uses to come for a technology”?

I'm looking for an expression to use about a recent technology, where there are some uses already, but there may be more not yet widely known, and people are still figuring out what to use it for. I ...
4
votes
8answers
723 views

Idiom request for describing someone who is writhing in great pain

How do you describe someone who twist their body from side to side and bend it in reaction to a great pain? Like the men in the pictures below. We Iranians have an expression that says: to twist ...
2
votes
2answers
54 views

How to express a situation where someone puts others in a situation where others have to solve the problem

Is there any proverb to express a situation where someone put others, without asking approval in advance, in a situation where others have to solve the problem? He knows if he seeks for permission, ...
9
votes
16answers
332 views

Word or phrase for the poor idea of replacing old with nearly as old

Someone that I know is trying to replace a very obsolete item which is currently causing problems with one that is itself obsolete, if not as much so. I am trying to find a word or succinct phrase to ...
26
votes
10answers
3k views

A word or idiom for being offended for someone else

Is there a word or idiom to describe being offended for some one else? For example, Person A makes an off-the-cuff remark that person B is 'trailer trash'. Person B knows that person A means it as ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

What is that point in business where it is extremely difficult to generate new business/customers called?

I think the title is sufficiently clear. To add a little more clarity, if a business is performing extremely well, we generally say it has "peaked". Is there a word/phrase/idiom that implies ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

What is the idiom or single word for a person who just talks high-flying to show himself important and powerful? [duplicate]

What is the idiom or single word for a person who just talks high-flying to show himself important and powerful? But, in actuality, he is not what he tries to portray himself as.
1
vote
3answers
89 views

Is there a word or idiom for the phemonon of conflating the definition of a word with its connotation [closed]

Suppose that a person(Person A) gets attacked, and they kill their assailant in self defense. Another person(Person B) who this considers killing to be bad, but they consider this specific ...
22
votes
22answers
2k views

Idiom request for recommending someone to end their toxic relationship/ friendship with somebody

​​Is there any idiom or proverb for recommending someone to end their relationship/ friendship/ partnership with somebody whose behaviors or actions seem toxic, harmful, and thus really intolerable? ...
5
votes
7answers
685 views

Idiomatic expression for “the last chance” [closed]

I am looking for an idiom or an idiomatic expression to convey the idea of the last chance or the last possibility that a person may have or may be given in a critical situation. For instance, if ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Is there an idiom for “making a puerile excuse”?

In Italian there is a juicy idiom when somebody gives a risible explanation: knowing that children can delude themselves and try to deceive others when playing hide-and-seek, they say: "... hide ...
21
votes
12answers
2k views

Idiom or expression request that would convey same meaning as this Persian set phrase “ simple yet impossible to imitate”

In Persian poetry there is a style which literally means: "simple yet impossible" It implies that the poems have been told using simple words and in a seemingly simple way, yet cannot be ...
7
votes
4answers
258 views

Is there an English idiom that is equivalent to “throwing stones at sewage will only spoil your dress”?

There's a colloquial saying in Tamil that I am used to, If you throw stones at sewage, it's your dress that will get spoiled" It means if you try to change the opinion/behavior of a ...
12
votes
8answers
2k views

Phrase meaning whoever is buying can choose

I was at the pub the other day, and it was my friends turn to buy a round. As he left the table, he asked what beer we wanted, and I replied with "Dealers choice", meaning that since he was buying the ...
9
votes
4answers
103 views

Is there an idiom/phrase similar to “commentator's curse”, but with positive connotations?

In sports, we have the term "Commentator's curse", (humorous) The supposed propensity of a player to blunder after having his/her talents pointed out by the commentator. [Wiktionary] Is there a ...
16
votes
16answers
2k views

Is there an idiom to express “You couldn't get anything better”?

Is there an idiom or expression meaning "what you've been offered is the best thing I could offer you, and you won't get anything better" when someone refuses your offer in a rather rude way? As in: ...
1
vote
6answers
127 views

Rude/angry way to say 'ask away' [closed]

What is the rude/angry way to say "ask away"? As in: A: I have a question. B: Ask away. When, for instance, you don't feel like talking, or you want the person to ask the question quickly, ...
4
votes
4answers
265 views

English equivalent for “easily blaming the person you dislike”

In Malayalam/Indian, there's a saying "Istam illatha achi thottath ellam kuttam". It literally translates to: You find fault with anything done by a woman you don't like. It means that if there ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

Idiom request for describing a situation in which someone give advantages to their enemy or opponent

I'm looking for an idiom or proverb that can be used for describing a situation in which someone's actions or behaviors are in favor of their opponents or enemies; in other words it seems that they ...
8
votes
3answers
642 views

Term or idiom to describe a best friend since your childhood

In Chinese, there is a four-character phrase, 竹马故友 which could be translated word for word into: Bamboo Horse Old Friend: Friends who played together riding toy horses made of bamboo. I know ...
2
votes
4answers
85 views

A term or phrase for famous one-off events

I am looking for an expression (also an idiomatic one) which describes a single famous event such as: a singer who has just one most famous song and than you hear no more about them. a ...
0
votes
2answers
69 views

Only diamond can cut diamond (idiom to show equality, only match)

Is there an idiom which implies that the only match of a certain entity is another entity of the same kind, with some sort of 'sordidness' in the entities? Paul is a seasoned bluffer. Ron can't ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Idiom for choosing between two generally alike things that are dissimilar in their details

I am confused because I don't seem to find the right idiom, for example: I have to choose between two things that are generally alike but dissimilar with respect to details. I have to ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

An idiom for taking advantage of something which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place

Can someone suggest an idiom which means - taking advantage of something, which gave you the right to take advantage in the first place? I know this isn't clear, but it's something like - Shooting a ...
4
votes
5answers
138 views

English equivalent for “When the head is present, tail should not wag.”

In Malayalam/Indian, there's a saying "Thala Irikkumbol, Valu-attaruthu!", which literally translates to: When the head is present, tail should not wag. It means that one should not act out of ...
20
votes
9answers
2k views

Name for the difficulty of finding information you have no knowledge of

Example 1: Anecdote (couldn't find reference online) Designers of astronaut suits struggled with knee/elbow joints... until someone ELSE told them of the armor of (I think) Henry VIII. Example 2: An ...
7
votes
5answers
177 views

Is there any English equivalent to the Portuguese proverb “days of plenty, nothing’s eve?”

Days of plenty, nothing’s eves (in Portuguese dias de muito, vésperas de nada) means your days of plenty are eves of days of nothing, i.e. you alternate between splashing out and hardship, usually ...
17
votes
11answers
3k views

Is there an English equivalent for this Tamil proverb - “A painting of a bottle gourd is worthless while preparing stew”?

This is an interesting expression that I came across very recently while reading a Tamil magazine. The literal meaning is that you can't cook the stew by just having a painting of a bottle gourd. ...
41
votes
18answers
5k views

English equivalent for the Persian proverb “The mountain just gave birth to a mouse”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression to describe a well-known person/ organization/ politician/ government whose achievements in a given situation are smaller than what they had claimed or promised ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Idiom for the impossibility of using the same tool/method for different tasks

I'm looking for an idiom (if there is one) which captures the following meaning: trying to do two things with the same tool will never work, since every task requires its own tool. It is similar to ...
33
votes
18answers
8k views

English equivalent of “c'est gratuit”

In French, we have an idiomatic expression to say that something was done for no reason. For instance, if a guy passes by and insults or spits on someone in the street for no reason, we would say ...
14
votes
11answers
2k views

Idiom request for speaking about punishing or scolding somebody before they are proved guilty, just out of prejudgement

I'm looking for an idiom, expression or a (set) phrase that implies "to punish somebody just out of prejudgment". We Iranians have a saying that literally means "one shouldn't punish people before ...
26
votes
15answers
5k views

Is there a word/idiom for someone who thinks long and hard before spending money?

My colleague and I were discussing about certain types of customers in the IT industry. You have to work extremely hard to convince them so that they think about opening their wallets . However, they ...
6
votes
2answers
509 views

Term for if someone puts you in danger just to save you and collect a reward

For instance, in my dream last night I noticed a wolf in my room creeping towards me, but then a big dog came in the room and scared the wolf away. The dog belonged to two brothers, who started asking ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

Is there an idiom/word to denote an occurrence as isolated as a rare astronomical event?

Just curious to know if there is a single word in English to refer to a rare (significant) astronomic event occurrence of which is very rare or probably periodical but takes too many years to repeat ...
5
votes
4answers
171 views

English equivalent for “Just eat the cake. Why count the holes?”

In Malayalam/Indian, there's an expression: Appam thinnal pore, kuzhi ennano! It literally translates to: Just eat the appam (Indian pancake). Why count the holes! It implies that one ...
2
votes
7answers
128 views

What do you call someone who fits in but is still different from the rest? [closed]

I am curious if there's a word for a person who apparently fits in easily but still remains different from the others—he thinks differently from the mass, or has different interests and who, maybe, is ...
16
votes
12answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
10answers
176 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
81 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 ...
60
votes
22answers
10k views

Idiom criticizing a person who has unsolved problems but tries to give someone advice about them

Is there an idiom or expression that refers 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
66 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 ...