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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
9answers
658 views

Idiom for analysing something from a strange perspective

What is an idiom for analysing, describing, or understanding something from an unusual point of view? A sentence using it might be: If you _______, it is quite similar to a burrito. With the ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

equivalent to 'chop my tongue off now'?

'Chop my tongue off now', when you regret saying something badly and it hurt the person badly too. It's usually said directly after you've just after realising belatedly how hurtful or wrong it was.
5
votes
4answers
206 views

equivalent to the idiom 'Even our intestines fight and fall out inside'

In arabic, it comes from the noises sometimes heard from our stomachs, and also from peristalses movement that takes place, and the intestine end up touching each other by contracting, squishing and ...
14
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an English equivalant to the Russian saying “the baker never buys his bread”?

I heard a good Russian(?) saying that I like, which is, "the baker never buys his bread," as in, "bakers aren't wealthy people, but at least they always have bread." Kind of like if you were a shop ...
2
votes
3answers
125 views

The English equivalent of the Arabic: “Something is innocent of you”

It is used when someone claims to be something, and the other person nullifies his claim. It's like saying they are a liar and that particular thing doesn't have anything to do with him or her. ...
20
votes
20answers
3k views

What's an expression for a cunningly-fake friend?

I'd like to warn somebody of one of their harmful managers, or even a so-called fake friend, so I say it like this: Don't trust him! He is nothing but a cunning person who is trying to harm ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

Idiom for something like vantage point / perspective, but for point in time rather than place

Vantage point is described by Merriam Webster as "a position from which something is viewed or considered". In this definition, how literal is "position" to be taken? I have the feeling this is ...
41
votes
28answers
8k views

Is there an English equivalent to the Persian saying “Now that it's my turn, the sky came down”?

Suppose there are many people standing in a line to receive an expensive item as a free gift, and everyone receives it except for the last person in the line. The last one is told, "Sorry, the gifts ...
0
votes
3answers
93 views

Alternative Idiom to “Horse's Mouth”

To be "straight from the horse's mouth" is to be from the most reliable source. I am wanting a title like "The horse's mouth" for my newsletter but I don't really want to call myself a horse. What ...
1
vote
5answers
123 views

Is there a word/phrase/idiom to describe the feeling of you facing a dilemma?

I've got "running backward on a cornfield" as an answer on Reddit... there aren't enough usages of it online so I'm not quite sure what it actually means... are there any alternatives?
86
votes
23answers
15k views

Idiom for someone who buys all the best gear to do something before they even have a basic proficiency?

I'm looking for an idiom to describe someone who decides to take up a new hobby, then buys an excessive amount of gear before they've even started. Perhaps they believe they need this gear to master ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

a matching phrase or idiom, to the arabic equivalent 'compelled me to the argument'

If two people were discussing something and they want you to share your thoughts, even more judge. A bit like a lawyer. If someone started with saying something that the other person thinks is ...
5
votes
5answers
184 views

Is there any proverb or idiom that conveys “the world is bound to no man”?

Is there any proverb or idiom that conveys this meaning:" Don't rely on this world, since it is not loyal to man forever, today is in your hand, tomorrow in mine" (actually it is a Persian saying and ...
0
votes
2answers
100 views

Phrases you can say to people who are ashamed to eat at your house?

Any phrases or idioms that one can use to tell someone who is perhaps ashamed to eat at your house as a guest. Something other than 'take those shackles off, help yourself, make yourself at home'. ...
4
votes
2answers
169 views

Idiomatic equivalent to Arabic “don't enlarge your stomach”

There is a phrase we commonly say in arabic, لا تكبر بطنك which literally translates to "don't enlarge your stomach", which doesn't make much sense in English. It has a widespread usage and means not ...
3
votes
2answers
128 views

when you can not reject a request easily

suppose someone (boss, friend, cousin,.. to whom you can not say "no" easily) asks you a personal request that its fulfillment is difficult for you, but you cannot bring yourself to say no, because ...
69
votes
25answers
12k views

What is deliberately using complex sentences to confuse people called?

I'm wondering if there's a word, phrase, or idiom to describe the action of deliberately confusing people by using complex sentences. For example, some politicians will throw out some big words and ...
3
votes
2answers
74 views

“Order of magnitude” for qualitative changes

The phrase "order of magnitude" is used to indicate differences between quantities in terms of exponential powers. I've also seen it to indicate Big-Oh differences in algorithm run times. However, in ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Idiom meaning that something doesn't happen often, but happens more than needed when it does?

I remember that there was an idiom that describes something that doesn't happen often, but happens more than needed when it finally does. Hypothetical scenario that could be described by such an ...
4
votes
9answers
576 views

Equivalent for the Persian idiom “Khaste Nabaashid”

We Persian speakers have a common idiom, Khaste Nabaashid, and usually say it to someone who finished a task or is in the middle of doing that. The literal translation of the idiom is something like ...
22
votes
11answers
4k views

What do you call an 'unselfish' action made with a selfish reason?

There are many examples of this, and I'd like to give a few: A person who puts a lot of effort to help the community and earns reputation points. But that reputation is the motivation behind helping ...
2
votes
2answers
153 views

How to express “I hope” in “it is” sentence pattern?

I want to use "it is...that" sentence pattern to express the same meaning as "I hope that..". The first thing to come to my mind is "it is my hope/wish that ...", but that sounds quite weird. So how ...
5
votes
10answers
370 views

What's an idiom or word or name for an initial tester?

What would be an idiom or word or name for someone that is an initial tester (like a beta tester). I am writing a speech for my younger brother's engagement and want to say how I have always been the ...
2
votes
2answers
190 views

Suitable English idiom for the Chinese idiom “Three years old fixes eighty” (三歲定八十)

The Chinese saying "Three years old fixes eighty" (三歲定八十) means roughly: From the character and personality traits revealed by a three year old, one can infer that he will have similar traits as an ...
2
votes
8answers
119 views

What's the best term for a cognitive state where you can't quite build the components up to achieve the solution?

Obviously we have various terms to communicate specific shared states of mind: Déjà vu - the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time... ...
1
vote
4answers
160 views

What is the best word (or term) to identify pronouncing W's for L's and R's?

Is there a specific/proper/technical term for it? And not just the R-flop, but specifically the L-flop to W. What would work here: “I'm watching Formula 1 on Sky Sports and the __________ of the ...
1
vote
7answers
100 views

An Idiom or Colloquial Phrase for a Network of Colleagues

I am trying to recall an idiom or phrase that would describe a network of colleagues or peers, specifically a group of people who all mutually benefit from one another. Is there an idiomatic ...
5
votes
5answers
175 views

Is there a specific term for when you get offended by a criticism which wasn't meant for you?

For example, person A says something not directed towards anyone in particular, but it was a criticism nonetheless, and it was intentionally meant to indirectly tell off some people. Person B takes ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Like “rearranging chairs on the Titanic”, but for more positive situations

I'm looking for a phrase or word that has a meaning similar to rearranging chairs on the Titanic, but means that it's a lot of effort for a small improvement on something that's already working well. ...
4
votes
8answers
218 views

Is there an idiom to describe someone who grew from less than average to influential?

Is there a idiom or common expression to describe someone who used to be shy, unsocial, unskilled, or even perceived to be useless, who somehow transformed himself or herself to be influential and ...
35
votes
14answers
6k views

Is there a word or an idiom for people who only spend their families' money and fool around?

Is there a word or an idiom for rich people who spend only their families' money and do not bother to work, just fool around?
8
votes
10answers
2k views

Phrase for criticism/insults concealed with humor

Passive aggressive people will sometimes veil insulting, critical, derogatory or generally aggressive comments with humor. The patina of humor makes the comment seem like a joke, not to be taken ...
4
votes
6answers
269 views

Is there an idiom or set phrase for “pretending not to understand an innuendo”?

You understood perfectly what the other person said but preferred to act as if you hadn't. For any reason: it may be that any reply would be embarrassing, it might start an argument, or would make you ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Idiom for dabbling in extremes

Is there a suitable idiomatic expression for a situation in which a person tends to dabble in extremes? For example, he might wake up at 4:00AM on some days and wake up at 11:00 AM on others and so ...
8
votes
11answers
2k views

Idiom/expression for changing the subject in a conversation

Is there an idiom/expression in English for changing the subject in a conversation (and if possible, in a sarcastic way)? For example, there is an expression in Turkish: gelelim fasulyenin ...
4
votes
11answers
331 views

What is the perfect word/idiom/phrase for a situation when enforcement of a system is futile?

What is the proper English word for a scenario where a valid/lawful/best thing can not be established because other things are not at their best. For example, you are unable to enforce food hygiene ...
0
votes
1answer
126 views

Do people “go half/halves” on something?

If two people want to buy a car together, would they go half on the car or halves. Example: Let's go half on this car or Let's go halves on this car?
1
vote
2answers
46 views

He's been granted a special treatment

If anyone is applying double standards, is there anidiomatic but elegant way to complain? I suppose that "He's been granted a special treatment" is basically correct, but I have a feeling it's not ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

Term for “brain-watering”

A mouth can water, but what does a brain do? I'm looking for a term that implies intellectual thirst, as when one has worked all day at a mindless task and only wants to read a novel, or essay, or ...
0
votes
5answers
138 views

What's the idiom for “It ought to be like that but it isn't” (It would be nice if it was like this, but it isn't)

In my native language there is an expression that means "Things ought to be like this, but unfortunately they aren't"... This implies that you just should accept life as it is and toughen up. ...
0
votes
3answers
122 views

what will be a good artistic world or phrase for close cooperation for mutual success

what will be a good artistic word or phrase for close cooperation for mutual success.The cooperation of two parties (one with stronger power, second with weaker power, but huge dedication) where each ...
52
votes
8answers
7k views

Is there an English idiom that means “you can always find a law to convict anyone”?

There's an infamous phrase in Russian (attributed to Stalin's Chief Prosecutor Vyshinsky): "Был бы человек, а статья найдется" Translated literally, this means "if there was a man, an ...
4
votes
2answers
166 views

Word for the situation of being unable to pass opposing pedestrian, as you both start to step same direction

Is there a word or expression in English, which describes the situation, when you can't pass a stranger, who is walking towards you on the street, because you both start to step the same direction? ...
26
votes
16answers
5k views

Is there an idiom for “I'm not an expert when it comes to kinds of feces”

There is an idiom in my language, which literally sounds like "I'm not an expert when it comes to kinds of feces". Which means that one considers all the instances of some group as equally bad, not to ...
0
votes
3answers
99 views

How do you express high proficiency in a succinct way?

I heard the following phrase in movies: -- Do you know how to use A? -- I am a f****g surgeon with A I like it a lot, but I can imagine a lot of people will not understand the meaning. I ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

A Word for Sharing an Unpleasant Experience [closed]

Is there a word for that moment when you experience something unpleasant and feel obliged to share the experience with others? For example, you taste something horrible and try to encourage others ...
3
votes
5answers
203 views

What can we call “ an employee who is under-productive but the quality of his work is enviable”

A pleasant expression for an employee who has remained under-productive despite several feedback. (QUANTITATIVELY WORST) There are workers who are unable to churn up BIG numbers but the ...
1
vote
3answers
184 views

What's an English idiom for “you can't observe without disturbing” that won't run afoul of scientists? [duplicate]

We typically use either Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle or Schrödinger's Cat when we want to talk about a situation where you can't observe a state without altering it. A good example of this ...
0
votes
2answers
61 views

“Guesswork”, “guesstimation” synonyms [closed]

I'm looking for idioms and synonyms for "guesswork". Especially i'm looking for idioms and synonyms for given word connected to unscientific ways of predicting future. Both - pejorative and positive - ...
2
votes
4answers
313 views

What is it called when someone does an action they don't fully understand? [closed]

For example, someone speaking and writing the English language, but not actually knowing how to use it properly.