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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0
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3answers
31 views

Word Request: A word that would describe how seconds (or other unit) relate to minutes (or other unit)

For example, if I had the sentence: A minutes ______ are seconds. What word would work here? It would also fit in the sentences below. A byte's _____ are bits. A byte is split up by eight ______ ...
5
votes
10answers
10k views

What's the word for two people who like/love each other but neither one confesses it?

Two people like each other or are in love but neither one has expressed it openly, so they each wonder about the other and consequently frustrations might begin to build... What's that called? EDIT: ...
25
votes
13answers
9k views

Idiom for “just because you give something a different name, it doesn't change what it is”

I'm looking for a way to idiomatically express the sentiment that just because you give something a different name, or precede it with a disclaimer, it doesn't change what it is, e.g.: "I mean this ...
4
votes
0answers
164 views

the good guys and the bad guys

So I'm watching a sci-fi flick with my kids and a new character appears on-screen. My son says, "Dad, is she a good guy or a bad guy?" I could have replied, "Well, people are more complicated than ...
2
votes
10answers
2k views

What is the opposite of “preaching to the choir”?

I have found "Whistling into the wind" online but I do not think it fits because it seems to mean that your words are not heard, whereas the opposite should mean that you're being informed by someone ...
7
votes
7answers
206 views

Word or idiom to describe someone who always tries to inflate his skills/properties/experiences when talking with others? [duplicate]

Is there a word or idiom to describe someone who is always trying to create a good impression when talking about himself? Someone who is always trying to show that he is better than others even if he ...
69
votes
28answers
12k views

Idiom or word for a very crowded place

There is a popular idiom in Russian for describing a really crowded place: "(there's) no room for an apple to fall" ("яблоку негде упасть"). I struggle to think of anything similar in English, and ...
3
votes
5answers
173 views

When backward compatibility is bad

Sometimes, making a poor design choice in the past prohibits the programmers from providing neat solutions in the future. You want to abandon the wrong route and start from scratch. Which word or ...
10
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5answers
1k views

Etymology of the word “broker”

I’ve had this personal hypothesis in the back of my mind for many years now about the etymology of the word “broker”. I have gathered a few pieces of the puzzle (many of them in French and a few of ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

“Like X but a little less Y and a little more Z”

Like X but a (little/lot) less Y and a (little/lot) more Z. Is there a name for this type of comparison? It's not really an analogy (or is it?) It's not a simile or a dissimile. Examples of ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Looking for an Equivalent to the AWL for Academic Idioms

Coxhead developed and evaluated something called the "Academic Word List" for English Language Learners. This is a list of (supposedly) the most common "academic" terms to be used by students from ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Synonymous idiom for: You can't run before you can walk

I'm looking for an alternative way of saying "You can't run before you can walk." This is equivalent to saying "you can't take on higher level things before you have mastered the basics". I am ...
4
votes
4answers
541 views

Is there a term for someone performing worse at something because they are being watched?

Is there a term for a person performing worse at something because they are being watched? For example, a person makes more mistakes typing when someone is watching over their shoulder? Attempts to ...
1
vote
4answers
76 views

Is there an idiom or word to describe the action of individuals who verbally tease another person?

I have seen some young kids like to tease somebody and laugh at the person and think this is a lots of fun for them, I would like to know if there is any word or idiom that explains their action.
1
vote
4answers
69 views

Phrase or idiom for an intentionally unfulfillable request

In some situations, someone may make a request or ask a favor while fully knowing that the other party is highly unlikely to agree. This is often done to shift the blame or to justify oneself. For ...
2
votes
6answers
328 views

Something as an “antechamber” for something else

In Italian there is the expression "something as an antechamber for something else", meaning something can precede and somehow cause something else. For example: Data show prisons are far from ...
11
votes
20answers
3k views

Is there a phrase or idiom for “being defeated by future problems”?

One needs to anticipate and plan for problems before starting a large project. What is it called when one becomes so caught up with planning for possible problems that one never sets out? ...
1
vote
2answers
32 views

is there any idiom to refer to information that comes from the 1st line of battle?

Would "news from the trenches" be acceptable and understood? I am not sure if it is proper English or a direct translation from the Spanish idiom "desde las trincheras".
2
votes
3answers
81 views

What is a possible equivalent for *not worth the paper it's written on*

What is a possible modern equivalent, in our internet, and supposedly paperless age, of the expression not worth the paper it's written on.
13
votes
8answers
2k views

What do you call a frustrating and inexplicable ending?

I used to be a fan of the TV show Dexter, I say “used to be”, because until the last season it was a thoroughly enjoyable (and) guilty pleasure of mine. However, season 8 ruined it for me. The twists ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Word or phrase for literally and figuratively?

Say, for example, you and a group of people were all sailing out in the ocean and something happens...then you say, "I guess we are all in the same boat" You are literally in the same boat with ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

An idiom for “seen clearly” or “plainly”

I'm looking for a way to convey how multiple things are very well seen from a certain vantage point. In my native language there is a very appealing expression for that, that can be translated as ...
0
votes
3answers
79 views

Idiom meaning 'a shambles' sounds like /pass potch/?

I'm looking for an idiom that means 'a shambles' or 'a whole mess of various things', and any other reverse definitions of 'a whole mess of various things'. Perhaps "a mare's nest", which I've ...
2
votes
3answers
64 views

Can I say “something in your vibe” as an alternative idiom to “to vibe with something.”

I am searching for a slogan for my website named "Vibeware", and as you might have guessed, it is about software (the name itself being a result of playing around with the first letters in my name ...
4
votes
13answers
7k views

Is there an idiom for people who boast too much?

I am looking for idioms or informal/slang/colloquial expression for some people that make you think that they are able of building a skyscraper, constructing a spaceship, playing the piano better than ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Idioms for “looking for something” and “trying to find something in a room full of mess”

I am trying to find idioms that could express "looking for something" and "trying to find something in a room full of mess". One that I could find was "hunt high and low," but for some reason I don't ...
4
votes
11answers
7k views

Phrase for something that is always out or reach/you almost have but never can get

I believe there is a two-word phrase for something that is always just out of reach for you and which you cannot ever seem to get. (It is not Tantalus or anything having to do with Tantalus, please). ...
21
votes
12answers
7k views

Is there a slang word or idiom for someone who borrows money from friends or relatives and never (or rarely) pays them back? [duplicate]

My question doesn't refer to bank loans or credit card accounts. Nor does it refer to getting things out of other people's generosity. It is specifically about money; a slang word or idiom for a ...
3
votes
3answers
127 views

Opposite of buyer's remorse

Buyer's remorse is when you have a sense of regret after purchasing something. You may have been coerced into first purchasing the item out of fear or guilt. What would the opposite of this be? ...
4
votes
3answers
344 views

Is there a word or phrase for someone whose ominous remarks come true?

Someone who makes such comments as: "Look at his car tyres! He is inviting an accident." (and he does suffer an accident minutes later.) "I never have shrimps with pepper. You're likely to ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

how to say that I don't enjoy the spotlight

I am trying to convey a subtle message that I'm not particularly keen at giving a presentation while also allowing the possibility that I can give it after all if the other party so desires. As reason ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

An English idiom for “solve a problem that has been solved”?

In Polish, and I believe in a number of other European languages, there is an idiomatic expression which translates to "to force a door which is already open". It is used to describe a situation when ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

Is there a noun or adjective for someone who makes trite remarks as if they were new and original?

Usually at the end of a speech, as if such remarks were fresh, and special for the occasion, e.g. I've said it before and I'll say it again: hasty climbers have sudden falls I'm against all ...
1
vote
3answers
720 views

Small but powerful?

I'm looking for a word or idiom that describes something that is small but powerful. For example, a tiny computer that is capable of doing the same work as a larger computer.
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Idiom for someone who forgets their roots

I am having difficulty finding English idiom(s) for these situations: A person who was previously poor then becomes arrogant because she/he is rich now. A person who has been helped (because she/he ...
3
votes
2answers
236 views

Figurative alternative to “have the conch” (the right to speak)

Conch noun Remote Control. From the shell in Lord of the Flies, the person holding it having the authority to speak at council meetings. I may be pushing the envelope in my own usage (I'm ...
6
votes
11answers
3k views

Idiom request: Putting too much effort, but the return is so low that it was not worth the effort

I am looking for an idiom. You put too much effort, but there is so little gain that it would not be worth the effort. Update: More specifically, some guy wants to save money and gas, thus he skips ...
3
votes
4answers
282 views

Idiom for: a not-challenging environment spoils a good worker gradually

I want an idiom for the situation where a non-challenging environment gradually spoils a good worker. If a brilliant programmer worked with a group of mediocre programmers for quite a long time, he ...
2
votes
10answers
1k views

Idiom for someone who is in good position/mood

What is the idiom for someone who is in a good mood or position? For example, your colleague is in a very good mood because of a recent thing that happened to him.
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Idiom for scientific charts & graphs on a subject

I have many charts & graphs which represent a single topic from a diverse points of views, using various parameters. For example, on the subject of Building a House: Graph which represent the ...
3
votes
5answers
468 views

What phrase/idiom can be used to refer to procrastination?

Suppose I'm replying to someone's email and it's long overdue - completely hypothetically :) Starting with "Sorry for [ ... ] this". At first I thought I'd use "dropping the ball on" but it seems ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

A phrase that means “to finally select (or decide) something”

I am looking for a phrase or an idiom that means that i have selected the one object from a group or settled on some solution out of many others. Let me provide some examples: I went to the travel ...
1
vote
3answers
203 views

Idiom or phrase meaning “satisfactory in all abilities”?

Is there a possible idiom or phrase in the following context that means satisfactory in all abilities? For example, lets say someone knows three languages: English, Spanish, and Korean; however, ...
1
vote
1answer
140 views

Alternative to idiom “Barking up the wrong tree”? [closed]

I want to use the idiom: Barking up the wrong tree. But in the situation it seems a little rude. What are the idioms/phrases similar in meaning to this idiom?
3
votes
7answers
292 views

What are “good men that do nothing” called?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke Is there an idiom, phrase or preferably a single word that we can call people that could have helped ...
0
votes
2answers
116 views

“Last straw on camel's back” but positive? [duplicate]

Is there an idiom that is similar in meaning to the last straw that broke the camel's back, except with positive connotations? For eg., how do I idiomatically express that "the My Little Pwny mount ...
0
votes
2answers
147 views

Idioms / Proverbs - forgetting bad things, value of an ordinary life

I've got two questions but they're very similar - looking for English idioms / proverbs. (1) A proverb that means about the same as 好了疮疤忘了痛 (Chinese, lit. to forget the pain after the wound is ...
6
votes
3answers
374 views

An idiom/phrase for someone whose opinions must be accepted by other people

(As a follow-up to the question,) Suppose there is a group of people, and suppose in this group opinions and ideas of a specific member of the group is always accepted by other members and they obey ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

An idiom for “beginning in the wrong end”

Say that in order to determine what B is, you analyze A. But then someone analyzes B in order to determine what A is. In my language, we would say that this procedure "begins in the wrong end". What ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

Is there a word or phrase to describe the aging of graphics technology?

So I'm thinking of something along the lines of the idea of the "uncanny valley" in which technology reaches a point where it's very human/life-like but still "off" somehow, causing a revulsion or ...