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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21
votes
12answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
3k 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
52 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
958 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
52 views

Non-violent alternative for these metaphors [closed]

The following idioms/phrases are commonly used but they have an element of violence in their metaphors. Could you suggest non-violent alternatives that still have some colorful metaphor quality? ...
1
vote
4answers
98 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.
4
votes
3answers
258 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 ...
10
votes
11answers
1k 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
202 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 ...
10
votes
20answers
2k 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? ...
3
votes
4answers
193 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
45 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
304 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
933 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
178 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, ...
3
votes
10answers
4k 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). ...
26
votes
12answers
8k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
80 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
244 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
80 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 ...
68
votes
28answers
10k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
4
votes
12answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
301 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
103 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
627 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Idiom/phrase for someone who faced a lot of difficulties in life [closed]

I came across the Kannada saying "Benkiyalli aralida hoovu", meaning someone faced lot of difficulties in life. Is there an equivalent idiom/phrase in English?
0
votes
4answers
224 views

Phrase/word that is a synonym to “Question Everything”

What are some phrase/word synonyms for the phrase 'Question Everything'. My friend came up with nullius in verba, which I really like, and I was wondering what others are out there? Edit (from ...
5
votes
1answer
113 views

Equivalent of local idiom “The potter drinks from a broken jar”

There's an idiom in a native language which literally means "The potter drinks from a broken jar". i.e. a potter will not spend a lot of time making a beautiful jar for himself to drink from, he uses ...
4
votes
1answer
739 views

proper way to write the slang term for “gravitational force”

I came across something very similar to this in a thriller novel: At this stage, the rocket is experiencing its maximum acceleration, say about ten gees. Here, the author has spelled out the ...
2
votes
2answers
174 views

Avoiding “time-controlledly” as an adverb

I'm currently translating a web site for scheduling software from German to English. So there are many things that this program can do "time-controlledly" (if I translate literally). But this sounds ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

American Equivalent of “Bog Standard”

I'm searching for an American English phrase that is the most readily equivalent to the British expression bog standard (which means, as I understand, plain, ordinary or unremarkable). I'm tempted to ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Synonyms / slang words in American English to express “I am very excited for something”? [closed]

In British English we can say "I am keen to do something with you". Also: "Would you like to go to a concert?" A: "I'm keen for that!". What are some equivalents in American English? Is it "I want to ...
1
vote
2answers
147 views

A word (or expression) which means paying someone with counterfeit money?

Just as shortchange means cheating someone by giving insufficient money as change, the word I am looking for means cheating through counterfeit money. There are words as simple as deceive, bilk, ...
3
votes
6answers
562 views

What is an adjective for “requires a lot of work”? [closed]

For example, Starting a new business requires a lot of work. What would be an adjective in: Starting a new business is _.
2
votes
3answers
194 views

Idiom or word for a very heavy thing

There is an idiom in Turkish for describing very heavy things: "Heavy like a dead donkey" (Eşek ölüsü gibi ağır). In English, there is a dead weight but it is not quite similar. Also, it has two ...
-3
votes
4answers
57 views

A word or idiom for a religion which gets blamed for a single person's misguided activity [closed]

The title is self-explanatory. Thanks for any help you are being able to provide.
1
vote
5answers
148 views

English idiom equivalent to “Like a deaf man at a wedding procession”

I have been trying laboriously to find an equivalent idiom or a catchy phrase to the one we have in Arabic مثل الأطرش بالزقة which simply means, “He is like a deaf man at a wedding procession”. It is ...
10
votes
11answers
4k views

Is there an expression that means something bad as a precursor to something good?

If someone is the bearer of bad news you might say, Don't shoot the messenger. If you have something that seems unfortunate at first but ends out wonderful you might say it's a blessing in disguise. ...
2
votes
3answers
73 views

Words or phrases for 'credit takers'

Let say, A and B work in the same office. Every time A talks to B about his idea or working style, B always takes that idea to his boss and acts as if it was his own idea. What are words, phrases or ...
1
vote
2answers
323 views

A word or phrase to describe someone who is obsessed with words?

I want to be able to describe the love for, or obsession with, words. It may also be a condition from other's perspective. It maybe because he is a lunatic who wants to aggrandize his vocabulary, a ...
-1
votes
2answers
87 views

Word/phrase for “last minute love confession”

I want a word or a small phrase which can be used in place of "last minute love confession". I specifically use "last minute" for when the confessor and the confessee are going away from each other, ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

Term for varies with jurisdiction

Is there a term for the concept of homo/heterogeneity of jurisdictions when it comes to legal status of a certain action? That is being illegal in all jurisdictions [limited to context] or being legal ...
2
votes
7answers
167 views

Alternatives for “I told you so.” [closed]

Sometimes, "I told you so" is expected by the target. What if we want to surprise them with another famous phrase which would deliver the same message, perhaps with more intensity. Sometimes, "I told ...
3
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
155 views

If I measure myself am I only measuring my size?

In Italy when people say they measure themselves, they are not only measuring their height, or their waistlines. Instead they are measuring how well they do something in a challenging or difficult ...
5
votes
4answers
10k views

English equivalent of the Hindi phrase “छुपा रुस्तम” (chupa rustam)

I'm looking for English word[s] that come close to छुपा रुस्तम (chupa rustam), literally "hidden warrior". It's attributed to a person who is very clever but does not appear so. If I remember ...