This tag is for questions seeking a phrase that fits a meaning. If you're specifically seeking only a single word, see the "single word requests" tag too.

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3
votes
5answers
316 views

What to call a fact/observation told by someone?

Examples: Speaker A: I thought he wanted to know about insects. Speaker B: But not [...] about them eating people! After he finished his [...] about seals. I think using fact ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Word for releasing oneself from a hug

I'm looking for a more physical description, so ignoring "disengaged" for this purpose. But wouldn't mind hearing why it might still be a good option. "You were almost torn apart!" Fabian said and ...
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Collective term for race, gender, age, religion, income class, etc

I'm writing an article for a political website about the major traits that make an individual what he or she is (in terms of wealth, human rights, oppression or lack thereof, etc.). They include ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

What is a term for recent that covers the past week and the next week?

I have a software user interface that toggles between the full schedule and a schedule that covers the most recent weekend and the upcoming weekend. Any idea what to call this?
0
votes
2answers
50 views

Is there another term for sharing knowledge [on hold]

Hello I am looking for a word that would best be used as an exchange of knowledge or teachings within a community. Is there a word or phrase that would best sum up a group of people who are sharing ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

How to express difficulty selecting from equally appealing options [closed]

I want to express the idea that multiple options are equally appealing and therefore difficult to choose from. I thought of this sentence: They are too equally attractive to >be picked up. ...
4
votes
2answers
112 views

A word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency

I am looking for a word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency. To give a specific example, one might be seeing a random shopper drop their bag every time you enter a ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Am I thinking of “Roll Call”, or something else?

"On the [missing word] were only kids from rich and connected families, who chose the school for its high level of education, but more so for the extracurricular activities and skills which were ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

How to describe a waiter's action? [closed]

What verb do you use to talk about the job a waiter is doing? For Example- The waiter who _________ at our table was extremely rude. (waited for, waited on, waited by, waited in on)
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Taste of one's own medicine: the logic behind the phrase

Is there a logical story behind this phrase? Because when looked at from a naive perspective, giving somebody their own medicine sounds like a kind thing to do as it would only treat their illness. ...
2
votes
4answers
89 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.
0
votes
2answers
79 views

Is there a word/phrase for Pre-Academia?

I'm looking for a word that means pre-academia. Academia is the establishment of those engaged in higher education (mostly graduate students and up), so pre-academia would be those engaged in lower ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Reformulating a sentence in a “knowledge domain” [closed]

How to reformulate the following sentences to use a knowledge domain? Before graduation, the students should attain: A broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

2-word term for reversing phrases

What is the 2-word term (3 syllables each, I think, and definitely Greek sounding/Greek roots) that describes the technique of reversing phrases or parts of phrases, e.g. " bred and born" instead of ...
-1
votes
2answers
41 views

A better phrase for “doing my graduation”

I'm looking for a better phrasing of the following sentence, to put it as a summary at a professional network. Does doing my graduation look a unprofessional? I am doing my graduation from the ...
4
votes
11answers
745 views

How to describe a person in a situation in which he does not completely know what he is doing?

How can we describe a person doing or communicating something without (really) knowing what he is doing or talking about? This could be either because of some indisposition like for example ...
0
votes
4answers
114 views

How to succinctly and clearly connote the reverse of a statement

Here's a published example of a problem I come across frequently: A cop is six times more likely to be shot by someone black than the opposite. Let us assume that the writer meant to say: ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
2
votes
6answers
68 views

Politician says he will vote in favor of legislation that he hasn't read and will change once elected

Can anyone come up with a few good synonyms/idioms/expressions for a person or politician that will say whatever he/she believes will get him/her the most votes? For example: He/she will vote in ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Phrase experimentation - Marching a trough

I'm trying to touch up this part, and wondering if the above could work as a metaphor. This is my text right now: “George, it's me, .... I can't connect with my money!” he fired while marching ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

English term for aggressive street seller?

Is there an English term for the type of street seller who aggressively sells his products? The type who yell after you and may follow you as you walk down the street?
2
votes
3answers
317 views

How to say “I met someone”, but not in the romantic way [closed]

I sometimes start stories with "I met someone who (...)" or "I met a man who (...)". Being a woman, people often seem to think there is something romantic about the meeting even though that was not ...
-1
votes
3answers
96 views

What's the phrase or idiom for acting like a baby when subjected to criticism?

I was wondering whether English has a phrase or an idiom for someone acting like a baby when subjected to criticism, as well as honest and negative assessment of their actions or personality. By ...
0
votes
4answers
91 views

a word / idiom for pulling something closer for a sniff?

This is where I am: "Gliding at a low altitude, his fingers reached for a flower, plucked it and pulled it closer to his nose" / ... to smell" I'm not looking for anything too exotic, but would ...
-2
votes
2answers
146 views

Adjective which means both “Specific” and “General” simultaneously [closed]

I need an adjective which means both "Specific" and "General" simultaneously! As the explanation, the "adjective" is supposed to be used in scientific domain. The adjective would describes a ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Word for liking and not liking something at the same time? [duplicate]

What's a word for the feeling of liking something, but not liking it at the same time? I love the way the Spanish speak, but it bothers me at the same time. I've looked through and dictionaries asked ...
3
votes
6answers
510 views

How would one term this particular relationship?

While postulating a French universe, my brain voted that Bill Gates should become Bill Gateaux. What term or short-phrase would one use to describe the word 'Gateaux', relative to 'Gates', where the ...
5
votes
6answers
647 views

Is there any notation or abbreviated phrase meaning “this is provisional”?

I want to write on my timetable that an event will take place at "Building X, but this is provisional as it is subject to change and it may happen somewhere else." Is there any kind of notation or ...
4
votes
4answers
117 views

Word or phrase to use “when you told a story/situation and it happend you later”

English is NOT my primary language . In my language we have a phrase to use in this kind of situation . You were telling a story or a situation to your friends and later it happens you . For eg : ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

A short alternative to describe a location very close to the city

I've racked my brains to no avail trying to find a correct and practical term to describe a location very close to the city centre (of the little town). "Close to the city" is very cliche and sounds ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views

“I like to” vs. “I'd like to”

When making a polite request, people often use the phrase, "I'd like to [SOME REQUEST]". But I also see the form, "I like to [SOME REQUEST]". For example, a former boss would arbitrarily interchange ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

What to say to find something out? [closed]

What are informal ways of saying that you'd like to get more information about an issue, recent events or a person? What would you write to someone in a letter to express this idea? Can you ...
2
votes
3answers
46 views

Is there a term for extracting a cultural element from its originating environment and placing it in a foreign and contrived context?

I have a nagging feeling there’s a word or term for this practice. The example that lead to this question has to do with a food truck. A bar/restaurant in my city has apparently had an actual truck ...
1
vote
3answers
56 views

What's the word or expression when you do something that the outcome is already decided?

I have to submit some paperwork for the approval of an activity. However, I have already got approval, the paperwork is only necessary to submit the specifics (the date, people involved, and other ...
3
votes
5answers
68 views

Provoking indecision?

Is there a word that describes someone or something that provokes indecision? "Divisive" is close to what I'm looking for. But that is generally used to describe a person or topic that splits people. ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

Word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes?

What would be a word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes? The most obvious one to me seems "puppeteer" but I feel like it has this strong implication of "direct control" to it which does ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Is there a word or phrase for when you break a word in a different place to give a different meaning?

I'm thinking similar to a compound word, but you could break the word at a different or multiple places. Granted I cannot think of a real-world example, but I have included two situations where this ...
0
votes
4answers
64 views

Word to describe a question with multiple exact correct answers

Not completely sure, but I don't believe ambiguous would qualify for the exact situation I am thinking of, though perhaps I am over thinking this in general. I have a question in a short story I am ...
49
votes
13answers
9k views

What's a less offensive substitute for “rep-whores”?

This is a frequently thrown-around term on Internet forums in general and Stack Exchange specifically. Although it conveys a lot of meaning, I'd much prefer a phrase with a less offensive origin. ...
6
votes
3answers
78 views

Is there a convenient way to say “despite and (actually) because of” in English?

I am looking for the English version of a common phrase from intellectual German, where sentences sometimes begin with trotzdem und gerade weil which could be directly translated to despite and ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Is there a word for excessive use of articles?

I'm correcting a report translated into English, and the previous version has "a" and "the" articles stuck to every noun and name. While writing a comment expressing my discontent with this misuse of ...
12
votes
8answers
639 views

A wife who knows and accepts her husband's infidelity

What do you call a wife or woman who knows their spouse or partner is unfaithful but pretends either to (1) not care or (2) to not know? In this scenario it's important that the cheating spouse or ...
1
vote
4answers
75 views

Looking for a word describing “habits which lost their original purpose”

I know there is a certain word which could describe rituals/habits which are being practiced despite the fact they lost their original purpose. I saw it in context of practicing some religious ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Alternatives to “break a butterfly on a wheel” [duplicate]

The phrase "to break a butterfly on a wheel" is very evocative, but I can't bring myself to use it: I find the "wheel" too disturbing. So: what are some good alternatives? (For those who are ...
2
votes
4answers
87 views

What is the contrastive phrase of “little to no”?

An example question of the usage of little to no: Idiom to describe something that has little to no effect? I understand that the phrase little to know effect means little effect, or worst, no ...
9
votes
13answers
936 views

Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
1
vote
6answers
68 views

Word or phrase for “example earlier than the concept”

Which English word or phrase can be used to express consisely that a particular thing or occurrence can be seen as an example or instance of a general concept, for which now there is a term, ...
0
votes
2answers
100 views

Is there a verb that describes speaking with a full mouth?

I am looking for a verb that describes speaking with a full mouth, like a child asking something at the dinner table before swallowing, because they are so anxious/curious for the answer. Anything ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

Is there a word/phrase for using an expression which is directly translated and makes no sense?

I'm looking for a word (or a phrase) to describe a particular phrase or idiom which is directly translated from a foreign language and makes no sense in the language it's translated to. For instance, ...
0
votes
2answers
31 views

Terser, tidier way to say you'd like “no further progression of [someone's] macular degeneration”

I'm editing a church prayer sheet, and one of the requests is that someone's specific eye disorder won't keep getting worse. The original phrasing, unfortunately, was pretty awful: "Pray for Macular ...