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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10
votes
8answers
574 views

English term for pre-thinker?

I was searching for an English translation for the German Vordenker. Basically a person, often a scientist, who began or further significantly developed a new concept or theory by contributing ...
6
votes
3answers
401 views

What is the name of the moment when the detective solves the mystery or realizes who the murderer is?

In many Whodunit mystery stories, there's a scene when the detective (e.g., Hercule Poirot) discovers (or overhears) the final clue (or a phrase another characters says) that makes this detective ...
4
votes
1answer
286 views

An event that occurs only once

What do you call an event that occurs only once in its environment? For instance, birth and death are two events that occur only once in the lifetime of a living thing. I am looking for a word or ...
45
votes
24answers
4k views

Are there counterpart English expressions to Japanese proverb, "the nail that pops up is always hammered down?

I was once reminded by Robusto-san of a Japanese popular saying, ‘出る釘は打たれる - the nail that pops up is always hammered down,’ when I complained about sequential down-votes that I received. I wondered ...
12
votes
12answers
22k views

What is the English word closest to Japanese “Ganbatte,” the word for encouraging people who are in disaster, or challenging a severe ordeal?

In Japan, after experiencing the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, “Ganbatte” which contains all sense of “Cheer up, Bear up, Keep your chin up, Be courageous, Do your best” became the password of ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What do you call a slip of the tongue in writing?

Is there any phrase or word that can be used to describe a slip of the tongue that happens in writing? Calling it a slip of tongue directly feels awkward, especially when the written text is never ...
9
votes
5answers
692 views

Words describing the pat acceptance of a thought or practice simply because “that's how it's done.”

I believe that several words or phrases exist to describe the practice of thinking in a certain way or performing a certain action simply because "that's how it's always been done." Another way of ...
6
votes
8answers
619 views

Non-pejorative term for behaviour that discriminates against people based on their birth place [duplicate]

A big theme of the UK May 2014 MEP elections is immigration - there is a great deal of political rhetoric about it that I would describe as racist or xenophobic, but I don't think either term is ...
6
votes
4answers
417 views

Analogue of “most recent” for events in the future

In the context of a listing of events that are time-based, it is common to use "Most Recent" to describe a listing of events ordered by date, in descending order, with the upper limit being today's ...
6
votes
4answers
401 views

What's the term when you ask a question which implies a lie?

I remember there was a thread here on English.SE this month where someone explained this, but I can't remember how it was called. An example: Where have you stolen this product? This question ...
6
votes
5answers
7k views

Phrase for asking the obvious

In my language when a question is asking something really obvious we are using a phrase that if translated means: What is making a "meow meow" sound on the roof/rooftop? Is there an equivalent ...
4
votes
5answers
447 views

What do you call it when a name/word is better known by a pejorative?

A while back, the US Congress passed a bill called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. The bill quickly became known as “Obamacare”. During the time prior to when cannabis was made ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Phrase for a problem that seems impossible, but actually has a simple and obvious solution?

Daniel M. Russell poses what he claims is a deceptively simple brain teaser in his blog: What short 4-word idiomatic phrase (in English) captures [the] idea of a problem that seems impossible, ...
4
votes
3answers
14k views

What is a more formal way to say “Don't get me wrong”?

I think the phrase "Don't get me wrong" in conversation means, "I'm about to say something that you might misunderstand, so don't." I'm looking for a similar phrase that sounds better when speaking ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a word or short phrase to indicate the opposite extreme of “racism”?

For example, a person fights (or claims to fight) against racism in the manner of believing a group/ethnicity/etc. (in a culture where this group is often disliked) to be morally superior, and if a ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

A term for someone who demotivates

What do we call a person who constantly demotivates others? For context: someone who thinks he is so brilliant in English, keeps discouraging me about the questions/answers I post.
1
vote
2answers
187 views

What's the phrase for food burning and sticking to the pan?

When cooking neglectfully, food sometimes burns and sticks to the pan (or pot, or whatever one is cooking in). What is this phenomenon called in English? Darn it! The spaghetti <stuck to the ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Equivalent of “Man up” for a female [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man” Does this make sense? For instance: "John, just man up and get on with it". You can't say this to a ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

An idiom to describe someone who thinks he/she is wiser than others

Is there an idiom in English to describe someone who thinks he/she is smarter/wiser than everyone else? In Polish, we have an idiom, which literally translated, would sound like: He/she has eaten ...
9
votes
6answers
590 views

What is the word for when members of the same group attack each other?

I've noticed this in a few South Park episodes, so that's what I'd like to give an example from. I'm sure other artists have depicted something similar. Note that I'm not necessarily agreeing with ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

How to name a 15-minute period?

In Dutch, we have the word "kwartier" to denote a 15-minute period. It is derived from the word "kwart", which means quarter. It is very common to use this word in both spoken and written language. ...
8
votes
2answers
146 views

Non-union-affiliated shop steward

I'm looking for an English word or short phrase to convey a meaning which is similar to “union representative” or “shop steward”, except that the person in question is not (necessarily) associated ...
8
votes
6answers
671 views

Is there an aphorism for doing a self-defeating act?

Is there a witty turn of phrase that indicates one's performing an act that, in its doing, undermines, contravenes, or obviates itself? This question relates to a similar idea, but I have it in my ...
7
votes
8answers
6k views

What is an alternative (more positive) analogy to “beating a dead horse”?

I'm looking for an analogy for my repeated attempts to revive interest in a project. The phrase beating a dead horse almost fits the bill, but a dead horse refers to a subject that is no longer ...
7
votes
7answers
274 views

Is there a concise word or phrase for the action you perform on an option to remove the others?

Say someone is holding a number of items in front of you. What would you call the action you request that they perform to remove all choices but one so that you can examine the item that is left? It ...
7
votes
3answers
17k views

Is there a version of brunch for a meal between dinner and lunch?

Brunch has become quite a common word in the English language. Is there a similar word for a meal in place of dinner and lunch? (A phrase will also do).
5
votes
2answers
2k views

A better way to say “enrolled in a program” to signify the difficulty of attaining admission in the face of stiff competition?

I'm trying to write a personal statement in which I've to account for my past educational experiences. One of my courses is from a prestigious institute in my country, where its difficult to attain ...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

Words to describe something that does not reach your expectations for it

Which word(s) would you use in a situation such as the one below, to make the sentence sound logical, natural and complete? You told me we were going to a nice park. We've spent almost two hours ...
4
votes
5answers
305 views

Less-technical synonym for “timestamp”

I've already looked at Is there a word for "a point in time"?, but there doesn't seem to be any answers other than "timestamp". While I agree that it is the most technically accurate ...
4
votes
5answers
593 views

Opposite of “straight talk”

What is the opposite for the straight talk idiom? How do I best call the activity when someone makes a very long preamble before he says what he wants?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Idiomatic saying for “just over” and “just under”

Is there an idiomatic saying to say that a distance is about x kilometer, including the connotation of "a little bit more than" or "a little bit less than" as "just over" and "just under" respectively ...
4
votes
2answers
728 views

Word to describe gay people who are in a relationship with each other

Can I use these words? A gay couple (not sure if couple can be used only for married people) A gay lovers (not sure if I should put s here or if lovers can be used to describe two people ...
4
votes
5answers
535 views

Opposite/inverse of duplicate

What is a word that can function as the inverse of a duplicate question on Stack Exchange? I was looking, in the context of this question on meta, for such a word to distinguish the closed duplicate ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Strike gold” but without the implication of searching?

Whenever I hear the phrase I struck gold the fact the person had to have done a certain search is implied to me. Is this correct? For example, if I say: Janet loves sex so much! I've struck gold ...
3
votes
2answers
489 views

Word or a phrase that means your results could be biased toward what you predicted them to be

In psychology I recall we used a phrase or a word that meant that because you predicted the outcome of an experiment, then your results could be biased towards your prediction. Either subconsciously ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

A better word for 'hot' (spicy)?

I never know how to order food correctly but succinctly the first time. :( Basically: I can't eat hot stuff (i.e. most pepper, similar spices, ...). On the one hand, I don't want to say "Please ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “being skinned alive “mean exactly? Is it a well-established phrase?

There was the following sentence in the article written by Maureen Dowd titled, “Where the boys aren’t,” sketching the life of Dolores Hart in New York Times February 19 issue: “I had no idea that ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Any other way of saying “blah blah blah”

You might say "blah blah blah" when you're not interested in what'd be said. I sometimes say "whatever" to convey the same idea, which does not share the nice rhythm effect of "blah blah blah". As a ...
3
votes
7answers
763 views

Expression for advantages of solution being disadvantages of alternatives

Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?
2
votes
1answer
325 views

Word for phrases that are examples of what they describe

Is there a word (or phrase) for phrases that are examples of what they describe? For example, "You the verb" to tell someone they forgot a verb in an online posting, or "spacesmakethingseasiertoread". ...
2
votes
2answers
415 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Idiom to describe something that has little to no effect?

I'm looking for an idiom to describe something that has a negligible effect. The only similar question I found here was: An idiom meaning someone's doing something useless and has no result at ...
2
votes
3answers
163 views

When we thread a bead, what are we doing to the thread?

What is the word for what we are doing to the thread when we "thread a bead"? Are we "beading" the thread? The closest word that I could find was "extrude" but I think that this is more of a ...
2
votes
3answers
247 views

How do I phrase “remote work” better?

I am helping my father write a report. The report summarizes the work undertaken during the consultant’s technical assistance missions to Statistical Agency of Kosovo and remote work during the ...
2
votes
5answers
4k views

Replacement for ‘at the example of ’

I’m currently searching for the title of my research thesis and I can’t find a good phrase. I did a “Systematic Analysis of fruit growth” in a generic way and additionally applied the analysis to ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Is there an idiom beginning “when a dog is cornered”?

Is there any saying in a complete sentence including “a dog which is cornered”? I have tried to find a complete one, but there seems to be no one. Actually, what I want to know is how to explain the ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

A better way of articulating 'ataractically candid'

I'm trying to convey the sense of a rare moment of tranquility in the mind of a confused, flawed and tormented character. This is the most ataractically candid thing I've ever written. This ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Idiom about tackling smaller problems instead of tackling the root [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Phrase for focusing on unimportant details I'm trying to find an idiom about tackling smaller problems instead of tackling their root cause. For example, Instead of ...
1
vote
3answers
150 views

Image in article

What would you call an image in a newspaper article that appears in the flow of the article with text wrapped around it? For example an article with two columns — on the right column there's an image ...
0
votes
2answers
90 views

Term for a person who conducts practice lessons

Is there a word in English for a person who conducts practice lessons in a university? In Russia, we call these kinds of lessons "семинар", and people who conduct them "семинарист". Unfortunately, ...