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
6answers
1k 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
126 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
163 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
1k 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
559 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
974 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
140 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
571 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
5k 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
246 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 ...
6
votes
9answers
8k views

What is an idiom/slang for “someone who pretends to be good when they're not”?

This is not from real life, but from a movie on my local TV. A character in the movie is really bad, but when she talks with others, she pretends to be an innocent/ good woman. I want to know how to ...
6
votes
3answers
13k 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
490 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
985 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
632 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
481 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
5answers
386 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
3answers
823 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
382 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
3answers
3k 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
2k 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
705 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
2answers
327 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
1k 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
145 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
227 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
109 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
145 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
4answers
266 views

Order of universal and existential quantifier

In mathematics we use the universal and existential quantifiers (represented symbolically by ∀ and ∃, respectively) to make our lives easier. We can also use them in English. From a logical ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Substitute for “The thought came to my mind” [closed]

I want a substitute for the sentence "The thought came to my mind". It should be a slightly formal substitute as I am writing a formal letter. Can someone help me with that?
0
votes
3answers
84 views

Expression regarding a periodic task

So, if I have to do a certain task during a whole week but with a 3-week gap. For instance, in a 3-week period I will have to do that task for 1 week, in a 6-week period for 2 weeks, not in a row, of ...
-1
votes
2answers
83 views

Is this sentence a valid construction? [closed]

I received this in my email. Please be reminded in accordance with the below email. Is something wrong with this sentence?
-1
votes
3answers
5k views

A word or phrase for “someone who learns from their mistakes” [closed]

What would be a word or short phrase for "someone who learns from their mistakes"? I thought of insightful, but am not satisfied with it.
-2
votes
3answers
237 views

What's a phrase for abstract / eloquent / euphemistic prose?

I'm looking for a phrase like "transcendental language", but meaning eloquent rather than other-worldly. In particular, I want to refer to a [literary] sketch as "_ language". This sketch is A Gotham ...
-3
votes
3answers
274 views

“You really take the biscuit!”

Is there an American version of "You really take the biscuit!"? As in taking the last biscuit, i.e. it's incredible how selfish you are.