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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9
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
8k views

Word meaning crying, but not crying?

You know when you see something touching and moving and you feel like tears are about to come out of your eyes, yet you're able to barely control it; how do you describe this feeling or state? i.e. I ...
6
votes
6answers
7k views

Short, Politically Correct word for Native Americans [closed]

No more than four syllables, more PC than Indians. EDIT: I arbitrarily chose four syllables because any more seemed like a mouthful. I like to be PC and not have to stumble over 6+ syllables.
5
votes
5answers
551 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
2answers
542 views

Words that define a type of word and also obey that definition [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is a catchy word that means (non-)self-descriptive There are plenty of names for word sets: synonyms: words that have the same meaning palindromes: words that ...
3
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Someone who doesn't learn from the mistakes he made

Is there a word or phrase that neans someone who doesn't learn from his mistakes or makes the same mistakes again?
3
votes
1answer
640 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". ...
1
vote
3answers
75 views

Word choice for hierarchical groups of data: data point → data set →?

A data point is a single unit of information. A data set is a collection of data points (also known as a data series). Is there a word for a collection of data sets? I don't simply want to use ...
11
votes
7answers
623 views

A term for products whose “secret” features are well-known (but not publicized)

What do you call those household items whose selling features are purportedly practical, functional and ‘innocent’ but instead are often bought for completely different, and sometimes ‘naughty’ ...
11
votes
8answers
39k views

Academic way of saying “On the other hand”

I have two paragraphs in my paper, the previous paragraph ends with This shows that TF-IDF is still an important feature for text analysis task and my next paragraph starts with On the ...
10
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
10
votes
15answers
578 views

Is there a pejorative alternative to “improvise”?

I'm looking for a word or phrase that implies improvisation in a negative context. "Jury rigging" comes to mind, but I'm in need of a term that can't be mistaken as anything but pejorative. The ...
7
votes
10answers
6k views

word that means: causing a paradigm shift, new era, revolution

I can't think of the word and it's driving me nuts. I'm looking for a word that can be used when some technology is discovered, way of thinking, or even event happening that causes a big change in ...
5
votes
7answers
516 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
737 views

Word or phrase for “one needing to see it to believe it”

What's a word or phrase that could be used to describe a person who needs to see the evidence for a claim in-person before believing it?
5
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
6k views

What would you call a person who doesn't like questions being asked of them?

My sister says I ask too many questions, such as "What have you been up to lately?" She is the only person who says that. What do you call a person who doesn't like questions being asked?
5
votes
7answers
5k 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
4answers
626 views

What do you call someone who is addicted to a Q&A website?

I was looking for a term for someone who is addicted to a Q&A website but I came up with general terms like nethead, cybernaut, netizen, internet addict etc. You can think of adjectives like ...
4
votes
2answers
331 views

What is the name of combination, in error, of similar or related words? (E.g.: segueway)

Is there a technical term for combination, in error, of similar or related words? This question is prompted by the following malapropism or solecism, from an article by Elizabeth Montalbano in ...
4
votes
8answers
78k views

Other ways to say “I'm rooting for you?”

What are other ways one can say that have the same meaning as, "I'm rooting for you?"
3
votes
3answers
110 views

Describe a fallacious opinion regarding one's own ability

What's a phrase that describes a unfounded tendency of a person to think that he or she is smarter or possesses more skill than average in a competitive environment such as the stock market or say, ...
2
votes
5answers
204 views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
2
votes
3answers
162 views

Is there a synonym for “day” that can go with “at night”, “at dusk”, “at dawn”? [closed]

I need a word (ideally) or phrase that means "daytime" that can be used in a sentence "the event happened at dawn/dusk/night/day" "The event happened at day", and "The event happened at daytime" ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Is there a better name for this than “emphatic and”?

In semi-poetic writing, I have had occasion to deviate from the standard prose list practice (interpose commas or semicolons between items, with an "and" preceding the final item), by utilizing a ...
2
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
200 views

Something that is impossible but has happened [closed]

I would like to know if anyone knows the word for something that should be impossible but has happened. An example is the Big Bang Theory. It shouldn't have been possible but something happened for us ...
1
vote
4answers
145 views

Synonym for “Fellow Sufferers”?

They agreed to stay connected for hours in their provisional support group, looking for answers in their counterparts. I want to change the bold part to say that they all shared the same problem. ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

Is there a term for coining a phrase for a word that already exists?

Usually a new term emerges and it becomes necessary to add a qualification to an old word for disambiguation. examples: "mono sound" versus "stereo sound" "analog watch" versus "digital ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Words for “a bit sad” and “a bit happy”?

Are there words or other phrases for "a bit sad" and "a bit happy"? Thank you! Edit: I'm sorry for the confusion. I wanted at least two words: one for "a bit sad" and one for "a bit happy". Thanks ...
0
votes
3answers
141 views

another way to express readiness for something

I am trying to express the idea that I am ready to begin in a way that is personal and not excessively formal or stilted. I have overused ready to begin something form. Other ways to do so can ...
-1
votes
1answer
127 views

Word for 'Lacking a subject'

The poet Medbh McGuckian often lacks subjects in her sentences, for example: "From behind the moon boys' graves \ bleed endlessly" ~ From Love Affair with Firearms She doesn't ever define the ...
215
votes
38answers
84k views

Is there a non-sexual phrase for sleeping with someone?

The phrase "sleeping with someone" often means "having sex." What is the origin of this sexual connotation? Is there a non-sexual equivalent of this phrase to express sleeping with someone without ...
69
votes
25answers
11k views

What is deliberately using complex sentences to confuse people called?

I'm wondering if there's a word, phrase, or idiom to describe the action of deliberately confusing people by using complex sentences. For example, some politicians will throw out some big words and ...
33
votes
6answers
137k views

Polite alternatives to “as soon as possible”

I’ve found myself writing the phrase “as soon as possible” just too often. Sometimes I wonder if it sounds a little rude. How can I convey the same meaning in a more polite way but without losing ...
16
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there an equivalent of “reverie” where one is lost in unpleasant thoughts?

To say "the noise outside shook her from her reverie" implies she was lost in pleasant daydreams. What if she was lost in worry or unpleasant thoughts? Is there an equivalent term (single word or ...
30
votes
14answers
5k views

Is there a verb for remaining silent?

Dutch has the verb zwijgen, which means remaining silent. Ik zwijg means I remain silent or I say nothing. It is also often used as an imperative, similar to shut up. I have been discussing this ...
25
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

What do you call a Q&A user who posts a question but never checks back?

I have searched for a term that describes users who post questions and then disappear without trace. These users will post and write their questions in a great flurry, sometimes ignoring the basic ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an idiom that corresponds to the Hungarian expression “fall off the other side of the horse”?

There's a Hungarian phrase that can be literally translated as something like "fall off the other side of the horse". (The literal implication is either that instead of falling off this side of the ...
10
votes
4answers
923 views

People who sell their virginity for money

I'm Vietnamese and I'm writing an essay about prostitution. I want to ask the word to express properly the people who sell their virginity for money. In Vietnamese, we use a phrase literally means ...
6
votes
6answers
16k views

Have I graduated from a master's course?

What is the correct phrasing to tell the people that I have successfully obtained a master's degree? I want to convey the idea that I have had all classes and defended my dissertation. BTW, is ...
49
votes
24answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
8answers
1k views

What is a better way to name “The Wrong Question”?

On StackOverflow.com I often find that people ask questions about problems that arise due to poor design choices (typically due to a lack of knowledge about the particular programming language). For ...
18
votes
13answers
9k views

What do you call a sick person who is lying in bed?

Some conditions require that a person lie in bed all the time until recovered. Is there a name for such conditions or people experiencing them at the moment? For example, I am currently <bed ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a name for how the Irish use so, so?

There is an Irish English structural usage of the word so, that is I think unique to Ireland. Are we going to the cinema, so? Where is the dog, so? The word so is unneeded and seems to mean ...
15
votes
9answers
5k views

Is there a term for simultaneous snow and rain?

I'm from Australia where we don't have so many kinds of precipitation. I'm familiar with these: rain hail snow sleet As I understand it, sleet refers to frozen rain but I'm not totally familiar ...
12
votes
10answers
21k views

Idiom/phrase which means “to pretend not to understand or know”

Sometimes (well, often) people pretend not to understand what's going on (or pretend not to understand what the other person means, etc.) when in fact they do perfectly well. For example, Person A ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Are there good English expressions for “raison d’être” and “joie de vivre”? [closed]

I know the two phrases have been adopted into the English lexicon, but raison d’être and joie de vivre are phrases, not words. As phrases they certainly sound better in French than would their ...