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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2
votes
5answers
101 views

idiomatic phrases for *the threat to go to the police*

Let's imagine a situation. One dog's master set his pit bull on his neighbour. This dog bared teeth and did not allow the neighbour to get into his car. The dog frightened this man to death. The man ...
1
vote
4answers
79 views

Word or phrase for “Normal for that person”

I am looking for a single word, or phrase, meaning that this is the state that this person is normally in. In context I have a sentence: "Now, {As was normal for her}, she was smiling with ...
2
votes
5answers
304 views

Meryl Streep is a ______? (as a big compliment)

It's a specific word or small phrase that I can't remember, and it's killing me. It was probably an Oscars ceremony, and someone boldly introduced her as a “xxxx”. It was the highest of compliments, ...
1
vote
3answers
135 views

What's a common way of referring to the “tool” a person used to commit suicide?

For instance, a gun, a rope, or the like. What's the common way of referring to them? Assuming the suicide attempt of the person who used them was successful? Example sentence: We kept grandpa's ...
2
votes
4answers
198 views

Other ways to say 'I plead insanity'

I am writing a one act play about a trial. The evidence is piled against the defendant, and he wants to plead insanity. What are other ways of stating that? What are other ways to refer to that plea? ...
2
votes
4answers
776 views

What do you call the wave-like bumps that are formed in damanged aluminium surfaces?

Example: I'm referring to the wave-like bumps on that dog house's roof. What do you call them?
0
votes
0answers
13 views

Constructing a question to find out the position of something [duplicate]

I need to ask a question and I need you help in framing that question. Leave all that apart now. I will first tell you a sentence: "Narendra Modi is the 15th Prime Minister of India" I need to ...
0
votes
3answers
30 views

People with similar traits

I am curious as to whether there is a noun or some other, more suitable expression for that group of people which shares my personality type. I often use 'people with same traits or personality'.
1
vote
5answers
48 views

A word or short phrase for 'better in every way'?

When we're comparing two or more things, there are times when we have to weigh the advantages or disadvantages of each one. There are other times when one of the things is better for every way in ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Of course… Also of course

Simply put: do we have a good way of expressing "also of course" when we have two "of course" statements concerning a preceding statement? Not so simply put: "of course" can be useful to express a ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Term for Making a New Word that is the Same Part of Speech as its Root

Recently, I've been noticing that in casual speech people often unwittingly create new words from standard English words that are (a) of the same part of speech as the standard word and (b) meant to ...
1
vote
5answers
176 views

Forcing someone's choice through malicious or careless timing

Let's say Alice needs Bob to make a decision between options 1 and 2. Bob would prefer 1. However, Alice asks Bob at such a time he cannot choose 1, so he is forced to pick 2 except in all but the ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

How to convey the meaning of “ordering a mess of papers and books”

How do English people convey the meaning of the action of tidying up a great unordered amount of sheets of paper, books, and notes in a single word or phrase?
19
votes
7answers
933 views

Someone who appears more of an expert than they are [duplicate]

I believe there is a term for a person who uses 'expert sounding' terminology and exudes confidence, even when their actual abilities are significantly short of their 'presentation'. Using 'wine' a ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

In which or at which?

Whether the integration of the refugees into the local community can be feasible depends on the manner in which and the rate at which this happens. Or Whether the integration of the refugees into ...
0
votes
3answers
75 views

What do you call those little explosions you see in barbecues and bonfires?

I'm not talking about the one caused by grease, but the one that occurs spontaneously. A little puff that sends thousands of sparks around.
0
votes
7answers
173 views

Is there an adjective for someone who has a “sense of entitlement”?

When someone has unreasonable expectations and feels that he is owed by others, this trait is described as a "sense of entitlement". But how do you refer to the person who has this trait other than ...
2
votes
4answers
227 views

What do you call a person who doesn't believe in something but still saying things about it? [closed]

What do you call a person who doesn't believe in something but still saying things about it? For example let's say Mario doesn't believe in God (he is an atheist) and something bad happens to Mario ...
0
votes
3answers
108 views

What's a term for “useless numbers or data”?

I'm looking for a single word or short phrase that can describe any numbers or statistics that have very little practical value, and are useful only to the extent of "hey look, a number!" Here's an ...
0
votes
3answers
45 views

Word Request: A word that would describe how seconds (or other unit) relate to minutes (or other unit)

For example, if I had the sentence: A minutes ______ are seconds. What word would work here? It would also fit in the sentences below. A byte's _____ are bits. A byte is split up by eight ______ ...
11
votes
2answers
199 views

What's the term for not specifying race or gender when it is the majority?

In one of my English literature courses, my professor talked about how minority writers are often "marked" by a qualifier, while majority writers are unmarked. For example, Langston Hughes is often ...
0
votes
4answers
87 views

Word for Inability to Write

When school's off for more than three or four days, I usually don't write much (I prefer to type at home!) and so when I come back and hold my pen[cil], my fingers refuse to move like they normally ...
22
votes
11answers
3k views

Is there a word or expression for when someone passionately wants something, and then discovers afterwards that it's different from how he imagined?

Is there a word or expression to describe when someone passionately wants something, eventually gets it, and then discovers that it isn't what he thought it was? For example, suppose that John is a ...
1
vote
3answers
106 views

Word to describe ideology of unfettered belief in rational self-interest

I'm looking for a word that captures the ideology of believing everything can be traced back to rational self-interest. I know that this is a form of weak altruism, and that many ideas of economic ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

how can I use “fewer” and “more” with numbers?

I have never heard anyone use words "fewer" and "more" when talking about the fact that a certain number of items is greater than a certain number of other items by a constant. For example if the ...
4
votes
3answers
93 views

What's the opposite of “further down” in “further down the road”?

Suppose that there is a road which is 1000 meters long. I enter the road and after 500 meters I see Matthew. Matthew says: "James is walking somewhere further down the road". Then I drive further and ...
5
votes
7answers
429 views

Alternatives to the expression “poor man's <noun>”

I'm looking for a more politically correct substitute for the expression "poor man's", meaning an inferior improvised or makeshift substitute. Usage examples: "Guncotton is the poor man's TNT" "Poor ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

Term for Bowing at the End of a Play

I'm looking for the best term (or phrase) to describe the act of bowing to the crowd while onstage at the end of a play or performance. I came by the terms "encore" and "curtain call", but I'm not ...
0
votes
3answers
84 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

What do you call a full monopoly?

What word or phrase is best used to describe a monopoly in all economies - basically having a monopoly in everything. For example, Company X has a monopoly in Food, Technology, Communication, ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

mistakes in set phrases; “…you have to celebrate the victory of your spoils…”

Is there a word for mistaken use of a set phrase? For example, I heard an interview with an athlete in which he said "...you have to celebrate the victory of your spoils." Of course, this is not how ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

Word that describes a repeating pattern across orders of magnitude of scale

What word describes the notion of a simple pattern repeating itself across a multitude of scales? For example, consider Gravity. The forces of gravity are present at the quantum scale (atoms attract ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Phrase for a guest enforcing their culture/rules on the hosts

Imagine a certain Bob from Somethingistan whose native culture forbids wearing hats. Now Bob immigrates to Somelandia where it is perfectly normal to wear hats. However, not only does Bob not wear ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

When did “phone” become accepted as its own word?

In older print publications, I have come across telephone shortened to 'phone, with an apostrophe to mark where the beginning of the word had been omitted. Now, however, phone does not need an ...
4
votes
2answers
81 views

One (or few) word expression for products you don't know you need

I'd like to find a very simple, preferably one word (or few words) expression for products that you don't know you need until you see them. Examples are: electronic face cleanser sleep enhancing app ...
12
votes
5answers
896 views

Person whose recorded voice announces upcoming content on radio

Is there a word/term for a person whose recorded voice on the radio announces the upcoming content, for example, musical piece, on radio? I am not sure host or narrator would be quite correct, since ...
2
votes
3answers
122 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" ...
0
votes
4answers
59 views

more ways to say “In his druken state”

As I need to use the phrase a lot in a piece of document, I don't want to sound too repetitive ... so anyone with any suggestions as to alternative phrases and/or any phrases that suggest that someone ...
0
votes
3answers
91 views

Word for something so familiar or ubiquitous that it goes unnoticed?

Like water to a fish, this thing is not entirely imperceptible but it is rarely noted, if at all.
4
votes
2answers
192 views

the good guys and the bad guys

So I'm watching a sci-fi flick with my kids and a new character appears on-screen. My son says, "Dad, is she a good guy or a bad guy?" I could have replied, "Well, people are more complicated than ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

“relaxed flying fingers” associated with ergonomic keyboard computer interface?

I want to start an open source software project and call it "relaxed flying fingers". The project is about a better keyboard interface, especially for touch typers (people typing with ten fingers). ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

Is there a word for “types of nouns”?

I know "parts of speech" is used to mean nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., but is there a word or phrase for "types of nouns" that would include subject, direct object, indirect object, etc.?
3
votes
3answers
126 views

Is there a concise word or phrase for the feeling of being unsure if someone is kidding?

I'm searching for a word for the feeling of uncertainty as to the sincerity of another person's statements or behavior. Or, the state of being that is to think someone is possibly putting on an act ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

idiomatic phrases for the process of translating

I am looking for idiomatic phrases to speak or write about the process of translating into/from a foreign language. I would like to find phrases that are a good fit for neutral style of communication. ...
0
votes
5answers
69 views

Is there a term for a behavior irrationally linked to an outcome?

Experiments on lab animals have found that they sometimes associate an action with a reward because it coincided with a random food drop. For example, a pigeon looks over its left shoulder, then a ...
14
votes
13answers
2k views

What's the Appropriate Word to Say You're 'Dazzled' by a Nice Smell?

Imagine there's food being cooked on stove and you feel the pleasant smell and it somehow makes you mad! You want to keep smelling or walk to the kitchen and get some of it to eat. What verb would ...
10
votes
12answers
2k views

Is there a word or phrase for the time taken to become productive?

I'm looking for a word of phrase that essentially means the interim between when something has begun and when it is productive. This would be "boot time" on a computer. My specific example would be ...
12
votes
13answers
2k views

What is a word or phrase that means “cut off from the outdoors”?

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe a place that is cut off from the outdoors. This is the situation: my desk at work is not near any windows, so I can't tell if it's sunny, raining, light ...
5
votes
5answers
808 views

What would be an English equivalent for the Mexican Spanish word tocayo? [duplicate]

In Mexican Spanish (not sure if other Spanish speaking countries use the word too) we call "tocayo" to those people that share the same name as us (but not necessarily the same last name i.e., Juan ...
-1
votes
1answer
43 views

Can a phrase including past participle be put right behind the preposition 'of'?

For all the English grammar my teacher taught me, the element put right behind the preposition 'of' can be: 1. a noun. The leg of the desk 2. gerund leading phrase which acts as a noun: The result ...