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
8answers
4k views

Is there a non-idiomatic word or phrase meaning the same as “on the fly”

I want to say that someone is quick at thinking on the fly, but need to communicate with non-English speakers. Is there an equivalent non-idiomatic word or phrase? edit: I want it to imply ...
5
votes
2answers
500 views

“The more chickens in a farm the more crap and the fewer eggs”

Consider: The more chickens in a farm the more crap and the fewer eggs. This is a proverb I hear often in Spanish (Cuba). I think it is pretty much self-explained: it is related to productivity ...
1
vote
3answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
466 views

What do you say when you wish someone to do well the next time they run?

A friend of mine was leaving to start running as an exercise and I said "Have a good run!". Then I found out it is an idiom with a different meaning. What is the right thing to say in that case?
5
votes
3answers
6k views

“expecting a baby”

Can I say "we are expecting a baby" when my wife is pregnant or does that sound funny to native English speakers, saying it as a man? (In German, the phrase has become somewhat common, but it stills ...
1
vote
8answers
9k views

What is a word that means “created out of nothing”

I am writing an article and I am having trouble finding a word for "to create out of nothing." The following are slightly different forms to show you the general 'feel' of the word that I am looking ...
5
votes
3answers
510 views

Covering cars or vans with advertisement images, what is this called?

I have been working as a graphic designer for a while and we design and print advertisement material and cover cars / vans with it. What do we call this in English? I am preparing my CV and I don't ...
1
vote
4answers
373 views

An alternative to “serious business”

I am writing an article about a fancy cocktail bar and I am looking for an alternative to the phrase "drinking here is a serious business". Normally I am pretty good at this but, I just have the same ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What is the proper phrase for being in one's official limits, probably when quoting something?

While quoting something, the consideration of the fact that it does not offend the sentiments of a community or culture one belongs to. How do we ask that in one sentence e.g Did I remain in my ...
10
votes
4answers
846 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Phrase synonymous to “a general understanding”?

I am writing a goal where I would like to replace the phrase "a general understanding" with something synonymous. The whole line reads: Writes clean and concise code that reflects a general ...
3
votes
1answer
362 views

Word/phrase meaning: during debate, telling opposing party to read 1000s of pages

I'm currently engaged in a debate where the opposing party has said: "I'm right because I've written 1000 blog posts on this issue. Go read them before replying" Is there a name for this ...
9
votes
2answers
151 views

Is there a name for uncertain memories?

I only know of confabulation, which is a related but distinct process of bringing together fact with misremembered things. Is there an accepted name for memories of which, for example, the person ...
1
vote
3answers
271 views

What category name covers things that are designed to stand on the floor?

How to name a category of tall objects that are designed to stand on the floor as opposed to standing on a table? The tabletop objects are shorter than the freestanding objects and I cannot use ...
4
votes
4answers
135 views

Expression choice for the error of being too exact? [closed]

For example, stating a street address with millimetric precision would be too exact and is therefore not applicable and not done. So you can be too exact. Is there an expression for this error or a ...
-1
votes
3answers
198 views

Alternative to “take X into account” [closed]

I would like to use a simpler, more direct phrase than "take X into account". I consider this a "Word choice and usage" question as directed by the community. Here is my original sentence: The ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

First appearance of a ghost after a person's death

In the ballet Giselle, the title character dies at the end of Act 1. One wouldn't generally describe her ghostly presence in Act 2 as the result of a resurrection, because that implies that her ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

Does English possess a term for the study of all aspects of language in primary/secondary schools

Does academic English employ a concise/idiomatic term corresponding to the Russian term словесные дисциплины (literally, "verbal subjects")? The Russian term is from 19th century academic circles ...
1
vote
2answers
935 views

Is there a term for a word inside another word?

Is there a term for a word that occurs unbroken within another word? For example, the word "fun" in "funeral", or "drag" in "hydragog". The closest thing I could find from my search was the term ...
2
votes
2answers
135 views

Denying own statement

Is there a word of phrase for someone who denies their own statement? It’s like when somebody snitches and then denies having done so.
1
vote
1answer
340 views

What do you call a statement like “How to perform a change of ownership” [closed]

What do you call a statement similar to the following? "How to perform a change of ownership" I wish to request user input by asking a question such as: "Please enter your title in the ...
6
votes
7answers
834 views

Idiom/word/saying request: Accepting a situation out of desperation

How can I say for example: Individual retailers run out of business when a big fish came to town. So they had accepted that they cannot compete and closed their stores. In the novel To Kill A ...
0
votes
1answer
528 views

What's the word for a word that suddenly becomes famous?

What's the right word for a word that suddenly becomes famous? I know buzzword. Are there any similar words or common phrases, like shot up word? My specific context is that I am looking for some ...
3
votes
8answers
2k views

A word or phrase for “temporarily not working”

Is there a word or phrase for temporarily not working since one has gone on vacation? I thought out of work could be used but that means unemployed or having lost one's job EDIT I am looking for a ...
1
vote
2answers
124 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
161 views

How to phrase “define analyses” using only nouns?

English is not my mother tongue, and I am wondering how to best phrase define analysis using two nouns. It could be define analyses, too: it doesn’t matter whether it’s plural or singular. To me, ...
1
vote
4answers
663 views

Better phrase for “not throwing good money after bad” [closed]

I have a friend who is shrewd in his business decisions: he often takes a painful step if it is overall cheaper than something that might feel morally satisfying but comes at higher cost. I want to ...
2
votes
4answers
812 views

How to describe the various ways in which one can experience something?

I'm looking for a word that means "The various manners in which one is able to enjoy, gain fulfillment from, and/or experience a given activity." For example, you could say "The <filler noun> ...
3
votes
3answers
340 views

Phrase for someone taking over business when you skip for humanity

Is there a witty or general saying of indicating the act of taking over a business when a person, business or country skips an opportunity for general benevolence? Examples: If I don't sell weapons ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a better way to refer to “Real Life” when chatting online?

When having a conversation through an online service, you may encounter a scenario like this: (Messenger chat) Me: Hello Stranger! Stranger: Hello! Me: What do you think of Barack Obama? Stranger: ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Is the word 'request' by itself as polite form of asking for something?

Is there a difference in the degree of politeness between saying 'I request that you...' and 'Could you, please, ...'? I realize that I could say 'I kindly request...' or 'I would like to kindly ...
2
votes
3answers
559 views

Idiom wanted for means and ends

There is a common Russian expression, literally translated as "winners are not judged". The meaning is that one can get away with cutting corners and/or employing less-than-wholesome means in pursuit ...
1
vote
3answers
110 views

Better term for “time-evolving charts”

I am working on charts to show every day climate parameters such as temperature and precipitation over a period of time. I used the term "time-evolving charts". Is there a better term to show the ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Receivables/lend

If I lend an amount of $100 to my friend, I can refer to the amount as receivable. Suppose she returns $100 (or $70) after one week, what should I call this amount? It is the "return amount which is ...
-1
votes
5answers
223 views

What is the word/reference for a paranoid reluctance to answer something because of bandwagoning superstition?

Let's say there's a large group of people who are under a negative influence but are forced to keep quiet about the fact or they may face brutal consequences. My idea comes from the book "Watership ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

English equivalent of a Kannada proverb

The saying goes like "ಬಡವನ ಸಿಟ್ಟು ದವಡೆಗೆ ಮೂಲ". When roughly translated to English it means: A poor man's anger only hurts his jaw [due to all the grinding of teeth in the process]. How to ...
3
votes
3answers
258 views

A word or phrase describing “cheap talk” or “cheap issues”

Cheap talk like a kind of talking back of actors'/actresses' lives or an interview about their secret lives in some popular magazines or cheesy show off like reality shows you can find in TV channels. ...
1
vote
4answers
494 views

Somebody who is kind, yet hard, but fair

A person who speaks kindly. Sometimes she might be hard, but fair. What is an adjective to describe such person?
2
votes
5answers
438 views

Description of physical labor

Looking for a phrase that means putting your back or muscle into a task, like rowing. Is there another word for "it", as in "put your back into it"---is there another way to say it, such as "leaning ...
2
votes
7answers
1k views

Ruining something for someone else (spoils of war?)

Lately I've been thinking of a saying that describes the following: Ruining something for someone else, for the sole purpose of it not being useful any more to the other party, even though you do ...
-2
votes
1answer
90 views

Phrase for “human handling time” [closed]

I want to say the product reduces the "human handling time" from 1 hours to 5 minutes. I googled "human handling time" (the whole phrase), but only 21 results are shown. What I should use to replace ...
7
votes
3answers
599 views

Word or phrase for premeditated act of self defense

Consider a scenario where a person is forced to act and attack a person who they consider to be a threat even though there has been no display of such threat. I am talking about sensing danger and ...
8
votes
10answers
7k views

“You get what you deserve nothing more nothing less”

In this world we reside, what we acquire depends on what we can acquire. In other words, if we have the money to, we can buy a house; if we have the necessary educational qualifications to, we can get ...
4
votes
2answers
389 views

What is it called when people wrongly anticipate something and their actions eventually make it happen? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What word means “to speak something into existence”? This is probably something that economists would quickly recognize. It often happens that people would wrongly ...
2
votes
7answers
546 views

An expression for “a little thing that adds to common good”

Like recycling, some little things together make a big positive impact. What's an expression for "a little thing that adds to the common good"?
1
vote
1answer
212 views

What term describes “a loss of immersion” while reading?

If a book is good, readers can easily imagine the story and forget they are reading. If they encounter a problem, perhaps a spelling error or something unbelievable within the universe of the story, ...
45
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there a term which covers ATM cards, credit cards, and debit cards?

I work in accommodation for international travelers, and people can pay with various kinds of cards: In some countries such as USA, credit cards are very common, but debit cards are not so common. ...
2
votes
3answers
32k views

How do you say “hands-on experience” with this technology to an interviewer?

Generally, I would tell an interviewer that I have "hands-on experience" with this technology, by which I mean that my experience in this field is very limited, but quite efficient and knowledgeable. ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Word for a male that prefers female companions (no slang such as “pimp”)

I am looking for a word describing a man who has a lot of female friends, and who prefers female friends. I was "Wikipedia surfing" (going through Wikipedia pages and clicking on links found within ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Formally saying that you are laughing without euphemisms or colloquialism without referring to yourself

I want to know how one can manage to assert that they are laughing without using euphemisms or colloquialism in first person, for example in a letter, without referring to yourself, that is saying ...