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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0
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2answers
459 views

Is there a Latin phrase (which can be used in English) for “as per convention”? [closed]

I want to say something in an academic setting to the effect of "as expected" or "as per convention", when dealing with repeated lists of things with expected formatting. Is there a Latin phrase that ...
1
vote
1answer
214 views

2-word term for reversing phrases

What is the 2-word term (3 syllables each, I think, and definitely Greek sounding/Greek roots) that describes the technique of reversing phrases or parts of phrases, e.g. " bred and born" instead of "...
-1
votes
2answers
357 views

A better phrase for “doing my graduation”

I'm looking for a better phrasing of the following sentence, to put it as a summary at a professional network. Does doing my graduation look a unprofessional? I am doing my graduation from the ...
4
votes
10answers
1k views

How to describe a person in a situation in which he does not completely know what he is doing?

How can we describe a person doing or communicating something without (really) knowing what he is doing or talking about? This could be either because of some indisposition like for example ...
3
votes
4answers
200 views

How to succinctly and clearly connote the reverse of a statement

Here's a published example of a problem I come across frequently: A cop is six times more likely to be shot by someone black than the opposite. Let us assume that the writer meant to say: ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
2
votes
6answers
132 views

Politician says he will vote in favor of legislation that he hasn't read and will change once elected

Can anyone come up with a few good synonyms/idioms/expressions for a person or politician that will say whatever he/she believes will get him/her the most votes? For example: He/she will vote in ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Phrase experimentation - Marching a trough [closed]

I'm trying to touch up this part, and wondering if the above could work as a metaphor. This is my text right now: “George, it's me, .... I can't connect with my money!” he fired while marching ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

English term for aggressive street seller?

Is there an English term for the type of street seller who aggressively sells his products? The type who yell after you and may follow you as you walk down the street?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How to say “I met someone”, but not in the romantic way [closed]

I sometimes start stories with "I met someone who (...)" or "I met a man who (...)". Being a woman, people often seem to think there is something romantic about the meeting even though that was not ...
7
votes
3answers
521 views

A word that describes different forms of the same word

Is there a word that describes all forms of a root word (not being the past tense or past participle form)? In the instant case, the root word is "compare" and one of the different forms is "...
0
votes
3answers
533 views

What's the phrase or idiom for acting like a baby when subjected to criticism?

I was wondering whether English has a phrase or an idiom for someone acting like a baby when subjected to criticism, as well as honest and negative assessment of their actions or personality. By "...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

Succinct way of saying “Related to Take a Byte” [closed]

I have a website with many RSS feeds (http://www.sonihal.com/rss-feeds.html) that include 1 - My blog entries 2 - Articles that relate to the blog's subject area For instance, the website has a ...
0
votes
4answers
138 views

a word / idiom for pulling something closer for a sniff?

This is where I am: "Gliding at a low altitude, his fingers reached for a flower, plucked it and pulled it closer to his nose" / ... to smell" I'm not looking for anything too exotic, but would ...
-1
votes
2answers
441 views

Adjective which means both “Specific” and “General” simultaneously [closed]

I need an adjective which means both "Specific" and "General" simultaneously! As the explanation, the "adjective" is supposed to be used in scientific domain. The adjective would describes a "model"...
0
votes
1answer
573 views

Word for liking and not liking something at the same time? [duplicate]

What's a word for the feeling of liking something, but not liking it at the same time? I love the way the Spanish speak, but it bothers me at the same time. I've looked through and dictionaries asked ...
3
votes
6answers
717 views

How would one term this particular relationship?

While postulating a French universe, my brain voted that Bill Gates should become Bill Gateaux. What term or short-phrase would one use to describe the word 'Gateaux', relative to 'Gates', where the ...
5
votes
6answers
915 views

Is there any notation or abbreviated phrase meaning “this is provisional”?

I want to write on my timetable that an event will take place at "Building X, but this is provisional as it is subject to change and it may happen somewhere else." Is there any kind of notation or ...
4
votes
4answers
486 views

Word or phrase to use “when you told a story/situation and it happend you later”

English is NOT my primary language . In my language we have a phrase to use in this kind of situation . You were telling a story or a situation to your friends and later it happens you . For eg : ...
1
vote
2answers
412 views

A short alternative to describe a location very close to the city

I've racked my brains to no avail trying to find a correct and practical term to describe a location very close to the city centre (of the little town). "Close to the city" is very cliche and sounds ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“I like to” vs. “I'd like to”

When making a polite request, people often use the phrase, "I'd like to [SOME REQUEST]". But I also see the form, "I like to [SOME REQUEST]". For example, a former boss would arbitrarily interchange ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

What to say to find something out? [closed]

What are informal ways of saying that you'd like to get more information about an issue, recent events or a person? What would you write to someone in a letter to express this idea? Can you ...
4
votes
4answers
86 views

Is there a term for extracting a cultural element from its originating environment and placing it in a foreign and contrived context?

I have a nagging feeling there’s a word or term for this practice. The example that lead to this question has to do with a food truck. A bar/restaurant in my city has apparently had an actual truck ...
1
vote
3answers
631 views

What's the word or expression when you do something that the outcome is already decided?

I have to submit some paperwork for the approval of an activity. However, I have already got approval, the paperwork is only necessary to submit the specifics (the date, people involved, and other ...
3
votes
5answers
95 views

Provoking indecision?

Is there a word that describes someone or something that provokes indecision? "Divisive" is close to what I'm looking for. But that is generally used to describe a person or topic that splits people. ...
4
votes
7answers
4k views

Word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes?

What would be a word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes? The most obvious one to me seems "puppeteer" but I feel like it has this strong implication of "direct control" to it which does ...
3
votes
1answer
449 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
841 views

Word to describe a question with multiple exact correct answers

Not completely sure, but I don't believe ambiguous would qualify for the exact situation I am thinking of, though perhaps I am over thinking this in general. I have a question in a short story I am ...
63
votes
12answers
10k views

What's a less offensive substitute for “rep-whores”?

This is a frequently thrown-around term on Internet forums in general and Stack Exchange specifically. Although it conveys a lot of meaning, I'd much prefer a phrase with a less offensive origin. ...
6
votes
3answers
201 views

Is there a convenient way to say “despite and (actually) because of” in English?

I am looking for the English version of a common phrase from intellectual German, where sentences sometimes begin with trotzdem und gerade weil which could be directly translated to despite and ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Is there a word for excessive use of articles?

I'm correcting a report translated into English, and the previous version has "a" and "the" articles stuck to every noun and name. While writing a comment expressing my discontent with this misuse of ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

A wife who knows and accepts her husband's infidelity

What do you call a wife or woman who knows their spouse or partner is unfaithful but pretends either to (1) not care or (2) to not know? In this scenario it's important that the cheating spouse or ...
1
vote
4answers
223 views

Looking for a word describing “habits which lost their original purpose”

I know there is a certain word which could describe rituals/habits which are being practiced despite the fact they lost their original purpose. I saw it in context of practicing some religious rituals....
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Alternatives to “break a butterfly on a wheel” [duplicate]

The phrase "to break a butterfly on a wheel" is very evocative, but I can't bring myself to use it: I find the "wheel" too disturbing. So: what are some good alternatives? (For those who are ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

How should I refine “XX is widely used internally”?

I'm trying to express that a mechanism is used both internally and widely. So I tried This mechanism is widely used internally but I'm using two adverbs that surrounds a verb, looks ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the contrastive phrase of “little to no”?

An example question of the usage of little to no: Idiom to describe something that has little to no effect? I understand that the phrase little to no effect means little effect, or worst, no effect. ...
9
votes
12answers
1k views

Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
1
vote
6answers
218 views

Word or phrase for “example earlier than the concept”

Which English word or phrase can be used to express consisely that a particular thing or occurrence can be seen as an example or instance of a general concept, for which now there is a term, ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Is there a verb that describes speaking with a full mouth?

I am looking for a verb that describes speaking with a full mouth, like a child asking something at the dinner table before swallowing, because they are so anxious/curious for the answer. Anything ...
3
votes
2answers
245 views

Is there a word/phrase for using an expression which is directly translated and makes no sense?

I'm looking for a word (or a phrase) to describe a particular phrase or idiom which is directly translated from a foreign language and makes no sense in the language it's translated to. For instance, ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Terser, tidier way to say you'd like “no further progression of [someone's] macular degeneration”

I'm editing a church prayer sheet, and one of the requests is that someone's specific eye disorder won't keep getting worse. The original phrasing, unfortunately, was pretty awful: "Pray for Macular ...
1
vote
2answers
274 views

Word/phrase that means “secondary” without implying a lack of importance [closed]

Trying to think of a word or short phrase to describe something as being secondary but without implying that it is unimportant.
4
votes
2answers
872 views

Adjectives to describe a big human achievement vs. a quick achievement

Premise: It took 13 years and 3 billion dollars to sequence the first human genome by scientists. What would be an adjective to describe this feat? However, now a new software can do the ...
0
votes
4answers
184 views

Exhortation to “be successful”? [closed]

I just bought a smoothie and the barista wrote the Spanish phrase "Éxitos" on my cup. My Spanish-speaking colleagues tell me this is wishing me success. I'm trying to think of an analogous English ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

'Starting with the' or 'starting the' & 'from at least OR at least from'

Which one would be correct, a. We will be starting with the interview process on 5th October OR b. We will be starting the interview process on 5th October 2 a. You should get coins at least from... ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

What do you call a note that gives preliminary information before the main part?

I'm looking for a single word (if not, a natural phrase) for a note that you write before starting the main article/part/question etc. It can give preliminary information (in general). However, it ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

“Branching Factor” in military and industrial organizations?

In math, branching factor measures the (average) number of descendants in a tree; e.g., the branching factor of a binary tree is 2. How is the same number called when applied to the military (usually ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Alternative for “particularly interested” [closed]

What are other formal ways of saying "I'm particularly interested in..."? In this case it's for use on cover letters for CVs. The synonyms for "interested" offered by the thesaurus don't seem ...
5
votes
2answers
220 views

English play on: (Chinese) “enemies and lovers are pre-destined to meet”

Wondering what phrases English has similar to this Chinese idiom. ABC Dictionary (GoogleBooks): 183. (lit) [If we/they/you were] not rivals/enemies, there would be no encounter. (fig) ...
1
vote
7answers
979 views

Shorter way of saying “Uncertain of what was going on”?

I saw a shadow fumbling inside my closet. [...] , I screamed. I thought of the word confused but I think it doesn't have enough intensity. Is there a word/phrase that means uncertain of what was ...