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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
8answers
10k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How to suggest contrary solution politely?

Theoretical case: client suggests some non-optimal solution. How to offer another, better solution politely with indirect question? Is it ok to say "Don't you think doing it this way would be more ...
0
votes
1answer
465 views

How to express taking paid time-off in a sentence

I would like to have a sentence to indicate a person is on two days of paid time-off. Could I form a sentence like, "He is on two days paid time off." "He is on paid time off for two days". ...
7
votes
5answers
506 views

How can I properly indicate a “day off” in a tournament using “sports terms”?

When showing a tournament calendar with an odd number of teams, how can I say (in sport terms) to indicate the team that is not playing on a given match day? For example a tournament with five teams ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Expression that means “as soon as something is finished”

I am looking for an expression that means "right after finishing something, start something". For some reason, the words "fresh off the heels" keep springing up but I googled them and it's not an ...
0
votes
2answers
59 views

Everything going on with somebody

If you're continuously posting news about what someone is doing, including their latest projects, is it correct to say (in the description of a fansite, for example): updates on everything going ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

A word for 'something more' or 'missing from life'

I am trying to think of a word, or phrase to describe this feeling. There is something more to my life, something meaning to happen or occur, and I don't know what it is. There is an anticipation of ...
4
votes
2answers
113k views

Can you say “see you then/there” when arranging a meeting?

I am sending an e-mail to a colleague to arrange a meeting. In my e-mail I inform her where and when we can meet, and I would like to end the e-mail by saying something like "See you there" or "See ...
4
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
3answers
480 views

Common phrase for “intermediate goal”

What is the most common phrase with the meaning of intermediate/interim goal/target/result? For example, setting up interim goal in a project/agenda calculating a intermediate result in a bigger ...
-3
votes
3answers
2k views

Opposite of jack of all trades master of none

As the title says, what is the opposite of "Jack of all trades master of none"?
18
votes
9answers
2k views

Terminology for fake photograph

I think there is a good chance that a new word or phrase has been coined to mean fake photograph. Is there a single word to express it?
1
vote
4answers
148 views

Is it correct to use “train has surfaced”?

Can you say The train has surfaced to describe the moment when a train emerges from a tunnel?
4
votes
7answers
571 views

Word that means “one out of a series must be true”?

I am trying to come up with a word or phrase that means "one out of a series must be true". Example #1: I have a list of roles that a user can belong to. What is a word that describes a list of ...
8
votes
2answers
229 views

Pronunciation problem with “park” and “walk”. Is there a name for this “phenomenon”?

Now and then, I struggle to say a pair of words such as "park and walk". It may come out as "park and wark" or "pork and walk". It occurs generally when the two words are close together in a ...
2
votes
3answers
331 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

More traditional / professional word or phrase for 'Plan of Attack'

I'm currently writing up a design document which is essentially a 'plan of attack', however this doesn't strike me as a particularly professional or eloquent term for what I mean and my mind's gone ...
5
votes
4answers
308 views

The wheel has become an eight

The title makes presumably little to no sense and is in fact a word-by-word translation of a German expression. I am talking about the wheel of a bike and a certain way it is deformed. I like the ...
25
votes
26answers
41k views

Common phrases for something that appears good but is actually bad

What are common phrases that describe something that appears good but is actually bad? Edit: Because people say bad is vague I will try to sum up the phrase meaning a little better. something that ...
1
vote
5answers
357 views

“They are not simultaneously positive, negative nor even”

What is a sensible, correct and non-ambiguous way of rephrasing the following? The numbers a, b and c are not simultaneously positive, negative nor even. The idea is that the three numbers are ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

A better word for 'hot' (spicy)?

I never know how to order food correctly but succinctly the first time. :( Basically: I can't eat hot stuff (i.e. most pepper, similar spices, ...). On the one hand, I don't want to say "Please ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Idiom that describes a person who doesn't have an acceptable witness

We Persians have a proverb that says: They asked the fox, "Who's your witness?" The fox said, "My tail!" What do Americans say when a person only has their ally as a witness? Is there any idiom ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Substitute for “give or take”

Is there a better word or way of saying give or take to refer to the possibility of inaccuracy? For example, I will be arriving in 30 minutes, give or take 5 minutes. I want to indicate the ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Use of “leave good memories”

Is it correct to use leave good memories for someone after a particular experience or event? Are there any other options or examples?
3
votes
5answers
517 views

Term, blend-word, or metaphor for being social but with boundaries [closed]

I'm looking for a term, word or metaphor for being social but within rules or boundaries. I don't like the word privacy as it has a negative connotation. I think the word social is overused or ...
1
vote
3answers
145 views

Decribing a father's strict treatment of his children

In the movie "The Sound of Music" the father, who was also a captain, was very strict with his children. He would always give them all kinds of commands and always used a whistle. What's the best way ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Nobody does something for nothing”

I have a proverb in my native tongue saying something like "there is no cat chasing fish for God" which implies that anyone who does anything that may seem beneficial to you, is doing it for ...
-4
votes
3answers
4k views

Alternate word/phrase for “Screw up”/“f*** up”/“mess up” [closed]

If I want to tell something like : Let's not do it. It will _____ up the whole plan. Any of the phrases mentioned in the title can be used, but none of them sounds good. I'm looking for a good ...
1
vote
1answer
390 views

A word/phrase for an “I-should-have…” kind of feeling?

I am trying to find a word for a feeling in a scenario that goes something like this: Suppose I was shopping for a watch at a place. I found the watch in Shop A and bought it at $30. Hours later, I ...
2
votes
4answers
416 views

What's the phrase for “learning throughout one's life”?

How should one refer to somebody who wants to gain knowledge all the time and keeps learning in life even when very old? What's the phrase for the same? My dictionary says "learn and live."
1
vote
3answers
79 views

What is an overall term for a service that publishes digital publications?

I'm looking at what I am calling Digital Edition Solution Providers (ways of taking a PDF of a magazine and turning it into a website, and content for sale on Apple Newsstand, Android, KindleFire ...
-2
votes
2answers
116 views

Phrase for status of association [closed]

"The work is done by Mr Miller at the X-Institute." "The work is done by Mr Miller pro forma associated with the X-Institute." Mr Miller really belongs to Y-Inc. and never set foot into X-Institute ...
2
votes
6answers
257 views

Word for expressing pushing one's health limit as if overdrafting a bank account?

Suppose Tim is working very hard and constantly pushing his limit, at the cost of his health, by often staying up late and forgetting to take breaks. This is similar to overdrafting one's bank ...
33
votes
6answers
122k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
796 views

What's the converse of “The straw that broke the camels back”?

A friend likes this lady for many of her nice qualities. But one of her small niceness-es made him fall for her completely. He referred to it as "The straw that broke the camels back" which I believe ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the right way of expressing a desire to meet with someone in the future on the multiple basis?

What's the right way of expressing a desire to meet with someone in the future on the multiple basis (unspecified number of times, but definitely more than once)? We should surely meet again ...
1
vote
4answers
965 views

Word/phrase for the activity of hiding mistakes

What word/phrase can I use to describe the activity of hiding a stupid mistake/incident, such as quickly cleaning up tea spilled by accident before anyone could notice?
1
vote
4answers
1k views

A better way to say “to engage in double standard”

As is, it sounds a bit awkward to me. Let me try to incorporate what I am after into a sentence. Just as Bush once said "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as ...
5
votes
3answers
571 views

English equivalent of the expression “a longer arm than résumé”

I've heard a non-native English speaker use the expression "in this place, having a long arm to scratch someone else's back is more important than having a long résumé", conveying the idea of ...
-1
votes
3answers
1k views

Want a phrase/word to express the time follow and close now [closed]

I want a phrase or word to express the time follow and close now, it would have the meaning that keeps the time continuous. for me, word "later" seems be too generic, "later on" seems to have certain ...
1
vote
4answers
211 views

Expression for a situation where most prominent stakeholders give up

I am a Tango for D adopter and appreciate it very much but I am very concerned with a threatening trend. I noticed that many prominent early members leave it. I perceive that as a strong ...
1
vote
7answers
323 views

A phrase to mean “an acceptable deal”

I need a phrase that indicates the speaker find a bargain acceptable, but not particularly favorable. The natural expression, in American English, would be "I can live with it" but for reasons too ...
0
votes
2answers
115 views

How to combine “a book about X” with “people are interested in how X works”? [closed]

I would like to know how to correctly combine the sentence 1. with the sentence 2. People are interested in how these algorithms work. I am writing a book about algorithms... [here I need to ...
6
votes
4answers
812 views

An idiom meaning “failure is not the end”

There's a motto in my native language which literally means: If the ball is full of air, then when it is hit against the ground, it will go up more. Is there an idiom with the same meaning and ...
4
votes
3answers
573 views

Substantive idiom for “a shoulder to cry on”

I believe there is an expression to call someone (a friend) to whom you complain about something, generally a relationship problem. Could someone point to such an idiom?
10
votes
7answers
1k views

What's a good phrase for “refining a process which is hopelessly broken”?

I'm looking for a turn of phrase to describe a situation where the powers that be wish to continue making small improvements to a process which, due to deep-rooted flaws, will never be close to ...
3
votes
4answers
24k views

Alternative for “room for improvement” [closed]

Is there a 'better' or different way of saying room for improvement? e.g. Despite the success of X, there is still room for improvement...
1
vote
3answers
6k views

Synonyms / slang words in American English to express “I am very excited for something”? [closed]

In British English we can say "I am keen to do something with you". Also: "Would you like to go to a concert?" A: "I'm keen for that!". What are some equivalents in American English? Is it "I want to ...
0
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the word for “nuisance” as an adjective?

Can anyone propose an adjective of nuisance? Or a word that can be used to communicate that sense? The place where I want to use the word is as follows. I am talking about when children are abused ...
0
votes
2answers
244 views

Is there an alternative (more poetic term) to avoid making the choice between “simpler” and “more simple”?

I am trying to translate a Greek essay in English. Let me give you the text above and below the word "simpler": Actually the first, more systematic - and most effective - propagandists were, ...