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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3
votes
3answers
272 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
570 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
470 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
2k 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
93 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
659 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
425 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
605 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
226 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, ...
47
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
35k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
765 views

A word for a person who is made a villain by their circumstances, not necessarily by their actions

I was watching the movie Leon: The Professional. The protagonist, Leon, is a hitman — not somebody we traditionally sympathize with. The antagonist is a crooked DEA agent, pretty despicable ...
1
vote
6answers
24k views

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face?

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face. Is there anything better than calling him a "Pleasing personality"?
0
votes
2answers
204 views

Is there any word for the upper inner part of a sock?

I was about to answer a question on this thread, and I wanted to refer to the inner upper part of a sock. Something like this: Put a small label inside the inner upper part of your socks. But ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Suitable word or phrase to replace 'unique' when something is almost unique?

I have this sentence as part of an abstract Verification of space weather forecasts presents some unique challenges compared with other types of forecasts. I go on to detail briefly what those ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

English equivalent of a Malayalam saying

There is a saying in Malayalam which can be roughly translated as "In the land where noone has a nose, the broken-nosed one is the king". Is there a way to express the same sentiment in English?
1
vote
8answers
535 views

Term that means adaptation to a suboptimal situation

If you are not only accepting a situation that is not what you wanted, but are taking steps to adapt to that situation, is there a word/phrase that describes this? Neither "resignation" or ...
1
vote
3answers
126 views

a word for “want you to be”; as in “want to [word] you”

being deferential to authority is what they want to teach you being deferential to authority is what they want you to be (correct but not beautiful) The second version is more correct but I ...
7
votes
8answers
378 views

Word/phrase for something that succeeds in first attempt

You are a creator. You are fearless. Though you lack expertise at the moment, your work has the ability to be decent most of the time. You tinker, you fail. You keep failing and start seeing the ...
1
vote
6answers
893 views

Expression similar to 'freak out'

For usage like this: I freaked out when I saw that file was not there. Every time I talk to him, he freaks me out by his strange stories. What similar expressions can I use instead of ...
9
votes
13answers
1k views

Word or phrase for 'a much hyped discovery which later turns out to be insignificant or of no value'

In the company where I worked before, the team of specialists which handled customer dissatisfaction issues often came up with seemingly brilliant solutions which would initially appear to be key ...
-4
votes
1answer
2k views

Missing the trees for the forest [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Asking for an idiom according to literal translation I think I came up with a new phrase, similar to the devil in details. Appreciate if you find it applicable and ...
35
votes
10answers
7k views

“To shoot out of cannon into sparrows”

In Russian we have idiom/saying "To shoot out of cannon into sparrows" (literal translation) which is used to convey an idea of applying too drastic measures to small problems. I believe there should ...
5
votes
5answers
890 views

A term to describe “thinking something bad is good”

Let's say someone has an idea that he/she thinks is really good, but in reality it is actually not a very good idea. How can I describe this kind of mentality?
4
votes
5answers
558 views

Is there an English idiom “in threes and fives” to describe arriving, gathering, or leaving of people in a pair, trio, or group in succession?

We say ‘san-san-go-go – 三三五五’ in Japanese to describe the status of people coming, arriving, gathering, going, or leaving in a pair, trio, or group in succession in such a way, People gathered in the ...
0
votes
2answers
766 views

Word to describe a company's brand, products and services

I'm trying to find a word or phrase that sums up a company's brand, products and services. I'm thinking something along the lines of "company initiatives," but that doesn't seem to sum up the three.
-1
votes
6answers
2k views

How to describe students who don't study hard

I want to describe a situation here: The students who study hard usually get better grade, but in contrast the students who didn't study hard usually get poor grade. However, I don't want to ...
-1
votes
3answers
139 views

Saying that some action is optional

I am trying to find phrase or word which would properly cover following statement: You can bring back the book tomorrow if you like, and if not it is fine. I am trying to find a way to same that ...
1
vote
4answers
973 views

What are some colloquial English phrases for 'a child acquiring its parents' characteristics or features'?

I am not sure if the title is clear enough to you, so let me briefly explain what I'm looking for. We sometimes see children who look very much like their father or mother, or even behave typically ...
0
votes
1answer
254 views

Word to mean the specific component part of a honeycomb?

In the context of a math paper, I want to talk about the individual hexagonal parts of a honeycomb. "cells" can be ambiguous and "hexagonal prisms" is technically incorrect (the back of the cavity is ...
0
votes
2answers
130 views

Redeeming, sort of. Need a better word!

My site has a feature where users can buy, or they can obtain a code that will allow someone else to buy it for them. The part of the page that lets the buyer input the code and gift the item to the ...
6
votes
5answers
304 views

A word for non-language sound

I am looking for a word that describes audio that does not contain words. For instance: John William's piece Duel of the Fates would be this, since they are just vocables for their musical effect, ...
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
14k views

A word or phrase for “someone who learns from their mistakes” [closed]

What would be a word or short phrase for "someone who learns from their mistakes"? I thought of insightful, but am not satisfied with it.
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 ...
-5
votes
4answers
671 views

“You really take the biscuit!”

Is there an American version of “You really take the biscuit!”? As in taking the last biscuit, i.e. it's incredible how selfish you are.
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Word or phrase to describe an activity that is “used to pass time”

Aside from pastime, what is a word or phrase that can be used to describe an activity that is not pleasurable and used only as a diversion while letting time pass?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Different types of whistling

Are there terms or succinct phrases that describe the different ways of whistling listed below? The standard put-your-lips-together-and-blow Tongue against bottom teeth Sticking two fingers (thumb ...
-2
votes
1answer
691 views

I need a word for the time just before some other moment. Like upon, only in reverse [closed]

I wrote a program that must add to some log entry (of some event) a note if event happened just before some other major event or along with it. And i cannot select a good word for this. This word ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Opposite of “straight talk”

What is the opposite for the straight talk idiom? How do I best call the activity when someone makes a very long preamble before he says what he wants?
2
votes
5answers
397 views

What do you call activities you do to keep your curiosity alive?

Is there a single word for activities which you engage in to keep your curiosity or interest in a certain field alive? I mean is there some word that conveys the idea that the series of activities ...
2
votes
2answers
566 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Word to describe an attribute one would either love or hate

He has an audacity that those who know him either adore or despise. His audacity is _____ . There's only two kinds of people: those who love olives and those who hate it. Olives have a _____ ...
3
votes
6answers
151 views

Oxymoronic soundtrack — mismatch audio to visuals

I am looking for a word or a turn of phrase to describe a situation whereby the music or a soundtrack does not go with the visuals of a film at all. This is to perhaps make it more poignant and create ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

An alternative, less casual phrase for 'been there, done that'?

Meaning: To have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency. Origin: This phrase began life in the early 1970s, in the short form 'been there', ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How to describe strength of keeping things simple and beautiful

I'm writing performance review of one of my colleagues that includes describing his strengths. For example, one of his strengths is Communication. He can quickly resolve conflicts with co-workers, ...
3
votes
5answers
327 views

What is an inverse phrase for “topping-off”?

I’m looking for a term or phrase that is the inverse equivalent to the action of “topping-off”, like a gas tank, but meaning “to completely empty.” Not a steady state (empty, depleted), but more a ...