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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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
574 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
5k 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, ...
-2
votes
2answers
234 views

Describing the preference of some time period's being closer to another time period that it forgoes [closed]

Just asked this question on "Christianity", but feel asked it in a very awkward way: Do we have any evidence that Martin Luther considered some individuals of the Roman Catholic clergy living in ...
4
votes
2answers
962 views

Word to describe gay people who are in a relationship with each other

Can I use these words? A gay couple (not sure if couple can be used only for married people) A gay lovers (not sure if I should put s here or if lovers can be used to describe two people ...
4
votes
8answers
287 views

An English equivalent to “débroussailler un projet”

This week, I was stuck trying to explain to my boss that I started to “débroussailler le projet” (a French expression, literally: remove brushwood from the project). What I meant with this expression ...
1
vote
3answers
313 views

What's a more powerful phrase with the same basic meaning as “no adjustment”?

What is a powerful phrase to describe the failure of a person or organization to react to a large change in the environment? Three examples: Mapquest continued to use static pages even after the ...
2
votes
6answers
11k views

Alternative to the phrase “took place”?

My sentence looks something like this: Immediately after the task was complete an interview took place. I'm trying to think of a good alternative to took place. So far all I can think of is ...
4
votes
6answers
6k views

Phrase or idiom to mean “one at a time”

When you have too many tasks in your to-do list, you will like to clear them one at a time. Is there another way to say this? Or to say "worrying about the next one only after finishing the current ...
4
votes
5answers
647 views

Opposite/inverse of duplicate

What is a word that can function as the inverse of a duplicate question on Stack Exchange? I was looking, in the context of this question on meta, for such a word to distinguish the closed duplicate ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Tired in an enjoyable way

I'm looking for a single word meaning "tired or fatigued in a good or enjoyable manner", as one would feel after a good day's work, or after some proper exercise. For example: After a strenuous ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a polite form of proposing a fee for a service? [closed]

For example I did agree to provide a service to my client and I'd like to tell them, how much I would charge for my services. I can say: "It'll cost $100". But is it the best way?
29
votes
17answers
7k views

Opposite of 'Midas touch'?

I'm wondering what word or phrase could be used for the counter examples of 'Midas touch' effect. The Midas touch, or the gift of profiting from whatever one undertakes, is named for a legendary ...
12
votes
10answers
18k views

Idiom/phrase which means “to pretend not to understand or know”

Sometimes (well, often) people pretend not to understand what's going on (or pretend not to understand what the other person means, etc.) when in fact they do perfectly well. For example, Person A ...
0
votes
4answers
244 views

Expression for “be a little faster”

Is there an expression for the following: A: Let's go for lunch. B: Okay. A: I am coming in a few minutes. B: Okay, but be a little bit faster Do native speakers say this? Or is ...
23
votes
24answers
42k views

An idiom meaning someone's doing something useless and has no result at the end

In my native language, we use an idiom to warn someone that they're doing something which has no result at the end: Trying to convince him is like squashing water ... Is there any idiom in ...
1
vote
8answers
13k views

A Good Phrase to Replace “Get To Know”

This is what I want to express: I want to get to know more algorithms that have been created. I have thought about changing the sentence into I want to gain a better insight into algorithms ...
2
votes
8answers
3k views

A better way of expressing “burst like a soap bubble”?

So the other day my friend was telling me about this employment contract which he said would "burst like a soap bubble". It doesn't seem to be a common idiom in English, but he seemed to mean by it ...
26
votes
9answers
1k views

“Saving on the parrot's chocolate is futile”

In Catalan there is an expression "ser la xocolata del lloro" that can be translated as "saving by not giving chocolate to the parrot is futile", conveying the meaning that when a household wants to ...
4
votes
3answers
100 views

Partially same authors

Is there a word or common phrase that expresses the idea that two works have some but not all authors in common? For example if I have these papers (1)How to Count Red Bottles, Gee M. S., Queen ...
7
votes
6answers
671 views

Better way to say “cover our a***s”

I'm looking for a couple of good coined phrases that I can use in front of business people, apologies if the one I had in mind offends anyone. I'd use "can sleep at night" but I want the phrase to ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Formal expression for “talking about something unrelated” [closed]

What are some words or phrases that can be used when a person is discussing a particular subject with a group of people and unintentionally she/he talks about something unrelated? I need a formal ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

How to find a word to fit a meaning?

I need to find a word that would have a reasonably close meaning to: a collection of facts and arguments used to arrive at an explanation [of some (thing|concept|idea|...)] More generally, I ...
2
votes
5answers
166 views

Testing software by giving the output back as input

I want to apply an integrity test to a software by giving it input which is based on its output of a previous calculation. If the new output is then again the same as the previous output, the ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a name for how the Irish use so, so?

There is an Irish English structural usage of the word so, that is I think unique to Ireland. Are we going to the cinema, so? Where is the dog, so? The word so is unneeded and seems to mean ...
0
votes
1answer
432 views

Origin and usage of the phrase “my son”

When I was watching the movie documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11", one of the interviewed lawyers told Michael moore "sit down, my son". After that, I just couldn't stop thinking about this phrase, and how ...
3
votes
2answers
679 views

A phrase to show that something is deeply personal

The context here is that I'm translating from Spanish a phrase which has a wonderful suggestion of deep intimacy. I want to keep the translation as literal as possible but also to maintain the emotion ...
2
votes
3answers
153 views

Name of the used mins during time other than night and weekend in cell phone plan?

My current cell phone plan includes 200 minutes, and free calling at night (from 6PM to 7AM) and on weekends. Is there a term in the mobile industry to mean the minutes used during time other than ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

A word to describe a subjective yet natural feeling about something

What is an adjective to describe something that I have an indirectly feeling about how I should do it but am not sure of and have no concrete evidence for its correctness. It's like an intuition. For ...
6
votes
4answers
582 views

Analogue of “most recent” for events in the future

In the context of a listing of events that are time-based, it is common to use "Most Recent" to describe a listing of events ordered by date, in descending order, with the upper limit being today's ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Technical term for `avoiding responsibility` with decision-makers?

Suppose a parliament that tries to "outsource" their responsibility in various ways (they take the gains but not wanting to take the risks). Of course, the situation cannot last: risks and gains ...
1
vote
6answers
771 views

A phrase for ignoring the disparity at a low level, while seeking commonality at a high level

I'm having a hard time describing the phrase I'm looking for, so I think the best way to ask the question is to simply present the problem. At work I've been tasked with merging the guidelines (the ...
13
votes
13answers
3k views

Word for “best person in a group of bad people”

What do you call someone or something that is the best in a group of bad people or bad things? For example, a prisoner who is the best in terms of behavior in the prison, even though we know that all ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

A word or phrase to describe people who are practical and “care more about themselves”?

What is a word or phrase to describe people who are very practical and shrewd, and more concern about achieving their goals rather than looking at softer sides such as friendships, etc? It is more ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

What do you call it when some group is feeling self-satisfaction by praising themselves?

What do you call it when some group of people is feeling self-satisfaction in praising themselves, even though others don't think them praise-worthy?
-2
votes
3answers
169 views

Shorter version of “is going to be”

I've just read question: Alternative to "is going to be" I got similar problem, but in my case I need to describe something that might happen in the future. The sentence is "Project ...
5
votes
5answers
534 views

What do you call it when a name/word is better known by a pejorative?

A while back, the US Congress passed a bill called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. The bill quickly became known as “Obamacare”. During the time prior to when cannabis was made ...
6
votes
6answers
13k views

Have I graduated from a master's course?

What is the correct phrasing to tell the people that I have successfully obtained a master's degree? I want to convey the idea that I have had all classes and defended my dissertation. BTW, is ...
0
votes
3answers
704 views

What do you call the question type in a quiz game where you have to order the answers?

What is the proper name for these type of questions? These are the questions like the 'Fastest Fingers First' questions in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Can you call them 'ordering' questions or ...
3
votes
8answers
614 views

Transportation fee + Lunch money =?

My son goes out for the day every weekend, so I have to give him transportation fee and lunch money every time he does so. I'd like to know if the above sentence sounds natural to native ...
1
vote
6answers
4k views

What's the phrase for things that get better with age?

What's the phrase for things that (seem to) get better with age? For example: JJ Abrams Star Trek is to TNG as Lucas's prequels were to Star Wars.
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What is another phrase for “start here”?

I am looking for words and phrases with similar meaning to "start here" or "get started". The thesaurus is not helping because I'm not looking specifically for synonyms of "start". I want a phrase ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Phrase for a problem that seems impossible, but actually has a simple and obvious solution?

Daniel M. Russell poses what he claims is a deceptively simple brain teaser in his blog: What short 4-word idiomatic phrase (in English) captures [the] idea of a problem that seems impossible, ...
5
votes
5answers
315 views

Looking for words or phrases to fit the idea of this form of hierarchy

I'm using text as follows to categorize some information. It goes from the general to the specific much as is done in libraries with books. languages/english/spelling science/biology/genetics What ...
0
votes
3answers
856 views

Is this slogan proper English? [closed]

We are a group of web developers, creating our online presence ... We chose this slogan, "Web passionate young powers at your service" Is this proper English? Does this hold any "contempt" ...
4
votes
2answers
495 views

liking/disliking people or choosing friends. Freedom of …?

I want to tell my old brother that he should give the freedom for his son to be friends with, like or dislike, whoever he wants to. What freedom is that? Is there one word/expression that I could ...