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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1
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3answers
2k views

Is describing someone as “higher-educated” awkward?

I’m updating my résumé and would like to convey in a condensed manner the fact that I have a Masters degree in a particular branch of the humanities (politics and society of the Middle East, but ...
1
vote
3answers
330 views

Better way to say “repeat sequentially”

I'm trying to say "it counts the number of times a given value repeats sequentially" in a list, meaning it finds the maximum number of times a value occurs in a row in a list. I know there's a word ...
35
votes
13answers
130k views

More formal way of saying: “Sorry to bug you again about this, but …”

I was wondering if there was a more formal and polite way of saying: Sorry to bug you again about this, but we still have not received a response about X .... (if we still have not received any ...
31
votes
5answers
16k views

Replacement for “God forbid”

I wanted to use the phrase "God forbid" the other day, but really wanted to avoid the religious connotations that may come along with it. I was stumped while thinking of a replacement or variation. I ...
2
votes
3answers
284 views

What is the practice of pricing goods at numbers such as 3.95, 69.90, 198 called? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the term for pricing items just below a significant value (e.g. $19,995) It is common on price tags to use $3.95 instead of $4.00 to make items appear cheaper. ...
2
votes
2answers
628 views

A concise term for staking territorial claims

I'm looking for a word or phrase specifically used to refer to the act of placing a flag to claim new territory. I'm specifically referring to claiming land in the name of some sovereign, though a ...
3
votes
7answers
889 views

Expression for advantages of solution being disadvantages of alternatives

Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?
1
vote
6answers
3k views

Common antonyms to “happy ending”?

I know you may specify to something like tragic, open end to describe actually what the end is like. But do English critics/reviewer in movie magazines use a common term for movies with bad/evil ...
2
votes
4answers
697 views

Meaning of “rallying call”

I searched for an English translation of the German term Durchhalteparole, meaning to appeal to a group of followers to hold out (especially in politics), but having the connotation of being a ...
73
votes
28answers
10k views

Is there an American English equivalent of the British idiom “carrying coals to Newcastle”?

I'm an American living in the Netherlands who is learning Dutch. There's an idiom in Dutch that describes performing a needless/futile activity, "water naar de zee dragen," which literally translates ...
1
vote
2answers
210 views

Term for someone who calls herself negative things that are not true

What is the correct term for someone who usually says negative things about herself (that she is fat,ugly or dumb) even though she knows that she is not?
6
votes
8answers
1k views

Express an ability not to do something

How would I express my ability not to do something? "I cannot dig" means that I definitely cannot dig. But how do I express my ability not to dig? The first thing that comes to my mind is "I am able ...
0
votes
1answer
187 views

Equivalent for “at the heart of our society” [closed]

I want to say "XXX is at the heart of our society," but I feel it's such a cliche! Any suggestions for a somewhat equivalent sentence?
3
votes
10answers
4k views

Is there an expression for creating something from start to finish (e.g. grain to bread)

Maybe this is not really the right place to ask this, I hope I will not be penalized for asking this. I am a webdeveloper, and I do most of the stuff myself, from the basic idea, till the final ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the “superlative” way of expressing “thank you”

On rare occasions, you are in a situation where a simple Thank You seems like you're undermining the other person's help. You know, instances where you are too grateful to express your feelings of ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

A word or phrase for something that seems modern but comes surprisingly from the past?

A few examples of this "future in the past" phenomenon: SR-71 Blackbird aircraft (1964). Douglas C. Engelbart's "Mother of All Demos" (1968). World's Fair: Columbian Exposition (1893). ...
9
votes
6answers
14k views

What is the word/phrase for someone between expert and novice?

I come across various people within my field (software developer) and people who are related to my field (the marketing/business people). Many a time when I want to opine or express my ...
4
votes
8answers
60k views

Other ways to say “I'm rooting for you?”

What are other ways one can say that have the same meaning as, "I'm rooting for you?"
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What do you call a slip of the tongue in writing?

Is there any phrase or word that can be used to describe a slip of the tongue that happens in writing? Calling it a slip of tongue directly feels awkward, especially when the written text is never ...
-4
votes
1answer
613 views

Word to describe pushing a chair under a table

Is there a word or a short phrase to describe the action of pushing a chair under a table?
1
vote
3answers
647 views

Phrases similar to “what would you do?”

I'm looking for common phrases similar to "What would you do?" I'd like any phrase that signifies the call to action to make a difficult hypothetical decision. For example, "Take your pick" is a ...
1
vote
6answers
2k views

What is an expression, phrase, or word that describes service being fast?

Basically, I want to say this: I went to that place for brunch with my girlfriend last weekend, the service was pretty fast, and the food was good too. I want to say that the service was good in ...
-4
votes
2answers
3k views

Alternative idioms to “to put the whole matter into a nutshell”?

I need some alternatives to introduce summarization on the final paragraph of non-technical chapters or longer blog articles. Known terms like summary often sound a bit technical to me...
2
votes
2answers
676 views

Alternative phrase/term for 'middle men'

I head up a support team. In some situations I refer to some issues where support act as 'middle men' between the clients and the developers. This seems sexist (females in the team), but I cannot ...
2
votes
2answers
928 views

What is the proper name of a “line account”?

I've come across having to translate the Danish word "stregregnskab" to English. The direct translation would be "line account", but I seem to recall there being a proper name for this sort of ...
2
votes
1answer
273 views

Phrase that means “untranslated, in its original language”

I'm looking for a phrase that will allow me to say things like this: Having learned English allowed me to read more books [in their original language].
0
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it 'buy-in to', 'buy into', or 'buy in to' in the following sentence

"I don't understand why people <insert words here> products that have a reputation of hardware failures." What is the correct way to form this sentence?
2
votes
3answers
393 views

To clarify a murky concept without explaining completely

Some concepts are just too difficult to be fully understood. Take for example the multivariate causes of the recent recession: who among us can honestly say that he or she grasps the situation ...
2
votes
3answers
501 views

Word or phrase for the state in the morning after drunkenness

I am looking for the (slang) phrase or equivalent of the word drunkenness which contains the word dog. I mean the state of someone in the morning after the hard drunkenness.
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Equivalent of “Man up” for a female [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man” Does this make sense? For instance: "John, just man up and get on with it". You can't say this to a ...
26
votes
14answers
22k views

What is a word/idiom for 'unable to decide'?

Let's say I have an important decision to make and I can't decide between two competing things (like break up with a girl or not break up with her). What would be a word/idiom to express that?
-2
votes
2answers
444 views

Is there a technical term for what creationists call “macroevolution”? [closed]

The term macroevolution is often abused (see the section "Misuse" in the Wikipedia article) by creationists who are referencing the Biblical concept of immutable "kinds" of animals. Is there a word ...
4
votes
3answers
451 views

What does “it tastes like horspy” mean?

I heard an expression today but I did not know how it is written or what it is. And I could not find it with Google. It's something like: it tastes like horspy Any pointers?
2
votes
4answers
445 views

Synonym or short phrase for 'entablature'

I am not sure if this word has multiple meanings, but I am using it in an architectural context. Classical orders have distinctive columns with distinctive capitals. However, when I say each style ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Word, idiom or expression to describe feeling full (after eating)

For example: I like how you conveniently informed us after most of us had eaten already and we are [feeling full]. The phrase in brackets sounds unnatural to me. Would you suggest how to ...
4
votes
3answers
395 views

“The me of the past”

When talking about one's self in the past, is "the me of the past" grammatically correct? I'm trying to make a sentence like this: The me of the past who was popular with girls, I'm jealous of ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

The phrase “were strong from”

I want to make a sentence like the following: His arms were strong from lifting weights. I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct though. When I googled "were strong from" only 3 pages came ...
3
votes
4answers
579 views

What expression ironically says that something new is better or improved?

In French, we have the Expression X lave plus blanc which translates word for word as X washes whiter. It comes from old TV advertisements where it was the typical argument to show that a new laundry ...
1
vote
5answers
391 views

Is this phrase “now processing..don't terminate this program” correct? [closed]

I'm developing an application in English, but I'm not a native English speaker, so it's hard to put some English phrases in my app. The following message will appear when my program is processing, so ...
2
votes
3answers
97 views

A Semi-Independent Chapter (of an organization)

I have a chapter of an organization that would like to position itself as less strongly affiliated with the parent organization. They want to be under the umbrella but not as consolidated as full ...
3
votes
5answers
345 views

A term for a “clean” win

I'm looking for a sports-related term in English, that means that one side had won without the other side having scored a single point, e.g. 1:0 or 5:0. Is it "a clean win", or does a clean win mean ...
2
votes
1answer
376 views

Need alternative to “brave smile”

I need to describe someone giving "a brave smile" (for the benefit of others) but that phrase is such a cliche. Is there an alternative that means the same? S.
3
votes
5answers
3k views

“What were you thinking…”

I want to ask about what emotion motivated someone to do something. Can the phrase "what were you thinking when you..." be used for this? It seems kind of unnatural to ask, "what were you feeling when ...
16
votes
12answers
28k views

Is there a term to describe speech that has a hidden meaning but is not sarcastic?

I want to describe how someone is saying something but hidden behind their words they are blaming the person they are talking to. It's kind of like sarcasm but not quite as strong. With sarcasm the ...
2
votes
3answers
313 views

Phrase about movie stars

Is there a phrase about those movie stars who are just good-looking but mediocre acting and those maybe not so good-looking (compare with those good-looking ones) but amazing skilled acting movie ...
0
votes
5answers
492 views

What's a short phrase meaning “visited and ascended” (e.g. a tower)?

Is there a short and clear word or phrase, that is not pretentious-sounding, meaning "visited and ascended", as in buildings, e.g. Bert visited the lobby of Empire State Building, but Ernie went up to ...
1
vote
7answers
31k views

What is the expression to suggest a few dates and times to meet?

Let's say a friend of mine tells me the following: Nice! Let’s meet up for a drink this week. And I want to say, "Sure let's do it. I will propose a few ..., and you tell me if either of them ...
0
votes
1answer
161 views

“Had changed destiny”

I want to write something that means the same thing as "had changed destiny." I was going to use those words, but something didn't seem right. I googled that phrase, and came up with only one thing. ...
1
vote
2answers
162 views

word/phrase for initial set of data or givens

I'm searching for a neutral phrase that conveys the concept of the initial condition/situation/position/set of givens or factors impacting an outcome. For example, the idea of a 'headstart' conveys an ...
2
votes
2answers
358 views

A word for “to be completely invisible except to those who have been chosen”

I have searched everywhere, but I cannot find a word or two words that define the following: To be completely invisible except to those who have been chosen. Basically, I am in search of a word ...