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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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
923 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
574 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
788 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
140 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
1k 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
285 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
311 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
6answers
5k 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
15k 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
681 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
712 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
400 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
585 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
3answers
2k 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
332 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 ...
21
votes
15answers
7k views

What do you call someone who exploits people and their confidence using ‘clever speech’? [closed]

I am referring to someone who makes people ‘buy’ what he says and gets things done by them through nothing but clever speech – something one can describe as crafty or beguiling, but not fraudulent. I ...
4
votes
3answers
423 views

What would be a good idiom for this?

In Hebrew there is an idiom that translates to English like this: "To go without and to feel with". The usual meaning is that one doesn't have some object or ability but is nevertheless is able to act ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Idiom for “The solution for the problem is the cause itself”

Is there an idiom or phrase which means: The solution for the problem is the cause itself. I was thinking of Use the snake to suck out the venom which, I'm unsure, is a valid phrase.
2
votes
3answers
810 views

More concise words for “Ask for help and learn from others”

I’m looking to summarize an idea into as few words as possible — to make it as concise as possible. The idea is to ask others for help (putting ego aside), value others’ input, listen to others, learn ...
4
votes
3answers
699 views

Alternate ways to say someone is grumpy

My manager is a pretty moody woman. Whenever she feels annoyed or doesn't like what you are doing, she would show her displeasure on her face right away. By reading her face, you would know ...
4
votes
3answers
892 views

Word meaning: “to make one reconsider”

I am looking for a one-word synonym (or short phrase) meaning "to make one reconsider" or "to make one rethink". This would be used in the context of explaining how an event makes one step back and ...
0
votes
2answers
569 views

“Become acquainted”, “be connected” with the connotation of “take the initiative”

Would the following sentence be idiomatic and correct? At the conference, she became acquainted with more than 20 scholars, exhibiting excellent networking skills. I was thinking saying ...
3
votes
0answers
183 views

How is she to describe how she likes him, when he doesn't know? [closed]

There's a friend of mine—let's call her Lily—and a guy—David. Lily told me that she feels very happy each time she meets, talks, plays games, dines (and so on) with David. I guess she's falling in ...
6
votes
2answers
205 views

More accurate synonyms than “Mayan apocalypse”

When describing this announcement by Australia's Prime Minister on an language learning website, the best term I could come up with was "Mayan apocalypse". It felt a little inaccurate, as it's neither ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Phrase which describes falsely improving something

Is there an aphorism or proverb in English which describes attempting to improve something fundamentally flawed by dressing it with a lot of ornament?
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

What are words that use to mean due date and cut date of a credit card? [closed]

Let's say my due date is on 15 of every month and the bank summarize my spending I made on 1 of everyone. For example, I have to pay all expense I made from January 2, 2012 to February 1 2012 on ...
7
votes
7answers
446 views

What's the best term for “geographical level”?

I'm creating an interface where users can choose which geographical level to report on. I.e., they're choosing between "Country", "State", and "City". Is there a better term than "level" to describe ...
6
votes
7answers
948 views

Does the idiom “stop shooting the ball to my opponent” make sense?

Getting into a fight with someone, I think the other person is accusing me of being the wrong one and is trying to show that everything that has happened is my fault. Stop shooting the ball to my ...
2
votes
3answers
151 views

What is a good word to mean the inverse of debounce

The word debounce can be used in a metaphorical sense to take a series of signals, take action on the first one and then ignore any subsequent ones within a certain period of time. What I'm looking ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there an idiom about wasting money and a window?

Is there an equivalent to the french idiom Jeter l'argent par la fenêtre which means throwing money through a window? (I'm not sure about the translation, especially through.)
8
votes
2answers
194 views

Non-union-affiliated shop steward

I'm looking for an English word or short phrase to convey a meaning which is similar to “union representative” or “shop steward”, except that the person in question is not (necessarily) associated ...
-1
votes
3answers
12k views

Correct way of saying a decision has been made [closed]

What is the correct way of saying "decision has been made on a paper"? I review papers submitted by officials. Is it OK to say it like this? This paper has already been decision by Sam Rick. I ...
1
vote
4answers
361 views

Phrase Request: Bank account statement, name for payee/charger

I'm trying to think of the appropriate word for someone that charges you or that you pay. If you have a bank statement, what would you name the column that contains the name of people you paid money ...
1
vote
4answers
685 views

phrase to mean “giving the exact answer” [closed]

I was having a coversation and part of the conversation, the person asked me which part of the world I was from, and I answered him exactly "the western hemisphere". Then I asked him the same question ...
-1
votes
2answers
505 views

What could be the correct idiom for expressing that someone is baking up false allegations without evidence?

Are "barking up the wrong bush" or "sailing on the wings of imagination" close?
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Name for title used before a name for phonetic or rhythmic reasons

Often, when people are announced or mentioned in the news, their name is prefixed by a title that gives rhythm and balance to the sound of their name. For example, we sometimes hear "Libyan strongman ...
4
votes
3answers
169 views

Correct words for transitional and non-transitional

I'm trying to explain two different ways of doing something and can't remember the correct words. I have a stock room full of items Way 1: Every week count how many of each item there are, ...
3
votes
3answers
246 views

How do you describe a test that puts you in one of a number of grades (specifying the grade)?

If a test puts you in a particular grade (result), how is it described? For example, "Five tier graded test"? The test might be a language test and the results might be A, B, C, D, E. Please note ...