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
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
2k 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
530 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
146 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
398 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
429 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
80 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
259 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
131k 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
819 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
1k 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
582 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
227 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
333 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
840 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
600 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
26k 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
246 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
238 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
987 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
318 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
12k 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
7k 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
661 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
4k 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
8k 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
20k 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
259 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
45k 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
15k 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
4k 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
2k 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
689 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
171 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
2k 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 ...