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
292 views

A rude equivalent to a “TV box” term

I am looking for an American English term for a "TV box" as a source of zombification and brain killing. Maybe "boob tube" is the right one? The shorter, the better.
3
votes
1answer
458 views

Request for an idiom (if any) or an expression that describes the following phenomenon

I've been doing some data mining experiments, and something really weird happened one hour ago in the experiment result, and just now something similarly weird happened again. I'm trying to think of ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Term for pleasure or joy obtained on top of others' misery or unhappiness [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: An idiom for deriving pleasure from another's suffering We often experience the following: We feel happy when our fellow classmates get a bad grade and not ...
1
vote
1answer
768 views

Is “by personal circumstances” correct?

I want to say that I can't help to do something because I have some personal needs. Is this a correct sentence? I can't help you by personal circumstances
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you call a person who doesn't pay attention to the principles of ergonomics?

How do you say that a person does not pay attention to ergonomics (like at a computer) in a concise way? Options I've come up with include: He does not use ergonomics. He does not follow ...
7
votes
12answers
906 views

Word, phrase, or idiom for minor, annoying, but ignored breakage

My purpose, if it matters, is to help in creating a "short title" as a metaphor for a policy proposal at work. For reasons of cost or convenience, some people ignore small parts that are broken. For ...
3
votes
5answers
4k views

Any other way of saying “blah blah blah”

You might say "blah blah blah" when you're not interested in what'd be said. I sometimes say "whatever" to convey the same idea, which does not share the nice rhythm effect of "blah blah blah". As a ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

A word for the feeling of falling

What is the word used to describe that feeling you occasionally get while falling? If you don't know the feeling, it feels like the midsection of your gut is becoming numb and is trying to escape out ...
11
votes
12answers
3k views

Is there a word to describe the situation where you call someone and hang up so they call you back?

Is there a word to describe the situation where you call someone and hang up so they call you back? The purpose of this is usually so that they get the calling charges. I was thinking it's kind of ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Word/phrase for parent whose children have grown up and left home [closed]

Is there a single word or phrase that means a parent whose grown-up children are not living with them?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What are representative examples of exaggerated simile like “I never in a million years thought I’d see this.”?

I found the expression, “I never in a million years thought I’d see this,” in the New York Times’ article (November 9) commenting on pedophiliac harassment scandals of Penn State under the headline, ...
7
votes
7answers
301 views

Is there a concise word or phrase for the action you perform on an option to remove the others?

Say someone is holding a number of items in front of you. What would you call the action you request that they perform to remove all choices but one so that you can examine the item that is left? It ...
2
votes
1answer
410 views

What is the name of a pick-up-sticks or jackstraws pile?

Is there a specific name (a single word or phrase) for the pile, heap, nest, clump, cluster, configuration, stack or arrangement of sticks or shapes used in pick-up-sticks or jackstraws, when piled up ...
21
votes
9answers
18k views

Antonym of “highlight”

What's the opposite of highlight? I don't mean the verb to highlight or to emphasize something, so downplay isn't an option. Instead I'm looking for the opposite of "the highlight of the movie, ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Is there a phrase to describe two people who love each other, but are too afraid to show it?

"Unrequited love" is usually when one person loves another, but keeps it a secret because it is not reciprocated. Is there a phrase to describe a two-way unrequited love? For example, where two ...
6
votes
5answers
874 views

Is there a word better than “exotic” to describe languages that are little known and little studied but have many speakers?

I'm looking for a word to describe languages which are not easy to study or find books about in Western Europe or North America. On example language, which I'm currently immersed in, is Georgian, ...
26
votes
17answers
18k views

Word/phrase to mean something that just happens once

What is the word/phrase to mean something that just happens once? For example, I have often been told/expected to do this and not to do that. I become aimless and gradually lose the idea of who ...
12
votes
9answers
215k views

Any other good way of saying “Happy Birthday”?

Quite a few of my friends are having their birthdays in the coming weeks. I feel a little awkward posting plain words like "Happy Birthday" on their Facebook pages. I've decided I should come up with ...
2
votes
3answers
381 views

Is “at a time” correct?

I would like to find a way to express the meaning of "at some time". For example: I think everyone has his study or working rhythm at a time. This rhythm varies for different person, and may be ...
4
votes
2answers
323 views

What is the name of combination, in error, of similar or related words? (E.g.: segueway)

Is there a technical term for combination, in error, of similar or related words? This question is prompted by the following malapropism or solecism, from an article by Elizabeth Montalbano in ...
4
votes
3answers
313 views

What's a good term/phrase for things of a specific branch everybody should know?

There are a lot of questions on SE asking what a professional in a specific branch should/has to know? What are common short terms/phrases one can use for tagging/searching such ...
1
vote
4answers
403 views

Is “Technical skills precisely” appropriate for a list of specific technical knowledge on résumé

If I am going to put the list of specific technical knowledge on a résumé, is it appropriate to use the term "Technical skills precisely", or is there a more appropriate term to use?
4
votes
2answers
518 views

Is there a single word to describe a combination of a projected video and a live stage performance?

We're developing an entertainment module for a conclave. The format agreed upon is this: an audiovisual is projected on the screen, but is punctuated by live performances on the stage. For example, a ...
4
votes
3answers
234 views

Possibilities to combine “drop-dead” with an adjective

What adjectives can you combine with drop-dead to emphasize? There's drop-dead gorgeous, can you also combine others like "nice" and "simple"?
2
votes
4answers
259 views

Is there an idiom for “can take truth unprettified whatever it is”?

Here's the scenario: I screwed something and that caused some real harm. Now another person could just tell me, “Dude, you screwed X and this caused this and this harm," but instead he will try to be ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

How to abbreviate “and other things”?

Which short phrase or abbreviation could I use here to mean and other things? The medulla oblongata controls respiration and cardiovascular rhythm ____. Etc. would not fit as it carries the ...
1
vote
6answers
804 views

A word meaning the opposite action of recruiting

If I was starting a club for cool kids only, I would recruit all the cool kids by, for example, actively seeking them out and convincing them to join the club. To keep the uncool kids out of my club, ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Word or phrase for clumsy, inaccurate expression

I'm seeking a word or phrase useful for referring to a bad sentence which clumsily, inaccurately and ambiguously attempts to express an idea or concept. Bad-sentence example: "We do a ...
2
votes
4answers
158 views

“Seek his benefit at the expense of yours”. How to say that properly?

I want to say that if someone truly loved you, he would not seek his benefit at the expense of yours. How can I say that better than I did in the title of this question?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Pot calling the kettle black” … but what if the kettle isn't black (figuratively speaking)?

The pot calling the kettle black is a well accepted idiom in English, and has many equivalents in other languages. But there are some occasions when this phrase is not quite appropriate. When one ...
6
votes
4answers
444 views

What's the term when you ask a question which implies a lie?

I remember there was a thread here on English.SE this month where someone explained this, but I can't remember how it was called. An example: Where have you stolen this product? This question ...
21
votes
8answers
1k views

What is a better way to name “The Wrong Question”?

On StackOverflow.com I often find that people ask questions about problems that arise due to poor design choices (typically due to a lack of knowledge about the particular programming language). For ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Term for emergent system with its own logical rules/laws?

Eigenlogik in German means that a subsystem has its own set of rules determining its phenomenological behavior. E.g. in sociology, a social group of humans shows a group behavior based on rules/laws ...
5
votes
7answers
5k views

What would you call a person who doesn't like questions being asked of them?

My sister says I ask too many questions, such as "What have you been up to lately?" She is the only person who says that. What do you call a person who doesn't like questions being asked?
4
votes
3answers
884 views

What term is most appropriate when describing the infinite space of possibilities created through inductive reasoning?

In arguments contrasting the differences between deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning, it is often pointed out that deductive reasoning is, by definition, bounded by the terms described in the ...
0
votes
2answers
165 views

Is it a fashion to omit “is” as in “this a problem that can seem unanswerable.”?

I often see cases that a verb and a preposition are omitted as I posted a question the other day about the omission of “in” in the line, “Perry has had have difficulty planting doubt about Romney.” ...
4
votes
4answers
16k views

Another way to say “fulfill your dream”

What's another phrase or metaphor that means "to fulfill your dream" or "make your dreams a reality?"
4
votes
5answers
13k views

Alternative colloquialism for “Best of both worlds”?

I'm looking for a phrase that means the same thing as "best of both worlds", except isn't so overused. I'm looking for the semantics to remain intact; for example, "Awesome!!" would not be an ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What's a good opposite of “keep track”? [closed]

How can I say the opposite of "keep track"? I was trying to keep track of something but something happened and I lost the track. I'd like to say "lose track". Is it possible to say it this way or is ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Were there any other synonyms to “sustainability” before the 80s?

The German word for sustainability, Nachhaltigkeit, arose (according to Wiktionary) in the 18th century. Ngrams shows this. I was wondering if the concept of sustainability did not exist before ...
23
votes
12answers
2k views

Expression that means something like “killing the sheep to keep them from being kidnapped”

I'm looking for an expression that conveys an excessive risk management approach that ends up having a worse effect than what it is trying to protect against.
1
vote
2answers
916 views

Is it correct to say 'Do one thing' when asking somebody to do something?

In Indian English, sometimes we say things like this: 'Do one thing. Take a left turn there'. Basically, I am asking somebody to do something, which comes in following sentence. What's the better way ...
1
vote
7answers
10k views

A phrase like “Good effort!”

Does the phrase "good effort" imply failure? Like, even though you failed, it's good that you gave it your best shot? I'm looking for a phrase like "good effort" that does not imply failure. It would ...
14
votes
12answers
6k views

What's an idiom for doing something in an unnecessarily complicated way?

For an example, I'll quote C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: One day the cat got into the dairy and twenty of them were at work moving all the milk out; no one thought of moving the cat. ...
6
votes
6answers
417 views

“Not hindered with any knowledge”

In Dutch we use the translated equivalent of not hindered with any knowledge to indicate somebody without any knowledge on the subject. It is not necessarily negative. It can mean that somebody is ...
3
votes
3answers
42k views

Alternative word of extensive/broader experience

I usually see "I have extensive experience" or "I have broader experience" in resume. I want to know an alternative way to express that "I have much experience and great knowledge in something"
6
votes
6answers
10k views

Alternatives to “Constructive Criticism”

I'm a big fan of constructive criticism, but I'm afraid that the term has become a cliche - or even a buzzword! What are some good synonyms for it?
0
votes
6answers
1k views

Alternatives to the term “crash course”

I am trying to find alternatives to the term crash course, in reference to a training session that intends to get you started with a topic quickly.
0
votes
2answers
192 views

Can I say “Draw a triangle around the strawberry”?

Can I say "Draw a triangle around the strawberry" when I want someone who is reading a book, in which there is a picture of a strawberry, to draw a triangle in that book in such a way that the ...
7
votes
9answers
19k views

What is an idiom/slang for “someone who pretends to be good when they're not”?

This is not from real life, but from a movie on my local TV. A character in the movie is really bad, but when she talks with others, she pretends to be an innocent/ good woman. I want to know how to ...