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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2answers
164 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
374 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
506 views

How to convey to someone that food is losing heat?

The story is that I want someone to come earlier to the dining table as food is hot now but in ten minutes it would not be. How in American English can I say to someone to come early, as food on the ...
52
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an English phrase for an inability to actually *leave* already?

There is a Hungarian expression, küszöbgörcs, which literally means "threshold-cramp", and is used to describe that long conversation you have in the entryway, with all the guests awkwardly holding ...
3
votes
3answers
409 views

What is the word or phrase of the relationship between an account and a bank?

I am looking to describe the relationship between a bank account (such as a checking account, a loan, etc.) to a bank or other financial institution. Right now, I am using is conducted by, as in ...
2
votes
2answers
321 views

what's the phrase for “I don't want to be reliant on someone else”

I remember that there is a phrase with the word whims that goes about like this: "I don't want to be reliant on someone else" Does anyone know what that phrase is?
10
votes
12answers
15k views

What's a more professional term than 'blow your mind'?

I'm looking for a phrase that describes the experience of limits, preconceptions and world-views being challenged, exceeded and revised. I convey this if I say something "blew my mind", but there is a ...
6
votes
5answers
10k views

Phrase for asking the obvious

In my language when a question is asking something really obvious we are using a phrase that if translated means: What is making a "meow meow" sound on the roof/rooftop? Is there an equivalent ...
2
votes
3answers
221 views

What should I call this kind of animation?

On opening this link you will see a car that has a kind of glowing bulb on it. I am talking to my client and we both are not good in English. I have to find this kind of animation from a search ...
7
votes
9answers
3k views

Is there an English word meaning “snacks eaten as an accompaniment while drinking alcohol”?

I'm currently travelling in Korea and Japan and learned that both languages have words specifically for snacks that accompany alcoholic drinks, or at least go with beer and spirits such as sake or ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man”

I'd like to find some gender-neutral equivalents of the phrase Take it like a man I'm not looking only for existing phrases -- any interesting ideas for expressing the sentiment "be tough", ...
17
votes
10answers
2k views

What is a synonym for “superstition” but without the negative connotation?

In my native language (Latvian) there is a word that denotes a superstition, but in a more positive way, somehow. It’s hard to explain, so let me give some examples: If you swing on the swings a ...
3
votes
2answers
279 views

What is a concise word or phrasing for “in a context without a user”?

I'm looking for a concise word or phrasing for "in a context without a user"? This is obviously in the context of software. More generally, what is a concise way of saying, "in a context without X ...
5
votes
3answers
646 views

Better phrase for “taking care of one's responsbilities”

I am constantly talking to my kids about taking care of their responsibilities. Sometimes, in the heat of an emotional lecturing, I shorten it to "meet your responsibilites," in the sense that one can ...
2
votes
3answers
551 views

What is a symbol [an expression or idiom] for a word of great length in English?

Is there any symbol [expression, figure of speech, metaphor] for something long in length in English? for example, in Persian we say for a long word: "the letters are set like train" train ...
0
votes
4answers
300 views

“Question and Answers” equivalent when it's not a question

There is a common phrase, "Questions and Answers", also known as Q&A. If you have a viewpoint. opinion, idea, statement, or a thought etc., what phrase would represent it and the response the ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Equivalents for “She's got a lovely singing voice”

She's got a lovely singing voice. I'm sure they're a lot of other ways to say someone's singing voice is good. How do you restate the above sentence? I'm looking for any equivalent sentences ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

What's earlier than an early bird?

The term early bird is well known. What's a similarly well known thing that is earlier than an early bird? Edit: the worm, of course! But I'm particularly looking for an improvement on the bird, ...
1
vote
7answers
3k views

British and American slang words for immigrants?

What slang words or phrases do British/American English speakers use for (poor) immigrants?
8
votes
6answers
907 views

Is there an aphorism for doing a self-defeating act?

Is there a witty turn of phrase that indicates one's performing an act that, in its doing, undermines, contravenes, or obviates itself? This question relates to a similar idea, but I have it in my ...
19
votes
6answers
8k views

What do you call those divisions of a book bigger than a paragraph but smaller than a chapter?

In printed books, or at least in novels, there are often major breaks within a chapter more important than paragraphs. Often they are separated by a greater amount of whitespace than paragraphs and ...
9
votes
7answers
718 views

What is the word for when members of the same group attack each other?

I've noticed this in a few South Park episodes, so that's what I'd like to give an example from. I'm sure other artists have depicted something similar. Note that I'm not necessarily agreeing with ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Answer to “enjoy your meal”

When you're having lunch and you see someone he can say "enjoy your meal", "bon appétit" or "enjoy". I can answer him by saying "thank you", for instance. But for example in Spanish we usually say a ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it okay to say “Yes, we do” in answer to “Are you having a good time?”

How to correctly answer the question "Are you having a good time?" Imagine a parent coming into a room, in which his 12-year-old son is having his birthday party with his classmates. Kids are really ...
2
votes
5answers
6k views

A suitable equivalent for the phrase 'give glad tidings'

Can anybody give me any suitable equivalents for the phrase 'Give glad tidings' as in the example ' Give glad tidings to those who strive - they always get the best results.'
5
votes
5answers
3k views

What word or phrase describes pulling a fish out of water?

What would be the fishing word or phrase that describes pulling a fish out of water?
5
votes
7answers
4k views

Words to describe something that does not reach your expectations for it

Which word(s) would you use in a situation such as the one below, to make the sentence sound logical, natural and complete? You told me we were going to a nice park. We've spent almost two hours ...
2
votes
3answers
225 views

Is “revert the damage” possible? If yes, is it too official?

Can "revert damage inflicted" be used in a letter to a friend? Would it sound too official? If yes, what phrase would you use instead of the high-lightened one below? Not only did he type all ...
7
votes
3answers
24k views

Is there a version of brunch for a meal between dinner and lunch?

Brunch has become quite a common word in the English language. Is there a similar word for a meal in place of dinner and lunch? (A phrase will also do).
2
votes
6answers
339 views

How would you name this phenomenon? (about presidents' popularity drop)

Whenever a new president comes, he is always more popular in the beginning than at the end of his term. No matter how good he is and how successful he has been, there will always be more ...
15
votes
12answers
33k views

What is the English word closest to Japanese “Ganbatte,” the word for encouraging people who are in disaster, or challenging a severe ordeal?

In Japan, after experiencing the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, “Ganbatte” which contains all sense of “Cheer up, Bear up, Keep your chin up, Be courageous, Do your best” became the password of ...
3
votes
10answers
4k views

Better way to indicate “a large amount of ”

A Wikipedia article tells us that: A problem is regarded as inherently difficult if solving the problem requires a large amount of resources, whatever the algorithm used for solving it. What is ...
3
votes
8answers
1k views

What's the more appropriate substitution for “give a f**k/d**n/s**t”

I want a more appropriate phrase that has the same form ("give a **") and meaning as the offensive "give a f**k/d**n/s**t". Is there any?
10
votes
15answers
559 views

Is there a pejorative alternative to “improvise”?

I'm looking for a word or phrase that implies improvisation in a negative context. "Jury rigging" comes to mind, but I'm in need of a term that can't be mistaken as anything but pejorative. The ...
1
vote
2answers
475 views

Is there a phrase for “the first thing I want to see in the morning as I wake up”?

Is there a phrase for "the first thing I want to see in the morning as I wake up"?
4
votes
4answers
119 views

Changing “abroad on permanent accommodation” to sound better

Is it correct to say "to go abroad on permanent accommodation"? It doesn't sound right to me. What's the right way to say that? My pupil has written "some people go abroad on permanent ...
6
votes
5answers
488 views

Short phrase for “things I did (wrote, drew, created, etc) when I was younger”?

What's a one or two word phrase that conveys the meaning "These are some things that I did when I was younger."? The context is a blog that features Writings, Photography, and Artwork. The short ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What's an adjective to describe the type of writing found in essays?

You might say that writing found in literature is literary; language like that found in poetry is poetic. What do you call writing found in essays, or writing like that found in essays? (Not ...
8
votes
8answers
25k views

What are the metaphorical ways to say that someone has died? [closed]

What are the metaphorical ways to say that someone has died? For example "He has gone to the far country where he will be happy for ages". P.S. There is this question, but it focuses on mentioning ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to say I may mislead you again?

How to say I may mislead you again: because of my poor English, in a good manner the responsibility is mine (no need to speak out, just let she surely know this). i.e., I'm afraid of my poor ...
7
votes
7answers
4k views

Another phrase for “dealing with people you wouldn't normally want to deal with but you do”

Has anyone got a nice phrase for "dealing with people you wouldn't normally want to deal with but you do because they perform a function that you would not want to do or are not able to do"? I have ...
5
votes
13answers
12k views

Synonym for “pissed off”

Can anyone help me find a little bit more polite way to say "I am pissed off at you"? I know this is used to show anger or irritation, but this is bit harsh. So, do you have any other option?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Passed all exams in the first term”?

How can I say in English that students have passed all of their exams in the shortest period, that is, the first time exams were scheduled (only the first examination term was used)?
2
votes
5answers
3k views

What's the opposite of “Rest In Peace”? [closed]

If you want to express hate about someone that passed away, how would you say that?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

More eloquent word or phrase [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is a less offensive synonym for “retarded”? Can anyone please furnish me with a word, or short phrase, that would eloquently describe a person who has ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Can anyone tell me the word or phrase that means 'someone who things are done to'? [closed]

I am looking for a word or phrase for someone who has things done to them and someone who does things to people. I.e. someone with no power and someone who has all the power. Would be really ...
1
vote
2answers
239 views

Names for automatic machines' programs

A machine can be programmed, and different programs can be chosen for different tasks. One such task may be to initialise the machine, while the main purpose of the machine is to manufacture ...
1
vote
4answers
592 views

Expression for “medium difficult”?

In my game, I have three levels of difficulty, each represented by an icon. Of course, each level is also indicated by a word; the icons are there just to spice things up, and as a visual pun. Easy ...
6
votes
10answers
2k views

What would you (negatively) call a person who insists on repaying even a small amount of money?

Let's say you paid for a friend's bus ride, and he insists on paying you back rather than just let it be and stop worrying about it. You even find it rude on his part that he won't just forget about ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

How to name a 15-minute period?

In Dutch, we have the word "kwartier" to denote a 15-minute period. It is derived from the word "kwart", which means quarter. It is very common to use this word in both spoken and written language. ...