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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
0answers
18 views

Word for the feeling which comes when you realize that it was just a dream [closed]

What is the term we use for the feeling which comes when you realize that it was just a sweet dream?
29
votes
14answers
8k views

What is it called when something appears so obvious, no one expects it?

I honestly can not think of any examples that cannot be countered. Perhaps something like if a person brought a weapon out in the open to an airport - no one actually thinks it would be a weapon ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

“Country” is to “compatriot” as “species” is to what?

I was about to write the following sentence: I actually have some young seedlings of this species. It will be interesting to compare them to their older ...? Is there a word for something that ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Another way of saying “in the form of…” [closed]

"This dissertation is in the form of a literature review..." - PLEASE, tell me another way to say this!
7
votes
5answers
298 views

A laudatory expression for an expert in grammar

All too often, 19th century scholars who wrote volumes on English grammar are today accused of being pedantic; persnickety; puritanical; prescriptivist poppycock grammarians. And that's on a good day. ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Better way to say keyboard/mouse combo

I'm looking for a better way to describe a keyboard and mouse that go together, as part of a set. They might just match aesthetically, or they could share the same USB dongle. Right now I just call it ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

How do you describe when a myth causes people to assume that something real is also a myth?

Is there a word or phrase for when something real is thought to be mythical because it resembles or is related to a known myth? For example, the myth of unicorns makes many people think that narwhals ...
5
votes
6answers
780 views

What do you call someone who is always complaining after getting what they want? [duplicate]

What do you call someone when they're always asking for something, and then is dissatisfied after getting exactly what they ask for?
1
vote
3answers
77 views

What's an English idiom for “you can't observe without disturbing” that won't run afoul of scientists? [duplicate]

We typically use either Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle or Schrödinger's Cat when we want to talk about a situation where you can't observe a state without altering it. A good example of this ...
1
vote
4answers
226 views

Better word for 'my native place'? [duplicate]

I am writing an article for a magazine about my visit to my village. I want to use a better word or phrase for 'my village' or 'my native place'. The following is the part 'When i heard of stories ...
2
votes
5answers
110 views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Type of spurious reasoning which ignores other effects of a counterfactual

Consider a male athlete who is a reasonably skilled 100 metres sprinter, with a best time around 10.3 seconds. Probably not enough to make a career in track and field, but faster than the women's 100 ...
0
votes
3answers
80 views

Need a term for major water forms or states (e.g. sea, freshwater, glaciers, dams, etc.)

I'm writing an article about the hydrosphere for my website GeoWorld. I'm dividing the hydrosphere into the following seven categories: 1) the sea 2) surface freshwater bodies 3) underground aquifers ...
4
votes
3answers
88 views

person providing identity for illegal operations

In electronic theft cashing out stolen money is a large problem: if you hack into someone's bank account and transfer the money to your bank account, the operation is trivially trackable to your name. ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

How to most professionally phrase “distribution company”?

I want to correctly describe the company I worked for. It's a printing company who works for other companies, like pizzerias and other franchises, and prints fliers and banners and logos for those ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Something that is easy to learn, but rewarding to master

I'm looking for a word or phrase that expresses the idea that something can be done well at the beginner-level, but can also be extremely rewarding when someone reaches an expert level. The concept ...
7
votes
3answers
897 views

Word or phrase for doing something poorly so that someone else does it for you?

Let's say that I abhor doing a particular chore such as the dishes. Let's then say I intentionally do the dishes poorly. That way when my significant other sees the bad job I've done they stop asking ...
1
vote
4answers
121 views

Synonym for “Fellow Sufferers”?

They agreed to stay connected for hours in their provisional support group, looking for answers in their counterparts. I want to change the bold part to say that they all shared the same problem. ...
1
vote
3answers
71 views

Phrase to describe “re-reading an email you wrote, because it is just that good”

I want to describe a recurring situation that happens in the modern day when people craft an email that is "perfect" in that person's mind, and they end up re-reading the sent message over and over. ...
17
votes
10answers
2k views

What word describes a person's worst flaw?

Is there a word or phrase to describe the worst flaw that someone has? The closest thing I have found to what I'm looking for is fatal flaw (technically called hamartia), but that's a bit too ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

After seeing how misinformed an article is in a newspaper, you flip the page and continue reading as if the rest can be trusted. What is this called?

I vividly remember reading a Wikipedia article about a named law (e.g. "Betteridge's law of headlines"). It goes something like this: "You read an article about a topic you're very familiar with, and ...
2
votes
2answers
115 views

A formal way of saying 'rub it in'.

I am trying to find a formal phrase equivalent to the colloquial expression'rub it it.' rub it in (informal) if someone rubs it in, they keep talking about something that makes you feel ...
3
votes
5answers
453 views

What to call a fact/observation told by someone?

Examples: Speaker A: I thought he wanted to know about insects. Speaker B: But not [...] about them eating people! After he finished his [...] about seals. I think using fact ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Word for releasing oneself from a hug

I'm looking for a more physical description, so ignoring "disengaged" for this purpose. But wouldn't mind hearing why it might still be a good option. "You were almost torn apart!" Fabian said and ...
1
vote
2answers
405 views

Collective term for race, gender, age, religion, income class, etc

I'm writing an article for a political website about the major traits that make an individual what he or she is (in terms of wealth, human rights, oppression or lack thereof, etc.). They include ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

What is a term for recent that covers the past week and the next week?

I have a software user interface that toggles between the full schedule and a schedule that covers the most recent weekend and the upcoming weekend. Any idea what to call this?
0
votes
2answers
68 views

Is there another term for sharing knowledge [closed]

Hello I am looking for a word that would best be used as an exchange of knowledge or teachings within a community. Is there a word or phrase that would best sum up a group of people who are sharing ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

A word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency

I am looking for a word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency. To give a specific example, one might be seeing a random shopper drop their bag every time you enter a ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Am I thinking of “Roll Call”, or something else?

"On the [missing word] were only kids from rich and connected families, who chose the school for its high level of education, but more so for the extracurricular activities and skills which were ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

How to describe a waiter's action? [closed]

What verb do you use to talk about the job a waiter is doing? For Example- The waiter who _________ at our table was extremely rude. (waited for, waited on, waited by, waited in on)
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Taste of one's own medicine: the logic behind the phrase

Is there a logical story behind this phrase? Because when looked at from a naive perspective, giving somebody their own medicine sounds like a kind thing to do as it would only treat their illness. ...
2
votes
4answers
129 views

What is it called when someone does an action they don't fully understand? [closed]

For example, someone speaking and writing the English language, but not actually knowing how to use it properly.
0
votes
2answers
87 views

Is there a word/phrase for Pre-Academia?

I'm looking for a word that means pre-academia. Academia is the establishment of those engaged in higher education (mostly graduate students and up), so pre-academia would be those engaged in lower ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

2-word term for reversing phrases

What is the 2-word term (3 syllables each, I think, and definitely Greek sounding/Greek roots) that describes the technique of reversing phrases or parts of phrases, e.g. " bred and born" instead of ...
-1
votes
2answers
53 views

A better phrase for “doing my graduation”

I'm looking for a better phrasing of the following sentence, to put it as a summary at a professional network. Does doing my graduation look a unprofessional? I am doing my graduation from the ...
4
votes
11answers
965 views

How to describe a person in a situation in which he does not completely know what he is doing?

How can we describe a person doing or communicating something without (really) knowing what he is doing or talking about? This could be either because of some indisposition like for example ...
3
votes
4answers
133 views

How to succinctly and clearly connote the reverse of a statement

Here's a published example of a problem I come across frequently: A cop is six times more likely to be shot by someone black than the opposite. Let us assume that the writer meant to say: ...
12
votes
12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
2
votes
6answers
87 views

Politician says he will vote in favor of legislation that he hasn't read and will change once elected

Can anyone come up with a few good synonyms/idioms/expressions for a person or politician that will say whatever he/she believes will get him/her the most votes? For example: He/she will vote in ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Phrase experimentation - Marching a trough [closed]

I'm trying to touch up this part, and wondering if the above could work as a metaphor. This is my text right now: “George, it's me, .... I can't connect with my money!” he fired while marching ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

English term for aggressive street seller?

Is there an English term for the type of street seller who aggressively sells his products? The type who yell after you and may follow you as you walk down the street?
2
votes
3answers
404 views

How to say “I met someone”, but not in the romantic way [closed]

I sometimes start stories with "I met someone who (...)" or "I met a man who (...)". Being a woman, people often seem to think there is something romantic about the meeting even though that was not ...
-1
votes
3answers
140 views

What's the phrase or idiom for acting like a baby when subjected to criticism?

I was wondering whether English has a phrase or an idiom for someone acting like a baby when subjected to criticism, as well as honest and negative assessment of their actions or personality. By ...
0
votes
4answers
96 views

a word / idiom for pulling something closer for a sniff?

This is where I am: "Gliding at a low altitude, his fingers reached for a flower, plucked it and pulled it closer to his nose" / ... to smell" I'm not looking for anything too exotic, but would ...
-2
votes
2answers
194 views

Adjective which means both “Specific” and “General” simultaneously [closed]

I need an adjective which means both "Specific" and "General" simultaneously! As the explanation, the "adjective" is supposed to be used in scientific domain. The adjective would describes a ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Word for liking and not liking something at the same time? [duplicate]

What's a word for the feeling of liking something, but not liking it at the same time? I love the way the Spanish speak, but it bothers me at the same time. I've looked through and dictionaries asked ...
3
votes
6answers
553 views

How would one term this particular relationship?

While postulating a French universe, my brain voted that Bill Gates should become Bill Gateaux. What term or short-phrase would one use to describe the word 'Gateaux', relative to 'Gates', where the ...
5
votes
6answers
695 views

Is there any notation or abbreviated phrase meaning “this is provisional”?

I want to write on my timetable that an event will take place at "Building X, but this is provisional as it is subject to change and it may happen somewhere else." Is there any kind of notation or ...
4
votes
4answers
155 views

Word or phrase to use “when you told a story/situation and it happend you later”

English is NOT my primary language . In my language we have a phrase to use in this kind of situation . You were telling a story or a situation to your friends and later it happens you . For eg : ...
1
vote
2answers
109 views

A short alternative to describe a location very close to the city

I've racked my brains to no avail trying to find a correct and practical term to describe a location very close to the city centre (of the little town). "Close to the city" is very cliche and sounds ...