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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2
votes
2answers
41 views

Describing a relationship that is related via a third party?

How do you describe something where A does not cause B, but C causes A and B. What would you call the relationship between C and A/B and the relationship between A and B? I'm sure there's some ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Phrase describing reading only fragments of a text

I'm looking for a phrase to describe reading only those fragments of a text/paper/book/etc. that I need to know i.e. not reading the whole thing but only a part of it that will be useful to me. I've ...
3
votes
3answers
77 views

Is there a better phrase than “rules list” to imply something you need to read without carrying bureaucratic/procedural connotations?

I'm looking for a substitute word or phrase for "rules list." I find this phrase has a key problem: it carries heavy bureaucratic or procedural connotations, and can dissuade people from joining the ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

When someone can speak a language very well, they are “fluent”. What if you can only understand it?

When someone can speak a language very well, they are fluent. Is there a word to describe a situation where you can understand the language when spoken to you perfectly, but just can't speak it as ...
7
votes
4answers
371 views

Borrowing concepts from another religion?

Looking for a word that defines the practice of borrowing religious concepts from one religion to another. The two best I found are 'plagiarize' or 'pirate' but they feel more commercial than ...
1
vote
4answers
123 views

An alternative to “something clicked in place”?

As per the title, I'm looking for a shorter expression that has generally the same meaning as "something clicked". Closest one I could think of was something like "enlightened", but that isn't too ...
2
votes
3answers
49 views

Word or Phrase for a lie being told to force someone to do something?

Is there a single word or phrase that has the meaning of a "lie that is told to force someone into a specific course of action". For example, if someone tells you that a restaurant is going out of ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

A phrase for “repeatedly shaking one's leg up and down when idle” [duplicate]

My friend likes to repeatedly shake his leg up and down when idle. In Chinese, there is a specific term for this action that, if loosely translated, would be "vibrating leg." Is there a more general ...
23
votes
14answers
3k views

Less vulgar alternative to “bee up my butt”

In my corner of the world, the two exressions given in the accepted answer to this question have become conflated. Now, to "have a bee up one's butt" is to have a sudden and obsessive need to do ...
4
votes
4answers
117 views

anatomically correct without sexual connotation [closed]

I would like to be able to describe something as anatomically correct in the sense that I would have a doll, etc. that is essentially anatomically accurate, without conveying the sense that I am ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Is there a better word or phrase to describe a tangible and usable product?

I'm a graphic designer and I'm working on a new website. I want a category for things that you can touch, hold, and use such as booklets/books, car wrap, gift certificates, product packaging, etc. My ...
1
vote
4answers
115 views

Single-word or idiom request to mean “overshoot the runway” and its etymology

In yesterday's Outfront anchored by Erin Burnett, she and one of the panelists exchanged the below conversation: Burnett: So, Van, Clinton was wrong technically in terms of there's been no ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

To extend a warm and welcoming invitation to someone

Is there a single verb or short verb phrase in English language that means "to extend a warm and welcoming invitation to someone"? I was recently asked this question but I am not a native speaker, so ...
1
vote
4answers
64 views

Is it OK to write “avail myself of not being in office”

Situation: Someone needs my help with a technical problem (via TeamViewer session) and sent me an outlook invitation for a date where I'm officially not in office. Because of my absence notification ...
2
votes
2answers
53 views

Verb that means “to find the difference of two states”

Context I have two sets of data, dataset1 and dataset2. They may be different from each other, both in content and in structure. I am going to generate the list of these differences. Example ...
1
vote
3answers
47 views

A phrase to describe “implementation of an order in all the cases” [closed]

To a query, an order has been given by the higher authority. Now, it is a question as to whether the same order should be implemented in all the cases. In this scenario, what phrase should be used?
5
votes
4answers
688 views

Scheinsicherheit (ger) -> pseudo safety?

In German we have the word "Scheinsicherheit", meaning that you are applying some measures and feel protected against some threats. However if such a threat might occur in reality these safety ...
12
votes
7answers
300 views

Winners, Losers and ____________

If someone wins a match, that person is called a winner. If someone loses a match, that person is called a loser or runner up. But if the match is a draw, that is, no one has won or lost, what do ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Is there a term for when a person pretends to give an unbiased account which is actually manipulative?

For example, a person might say something to the effect of "My friend really hurt me in [insert description here], but I forgive them", with the intention of manipulating someone's opinion. By ...
2
votes
3answers
75 views

Phrase for “Lowering the points/grade on exam”

Assume that you had an exam. The teacher returned the exam and gave you negative points on several questions. This "lowering of the grade of the exam" seems unjustified to you. Which expression exists ...
0
votes
3answers
78 views

What idioms could be used to say you are a close relative with someone?

Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë are such talented writers. No wonder, they are cut from the same cloth. To be cut from the same cloth means to be very similar, according to Cambridge Idioms ...
3
votes
6answers
582 views

When someone puts your integrity/reliability “in doubt”

Assume a scenario in which you talk with someone and then he puts your integrity/reliability "in doubt". Meaning: He doubts that you are truly reliable/innocent/trustworthy. So you want to say to him ...
5
votes
4answers
106 views

Term for 'earth-like' species

I'm looking for a term to refer to an alien species that may evolve differently and have some unique and radical features, but still shares some of the most basic features of earth species. I'm ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

What do you call a word that changed because of everyday usage?

When words are common and they are being used regularly their meanings change. Sometimes they are spelled in a different way than they are supposed to. What do you call this phenomena or what do you ...
0
votes
3answers
69 views

Idiom/Phrase for “results without work/effort”

I'd be greatly appreciative of a cleverly devised idiom/phrase that depicts the following concept: Results without work/effort. ...and/or... My Work/Effort; Your Result. Any idioms/phrases ...
2
votes
3answers
80 views

Phrase for “a strong reason for wanting something to happen …”

I have a problem with a phrase that can describe the following: a strong reason for wanting something to happen because you will get advantage from it. I need the phrase for a formal essay. ...
2
votes
3answers
74 views

An idiomatic expression for: “not to be seen by someone”

Sometimes I have something to share, but hope that it can't be seen by my close friends or family. Is there a word, idiom , or a better expression that means: “not be seen by someone” An example: ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

What phrase describes “having same outcome in spite of having better resources”?

A person gains a 20% salary hike, but becomes looser with his purse-strings and experiences no improvement in quality of life. Or, a manager who gets his employees to work 16 hours a day from 8, but ...
0
votes
5answers
145 views

Is “Donald Trump finally dropped the ball” the right expression?

I would like you to suggest a more apt/suitable idioms and expressions in the following senses: Everybody knew it would eventually happen at the end of the day. After waiting for some time like a ...
1
vote
2answers
101 views

What's an alternative term to “politically correct”/“political correctness” that liberals can use? [closed]

This may be a fairly controversial question, but ... I have known several people on the left (liberals, even radicals) who use the term "politically correct." I also know a lot of people on the ...
7
votes
3answers
221 views

Looking For My Glasses

Is there a word or phrase to describe the situation like looking for one's glasses, where accomplishing the objective would make the task easier to complete in the first place? Is it just irony?
12
votes
8answers
1k views

Word or phrase that describes something that was very modern at some time in the past

I am looking for a word or phrase that describes something that was very modern in the time being referenced, even though it is clearly not modern now. For example, I am writing about a computer ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Is it okay to use “to have a picture of something” when you mean having an idea and a qualitative understanding of sth?

I want to use "to have a picture of ..." in a sentence like this: to have a picture of this process we applied some theory to the system ... Which by "to have a picture" i mean to have a ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Good phrase or word to express that statistical average should not be applied to an individual

I'm going to have a hard time even expressing what I'm looking for well. I love statistics and studies and drawing conclusions from them. To do this well one eventually needs to be able to talk ...
3
votes
3answers
85 views

concise word or phrase to express the idea that one does not make a judgement due to lack of information

Say that someone asks for an individual's opinion on topic X. The individual does not personally feel that they understand the topic sufficiently to make a valid decision, due to lack of knowledge ...
43
votes
13answers
4k views

Is there a visual equivalent of the word “overhear”?

I love the word overhear. I often want to communicate a similar concept, but visually - with somebody looking over my shoulder at my computer screen, for example. "My husband (overheard) me shopping ...
5
votes
3answers
70 views

Phrase for ignoring by way of looking upwards

Is there a simple phrase for disregarding or not noticing another person, which would involve passively maintaining one's line of sight high or above the person in question, so as not to give him/her ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

How to describe flavor but not texture

I'm looking for a word to denote the flavor of something while explicitly not including texture, which is usually assumed (eg "This tastes good" usually means you like both the <word I'm looking ...
3
votes
4answers
114 views

Word for the opposite of “overlap”?

I'm looking for a nice, elegant word to describe the part where/extent to which things don't overlap. "Discongruity"/"discongruence"/"incongruity"/"incongruence"/"complementation"/"complementarity" ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the term to describe someone who deliberately drives into oncoming traffic?

According to http://www.cracked.com/article_23248_6-foreign-words-so-dark-there-are-no-english-equivalents.html (warning: sarcasm), there is no English equivalent for "Geisterfahrer", or someone who ...
10
votes
3answers
852 views

Is “to anagram” an established verb?

To his amusement, Jason realized that the words Madam Curie anagrammed to Radium Came. Is the above sentence idiomatic? I am not sure if I can use anagrammed to. If this is inacceptable, what is ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Word for having strong political opinions but no consistent “side”

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe someone who has strong political opinions or beliefs, but they belong to such a wide variety of "sides" that you can't really pin them down with a specific ...
3
votes
2answers
98 views

Adjective for not knowing any better

I can't think of a word that would describe the feeling of not knowing any better. The description is for a child, and the sentence would go like: He was young and an adjective with this meaning ...
14
votes
16answers
3k views

Word meaning “to begin simple but to become complex”

I'm looking for the word(s) that describes my current dilemma: I have begun a project that seemed, at its outset, quite simple - tedious, but simple. However, the further I get into the project, the ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

A specific expression that means “a child is the exact opposite of his parent(s)”

I am looking for a specific expression or phrase that means "a child is the exact opposite of his parent(s)" Is there an opposite idiom, phrase or expression of the saying: Like father, like ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

to almost meet someone at some place

Is there a common way to say in English that two people were in the same place but didn't know at the time about each other and eventually didn't meet? I know one can say they passed each other on ...
1
vote
0answers
17 views

Describing a person who prefers older (not new) or vintage things [duplicate]

Is there a word or phrase that refers to a person who prefers older (not new)or vintage things?
0
votes
4answers
56 views

Idiom for “what is apparent may not be the truth” [closed]

Is there an idiom or phrase for "what is apparent may not be the truth" The use context is: You may see XYZ in zooming off in a Ferrari. But that is only because s/he works in the dealership as a ...
8
votes
8answers
583 views

A formal reply without any useful information

What single word or short phrase could be used to say something like: I was given just a formal reply without any useful information to my letter to the government officials?
24
votes
16answers
4k views

How to indicate that I've exceeded my planned spending for some time period, but am not completely lacking money

I split my funds into weeks, and so when I've spent all of that week's money I have to tell people I can't be buying things unless needed. Often in casual conversation this comes out as "I don't have ...