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
vote
1answer
61 views

Word/phrase for a story in which time passes between scenes

Stories like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn often have large time gaps between narration. Days, weeks, or even years might pass between chapters or scenes in stories such as these. What word or ...
26
votes
12answers
8k views

Idiom for “just because you give something a different name, it doesn't change what it is”

I'm looking for a way to idiomatically express the sentiment that just because you give something a different name, or precede it with a disclaimer, it doesn't change what it is, e.g.: "I mean this ...
5
votes
3answers
213 views

When a person is completely entranced by the monotony of - for example - a road

I remember reading about a psychological effect that can happen to - for example - drivers, when they are driving on a monotonous road, where they are completely entranced by the monotony of that ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

What is the word or phrase for the revelation of finding a word for a concept you already knew but did not have the word for?

This has recently happened. I discovered Object Orientated CSS. I had the concept for a long time but had never had a title for the concept. Discovering this was a joy for me. Is there a word or ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Alternative colloquial expressions for “I thought” [closed]

When expressing how we misunderstand the others's expressions we often say "I thought ...". But, out of curiosity, I want to know are there any other expressions equivalent to the meaning of "I ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Aptitude to learn proprietary systems/applications quickly and easily

Updating my resume and I am trying to make this "resume highlight" make sense. I originally had it written as "Able to learn proprietary systems/applications quickly and easily" but I was looking for ...
3
votes
5answers
156 views

Antonym (or dual) for 'anachronism'

I'm looking for a word or a phrase (preferably a noun phrase) that describes something current, which should not be still present, because it is kind of outdated, but is still around us because of ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

An idiom for “beginning in the wrong end”

Say that in order to determine what B is, you analyze A. But then someone analyzes B in order to determine what A is. In my language, we would say that this procedure "begins in the wrong end". What ...
-1
votes
2answers
99 views

Other ways to say a project is ahead of schedule?

I'm looking for ways to say a business project is (or will be) completed ahead of schedule. Obviously, there are plenty of phrases for delayed or on-time statuses, but what are some phrases for ...
2
votes
6answers
136 views

Is there a word for making something or someone confess?

I am seeking after a single word for describing "make something or someone confess". Apart from a single word, welcomed are also idioms.
2
votes
2answers
114 views

Is there a word or phrase to describe the aging of graphics technology?

So I'm thinking of something along the lines of the idea of the "uncanny valley" in which technology reaches a point where it's very human/life-like but still "off" somehow, causing a revulsion or ...
4
votes
5answers
660 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Idiom/phrase for someone who faced a lot of difficulties in life [closed]

I came across the Kannada saying "Benkiyalli aralida hoovu", meaning someone faced lot of difficulties in life. Is there an equivalent idiom/phrase in English?
0
votes
4answers
410 views

Phrase/word that is a synonym to “Question Everything”

What are some phrase/word synonyms for the phrase 'Question Everything'. My friend came up with nullius in verba, which I really like, and I was wondering what others are out there? Edit (from ...
2
votes
5answers
327 views

How would you describe: Read a book, but not cover-to-cover?

As the title says. I'm looking for a good word or expression for saying something like "I have read only several chapters from random location of the book, but someday I want to read from cover to ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Opposite of “to my credit”?

In writing a question for Programmers StackExchange, I wanted to write a sentence similar to "To my credit, I did foo, bar, and baz," except foo bar and baz are bad things so they are actually the ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Rephrase “Can I ask you?”

Is there a short phrase for "Can I ask you?" in the meaning that "I have a question. Do you have time now?". The motivation is that some people start answering "No, you can't" which is joke of ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

What are days that are not present in all calendar months called? [closed]

Is there a term for days that are not present in all (Gregorian) calendar months? E.g. January has 30 and 31 but February doesn't. What are days like 30 and 31 called? update: The word, if it exists, ...
3
votes
1answer
40 views

Keeping all parameters but one constant

It is a core scientific principle to only change one of the parameters in an experiment at a time, and keep all others constant, as opposed to picking random parameters (i.e. typically being unable to ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

How to distinguish “timesheets pending for approval” & “timesheets awaiting for your approval” in phrases?

There are two buttons. Button A is for the timesheets submitted by user but still waiting for someone's approval, I want button A displays like this: Pending Approval (3) Note: (3) means the ...
7
votes
1answer
506 views

Is there a word for the decoration on top of a building?

Is there a word that means "the thingy on top of the building"? Like the crescent on a mosque or the cross on a church or the weather-vane on a barn?
3
votes
7answers
249 views

What are “good men that do nothing” called?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke Is there an idiom, phrase or preferably a single word that we can call people that could have helped ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

How to say about Master's Degree [closed]

I really need to know how to say that a person studies something in MA level. I need several phrases for this to have choices for various circumstances. Can anyone help me? Thanks in advance
2
votes
4answers
372 views

Phrase for having nearly completed something

Is there is a phrase for when you're very close to achieving something you've been working on? When the detective gets that final clue, but hasn't quite solved the mystery yet. When you've done 90% ...
0
votes
3answers
105 views

How to call someone that acts only by instinct without being rude?

I know there's the phrase "You are an animal", but depending on the context, cultural background, etc. the recipient of the saying may not end very happy. Is there another way to describe someone that ...
2
votes
3answers
187 views

What are some words I could use to call someone who is not good at work? [closed]

I asked this question because the other question on workplace.se. I realized that "enemy" is not the right word to express my idea. I was working with that person for about a year. He was bad at ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

What are notable uses of the phrase “living hand to mouth”

I would like to use the phrase "living hand to mouth" as a title of an art piece. However, just looking for the phrase mostly results in uses where the origin is explained. What are notable uses of ...
3
votes
4answers
121 views

What is the name of the “agency” fallacy?

I'm looking for the name of the logical fallacy where intent or agency is assumed when in fact there is none. It's a common fallacy in my experience, but I can't seem to find it described ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

What's a more common term for “penny jumping”?

In securities trading, we have a particular term which I think has broader applicability, so I'm seeking a more common (or at least more universally comprehensible) term for it, that I can use in ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Is there a word or phrase that explains that the usage of “we” in some contexts does not necessarily mean “all of us”?

I need to explain to a person that the word "we" doesn't necessarily mean "all of us" in some contexts. For example, a speaker giving a speech may say, "What we learned from the Great Depression ...
2
votes
7answers
2k views

What do you call the fire that is built outdoors and for cooking only (not for camping)?

Example: The barbecue tasted incredible, with that unique aroma that only [...] gives to the meat. I thought of using the word campfire but in the sentence the barbecue isn't taking place in a ...
3
votes
6answers
603 views

What is an adjective for “requires a lot of work”? [closed]

For example, Starting a new business requires a lot of work. What would be an adjective in: Starting a new business is _.
3
votes
3answers
120 views

Paraphrasing to confirm that I understand

I'm looking for some precise and concise ways of saying: I may or may not have understood you and will confirm by paraphrasing: [...] "In other words, [...]?" seems to be used often, but I feel ...
0
votes
5answers
149 views

A man who keeps his word

I'm looking for an appropriate word to describe someone who is a man of his word. Trustworthy springs to mind but doesn't seem appropriate, as it doesn't imply an honorable connotation associated ...
0
votes
5answers
68 views

Another term for “instant feedback”?

I'm looking for another term for "instant feedback". Something perhaps similar to how common the phrase "instant gratification" is used to mean instant results from an action. For context, I'm ...
0
votes
4answers
126 views

What do you call those fenced grassy areas that people own in the countryside?

Example: I thought of fenced plot or land lot, but I'm not sure. They are usually used for farming or raising livestock, but sometimes for nothing at all.
8
votes
5answers
907 views

Expression for “Respect them and suspect them”

There is a Hebrew expression explained here: A common Hebrew expression is "Respect them and suspect them". We should always act in a respectful way towards others, but that doesn't obligate us to ...
3
votes
8answers
509 views

Expression for a “smiling face tiger”

The Chinese expression "smiling face tiger" (笑面虎) is defined in English at one website as "an outwardly kind but inwardly cruel person". More broadly it doesn't need to refer to someone who is ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

A phrase for “extremely bad luck”

Is there a (short) phrase or idiom meaning that someone had extremely bad luck? In the context of a sports match: as you would have a "perfect game" or the even more specific "perfect hand" (when ...
3
votes
4answers
327 views

Idiom/word for someone who kowtows to his superiors and kicks his subordinates

Apparently, a "bicycle rider" is "a current German idiom for someone who kowtows to his superiors and kicks his subordinates". (Source: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem.) Any similar expression ...
0
votes
3answers
82 views

What's it called when someone forms a general conclusion from something which is aberrant?

I'm trying to think of a phrase that describes someone who is in a certain situation and when an outcome out of the norm comes up then he takes the aberrant outcome and generalizes it, believing it to ...
16
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there an equivalent of “reverie” where one is lost in unpleasant thoughts?

To say "the noise outside shook her from her reverie" implies she was lost in pleasant daydreams. What if she was lost in worry or unpleasant thoughts? Is there an equivalent term (single word or ...
5
votes
6answers
71 views

Term between 'mentoring' & 'rubber ducking'

This may be a Programmers Stack Exchange question, but I don't think so, because I don't believe there is an accepted term for this in the industry, so I turn to all of you for suggestions. Say I'm ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Looking for a folk saying or proverb that reflects “the closer, higher the competition”

I am looking for an American or UK folk saying or proverb that reflects the following idea: the closer are the players, the higher is the competition or the more level the playing field, the more ...
1
vote
2answers
139 views

Professional term for “Apples to apples” comparison

Is there a term which would sound more fitting in an academic or professional setting for describing a comparison between two things highlighting the similarity of the measurement/comparison process?
7
votes
14answers
1k views

A word or phrase for 'Holy grail' (a goal impossible to achieve)

I am looking for a word or phrase that means "a long sought out goal that seems impossible to achieve" but without any religious connotations. Any suggestions? My intended usage is as follows: ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Word combination with “eternally”

I am currently thinking of engraving text for our wedding rings. Idea is to engrave some nice combination of two words (one word per ring) in order to get phrase close to “forever together”. I do ...
2
votes
3answers
315 views

Idiom or word for a very heavy thing

There is an idiom in Turkish for describing very heavy things: "Heavy like a dead donkey" (Eşek ölüsü gibi ağır). In English, there is a dead weight but it is not quite similar. Also, it has two ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Term for “the story referred to by the title of the collection”

Many short story collections are titled something like Foobar and Other Stories. Suppose I am writing a review of such a collection and want to refer to the story entitled "Foobar". I wish to say ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there a word or phrase meaning to plant my idea in someone else’s mind?

Is there a word or phrase that means to plant my idea in someone else’s mind so they think it is their own idea? Just like what happened in the movie Inception.