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
1answer
53 views

“Branching Factor” in military and industrial organizations?

In math, branching factor measures the (average) number of descendants in a tree; e.g., the branching factor of a binary tree is 2. How is the same number called when applied to the military (usually ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Alternative for “particularly interested” [closed]

What are other formal ways of saying "I'm particularly interested in..."? In this case it's for use on cover letters for CVs. The synonyms for "interested" offered by the thesaurus don't seem ...
5
votes
2answers
123 views

English play on: (Chinese) “enemies and lovers are pre-destined to meet”

Wondering what phrases English has similar to this Chinese idiom. ABC Dictionary (GoogleBooks): 183. (lit) [If we/they/you were] not rivals/enemies, there would be no encounter. (fig) ...
1
vote
7answers
799 views

Shorter way of saying “Uncertain of what was going on”?

I saw a shadow fumbling inside my closet. [...] , I screamed. I thought of the word confused but I think it doesn't have enough intensity. Is there a word/phrase that means uncertain of what was ...
33
votes
9answers
4k views

Person who pretends to not understand unless one speaks in exactly the words they expect [duplicate]

I just realized there are some people around my workplace who always try to correct me when using a certain word, saying that that's not how I should speak, and I should use other words (the ones ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Idiom or word for someone who opens their mouth and closes their ears in discussions? [closed]

Some individuals are not interested in listening to your opinion, and it seems like your idea either has no value to them, or they already know what you are about to say, and they talk over you or ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Phrase “In my spare time” [closed]

In an office environment answering a customer with the response "I will work on your project in my spare time". I feel there is a more professional way to answer. Suggestions?
2
votes
4answers
79 views

Words or phrases of teacher of teachers

Is there any specific word or phrases to describe teacher of teachers? If not, how do I express this idea? More precisely,someone who train people to be teachers on their fields. Thank you very ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Words or phrases to state that taking factors into consideration at first place.

Are there any words or phrases to state that taking factors into consideration at first place? For example, maybe before I start to write a patent, I take potential rivals, expected costs and ...
3
votes
4answers
101 views

Single word or phrase - conspiratorially exchanging glances

Is there a single word or a phrase for conspiratorially exchanging glances when someone does something inappropriate?
0
votes
2answers
105 views

What is a term for having a “small” name for something that's actually “large”?

For example, referring to a 7 feet tall, 450 lb man with the nickname "Tiny".
1
vote
10answers
2k views

A word to describe not caring (socially and publically) about other people's feelings

What is the word to describe someone who does not care about other people socially and publically, that is a word or phrase which could describe behaviors such as littering, cutting in a line, picking ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

“Degree of Proximity” or “Proximity of Blood” or “Relation Proximity”?

I'm translating a civil record to English, which has a table of information about a family registry. One of the titles is "Degree of Proximity", however I'm not sure which of the expressions suits the ...
1
vote
2answers
103 views

A direct, ironic response to “How are you?” indicating that the person is in a bad mood [closed]

Imagine person A asks person B, how B is doing. B is doing bad and he or she is upset with the question (after all, nobody wants to admit that he or she is screwing his or her life up). What kind of ...
0
votes
3answers
55 views

Verbs or phrases to buy something which are specifically for sale later?

what is the verbs or phares stating that shop owners buy something which are specifically to be sold in future, chefs buy some ingredients which are specifically used to make foods to sell, or ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
0
votes
3answers
50 views

Phrase for “putting one's plans into action”

I am looking for a phrase, metaphor, or cliche to mean "putting one's plans into action". I am using it in the following sentence. As the events of the play proceed, however, Hamlet becomes ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

In what sort of rhyme do matching consonants precede last stressed vowels?

Is there a term for the sort of rhyme or near-rhyme that subsists between such words as repose and propose? For these seem to me less truly to rhyme than, say, vision and decision. In the latter pair, ...
1
vote
2answers
110 views

Synonym for “dream life”? [closed]

I have been unable to find a good word (or 2-word phrase) to convey the idea of "dream life", by which I mean "the possible future state of my life in which I experience even more fulfillment, health, ...
3
votes
2answers
172 views

What is a more formal alternative for “pros and cons”? [closed]

The phrase I'm looking for is on the tip of my tongue, I'm sure it exists I just can't think of it. This is for an essay title, and if the essay is good, a journal paper.
0
votes
1answer
108 views

What is the common name/word for movies,games,songs,books etc? [closed]

English is not my main language, I am trying to find a word or a phrase (2 or 3(!) words maximum) to make a reference to these actions for an article. What is the common name for these kind of ...
4
votes
4answers
77 views

A good term for something that sustains itself via a positive feedback loop?

So just for context, I would like to pose the hypothesis that the US dollar is the strongest currency because it is the global reserve currency and is the global reserve currency because it is the ...
3
votes
10answers
1k views

Word or phrase for one who tries to benefit from everything someone else does [duplicate]

I am trying to find a good word or phrase to describe someone who (or the act of someone which) tries to benefit from everything someone else has or does. The context is, on a personal level. For ...
14
votes
5answers
556 views

Is there a term for when an allusion to a source becomes more well-known than the source itself?

I’m looking for a word or phrase to describe when Source B quotes or references Source A, and then Source B becomes so much more well-known than Source A that people attribute the source of the quote ...
5
votes
10answers
411 views

Noun or phrase similar to clone with positive connotation?

I'm searching for a noun (a single word if possible) or phrase that conveys that one thing functions the same as another externally, even though the internals may differ. Nouns such as copy, a clone, ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Word/phrase for “lingering memory of an unpleasant event”?

The first word that came to me was aftermath. But it doesn't quite do it. Because aftermath refers to the "lingering" effects and what I'm looking for is the memory, the shadow. Is there a ...
0
votes
3answers
93 views

Word/phrase for “things that are too much for us to bear”

I have a theory. We created laughter to protect us from things that are too much for us to bear. I'm sure there's a word or a shorter phrase for the bolded part.
1
vote
8answers
101 views

Word/phrase for remarks which often have a dark feel to them but whose meanings are not readily apparent? [closed]

I know someone who has a tendency to make strange remarks whose meanings are not readily apparent, remarks which often have a dark feel to them, but which are left unexplained, as if to hide ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

Word or Phrase for Identical Twins with Opposite Personalities? [closed]

Looking for an apt word or phrase for physically identical twins with opposing character traits? Example: one twin tends to be very organized, and the other tends to be very disorganized, etc.
14
votes
15answers
4k views

Is there a word or term to describe when someone focuses on a specific example, rather than the problem at large?

For those who don't play video games, there's a growing trend in the industry called "Microtransactions" - a small fee the player can pay for certain things in game. Usually something small, such as a ...
3
votes
2answers
75 views

Formal alternative for “take on board”

Two men are having a conversation. A is plying B with numbers and other technical details, but talks so glibly and rapidly that B does not properly "take on board" the information which A is ...
1
vote
5answers
629 views

Word to describe what an academic degree is “in”

I am trying to describe the individual components of a a list of academic degrees: AS Accounting AS Marketing BA Sociology BA Economics BS Accounting/Finance BS ...
10
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there a word for something loved by the masses but whose true value is lacking?

Is there a general word for someone or something popular or loved by the masses but that has not been proven to be effectual (like how some would use the term "pop psychology" pejoratively)? Examples ...
1
vote
5answers
221 views

Word(s) for a person who degrades other people's work/efforts anonymously

Word(s) for a person who degrades other people's work/efforts anonymously. meta: I really want to know since this sickness is wide-spread across Internet. To me, this is a filthy mix of ...
5
votes
4answers
687 views

Is there a word for being able to type without looking?

Is there a word for the ability to type without looking? ex: Because bob is _______ he can watch the lecturer and type simultaneously.
3
votes
6answers
687 views

What is the English idiom for eventually getting it right after many mindless attempts

I made up an idiom that I think describes what I want to say quite nicely: "If one shoots enough arrows at the target, one is sure to hit the bull's eye." An actual English idiom I know of that ...
6
votes
8answers
542 views

Word meaning “open to being persuaded by a strong argument”?

To be used in a phrase like "especially civil, thoughtful, and ___ expressions of differing beliefs" (this is closest to the primary use case) or "especially civil, thoughtful, and ___ ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

Word or short phrase meaning “Happening on the same day as”

I'm wondering if there is a conventional word or short phrase meaning "happening on the same day" -- similar to "at the same time" but implying same day without implying that the events are ...
2
votes
3answers
302 views

More common/informal way of saying “as is the case with…”?

Example: As is the case with the path, there's only one cliff. (Meaning there's only one path and only one cliff.)
2
votes
5answers
688 views

How to refer to the upper, flat part of a cliff?

A cliff is basically divided in two parts: the "flat" surface where you stand and then fall. What do you call the former? Here's an example of the desired usage: There were two climbers on the ...
3
votes
4answers
103 views

“Gastronomy winds”?

I'm trying to find a way to translate a title with a direct translation "Gastronomy winds blowing from X". I don't think it sounds pretty in English, plus can't find a better alternative other than ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Can we state “over the course of next six years”? [closed]

Does this sentence read correctly? Please advise. This implementation plan started in January 2014 and is scheduled to be rolled out worldwide over the course of next six years. Thanks, Mahi.
88
votes
15answers
16k views

Is there an English idiom for trying to do two things at the same time and failing at both of them due to splitting your effort?

I'm basically searching for the opposite of putting all your eggs in one basket, where the risk is total failure because you did not hedge your efforts. I'm searching for a phrase that encompasses ...
3
votes
2answers
93 views

What's the word for spotting flaws in news articles you are expert in, but happily accepting reports in other fields?

I'm sure I came across a "syndrome" to describe this. Say you're an expert in physics, and read an newspaper article where the reporter has completely misunderstood the Large Hadron Collider. You ...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

Word or phrase that describes when a fictitious character quotes real writing/speech etc

Is there a word or phrase to describe when a fictional character quotes/references something that exists in the real (our) 'universe' (but can also therefore exist in the fictional 'universe'). Either ...
-1
votes
6answers
86 views

Word like “giving up” but that implies shifting to something else? [closed]

Example: I began searching in the zoology section. But I didn't find what I wanted. [...], I shifted to veterinary medicine. I think using giving up would mean giving up on the whole thing. It ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

Word for deliberately taking the literal rather than implied message

What is the word for understanding someones implied meaning, but being completely pretentious about it and taking their words for what they literally said?
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Is there a term for a grammatical construction like “Exhibit A”?

Is there a term for names that consist of a noun or noun phrase followed by an ordinal letter or numeral? For example: Exhibit A The Land Before Time IV Patient Zero Perhaps ordinal proper noun or ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Is there a word or phrase for “running away from home to avoid an arranged marriage”

In the olden times, a woman would need parental consent to get married, or worse, her groom would be chosen by her father. As a consequence of such element of culture, she would sometimes run away ...
1
vote
4answers
88 views

Not true in general, but possibly true in some cases

Is there an abbreviation, an English or a Latin expression for "not true in general, but possibly although not necessarily true in some cases"? I suppose such a phrase may be used frequently in law ...