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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27
votes
15answers
5k views

What would you call a person who is self-righteous, brags about her/his moral values and is imposing when it comes to her/his ideas?

I want to describe, in a phrase, a number of traits in a person. I'm looking to describe a self-righteous, pious person who cannot stop bragging about her/his moral values while trying to impose ...
69
votes
25answers
11k views

What is deliberately using complex sentences to confuse people called?

I'm wondering if there's a word, phrase, or idiom to describe the action of deliberately confusing people by using complex sentences. For example, some politicians will throw out some big words and ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

“Order of magnitude” for qualitative changes

The phrase "order of magnitude" is used to indicate differences between quantities in terms of exponential powers. I've also seen it to indicate Big-Oh differences in algorithm run times. However, in ...
9
votes
3answers
336 views

Rhetorical evasion

While it may not be a rhetorical fallacy as such, I'm wondering if there is term that covers this: When losing an argument, divert the conversation to something unrelated, and say something ...
1
vote
3answers
49 views

Word or phrase for someone who does not think far into the future

I'm looking for a word or phrase for someone who does not think about things far into the future. They may only see what is possible in the immediate future, say a year or so, but they do not consider ...
0
votes
5answers
109 views

Is there a one-word for an act of proactively introducing oneself?

I work for a technology company, and we are associating with another company. So this guy from the other company wrote me an email introducing himself and offering to help me out with anything I ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

A term for the extreme strength and skill of “stationary muscle control”

Is there a single term (preferred) or two-word phrase (acceptable), possibly technical, though not necessarily so, that conveys the idea of a person having extreme strength and skill at stationary ...
0
votes
2answers
61 views

Verb similar to patron of establishment [closed]

I want to say: "We end up really liking the bourgeoisie establishments we visit." But visit seems like a weak word for the job. In my mind, I want a verb which has the connotation of refinement and ...
1
vote
6answers
91 views

Other phrases for “burst through the door”

I'm writing a story and I want my character to burst through the door, not literally through the door, however, I didn't want to use the phrase "burst through the door" but am stuck as to another ...
26
votes
25answers
4k views

Word for winning because the competitors were miraculously all worse

What's the word in the phrase winning by _____ To describe the scenario when one enters a form of competition and their entry or performance, whatever it may be, happens to be fairly below par ...
1
vote
4answers
151 views

Best expression for place where dogs are born, something like maternity ward is for humans

What is the expression for the place where dogs are born? Could I say that we have a breeding station with canine maternity kennels or maternity ward? I want something like what maternity ward is for ...
1
vote
3answers
82 views

Term for a person/group of persons wanting to celebrate all [closed]

For example if in an organization only the day of work, Christmas and independence day are given official celebrations throughout the company. But then in the offices are people wanting to celebrate ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

A more formal English expression for K-12 (in the US)? [duplicate]

This is US-specific. I had mistakenly believed that grade school meant K-12. Turns out it refers only to elementary school. Is there a more formal (but fairly succinct) English expression for K-12?
0
votes
3answers
72 views

Word/phrase to indicate time occupation

If someone has a tight schedule or is a little strange, for the sake of politeness, I want to say him that I am not in a rush and you can take whatever time you need to answer me. Could you please ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

A word or phrase for “zoomed in” and “zoomed out” narrative

In my writing, I find that although the level of detail in something I am writing is a spectrum, there are two distinct categories for which most instances fall into only one of the two. The first ...
0
votes
4answers
67 views

What is the adjective form of group?

How may I say something has been done by a group of people? Is "a group study" correct to refer to a study performed by a group of people? If not, what are the alternatives?
2
votes
2answers
339 views

Word for 'one who steals books'

What is the name of the person who steals books? Can you please tell me what is the word for it?
0
votes
3answers
62 views

An alternative word for “non-evaluativeness”

I'm looking for an alternative word to use instead of "non-evaluativeness" which is long and not very common. Any ideas are appreciated. Example: Non-evaluativeness: Abstract should report the ...
2
votes
5answers
98 views

Word/phrase for negative side effect(s)

In an essay I want to enumerate and describe negative aspects of using a popular and working tool. Since such issues are usually overlooked (or even underestimated), I call them negative side effects. ...
-1
votes
3answers
33 views

Has your turn approached vs. Is it your turn [closed]

Which one of the following is the right way to ask someone about his turn or number for an interview etc: Has your turn approached/reached? Is it your turn yet? Thanks
5
votes
5answers
458 views

Single word describing a person new in something [closed]

What is a word for someone who is totally new in something or participates in something for the first time?
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Expression for “a place where you could settle and live without having to ask for permission, pay taxes, …” [closed]

On the History Stack Exchange they were talking about “white spots”. Is there a proper expression, a single word, or a phrase for such a place? By "white spot" I mean a place where you (if you ...
1
vote
5answers
148 views

How to describe a person who puts down others to make themself feel superior [closed]

I am trying to describe a character who insults and degrades everyone around her to feel better and to give the appearance that she is superior to everyone else. This character doesn't actually ...
13
votes
13answers
3k views

Is there an idiom for being consistently unlucky through no fault of one's own? [duplicate]

Not quite sure how to word this, but I'm looking for an idiom or phrase/saying that describes when somebody who's done nothing to deserve it has hit a streak of bad luck. Wish I could be more ...
0
votes
3answers
68 views

Is there a word or phrase for the moment while taking a picture when there are no tourists (e.g unwanted distractions) in your viewfinder?

This came up during a trip and was thinking there must be a word to capture the moment while taking a picture and waiting for tourists to move out of your perfectly framed building/fountain/status ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Are there good English expressions for “raison d’être” and “joie de vivre”? [closed]

I know the two phrases have been adopted into the English lexicon, but raison d’être and joie de vivre are phrases, not words. As phrases they certainly sound better in French than would their ...
1
vote
4answers
59 views

More formal alternative for “get a handle on sth.”

In a text I am writing (paper in the sciences), I find I would like to use the phrase “In order to get a handle on this problem, …”, but it seems a little informal. The intended meaning is “gain a ...
0
votes
3answers
105 views

Idiom for “wanting a long-term relationship”?

Example: Because he just wanted a one-night-stand, he told the girl he had a girlfriend, to make sure the girl [...] Meaning that the guy told the girl he had a girlfriend so that the girl ...
1
vote
2answers
141 views

“I hope it will be useful for you like” + verb

I'm writing down few notes about a technical argument, I'm doing it also to understand them better, so in my intro I'm saying: If you are reading this, I hope it will be useful for you like ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What do you call psychological diseases that affect many people at once (or many people of a society)?

I am talking about diseases such as the Jerusalem syndrome, the Paris syndrome, and the Dancing Plague of 1518. Is there a general name for such diseases?
22
votes
11answers
4k views

What do you call an 'unselfish' action made with a selfish reason?

There are many examples of this, and I'd like to give a few: A person who puts a lot of effort to help the community and earns reputation points. But that reputation is the motivation behind helping ...
8
votes
11answers
1k views

“Calling a spade a spade”: synonymous expressions?

I'm looking for expressions that are equivalent to "calling a spade a spade." In some environments and verbal contexts, this phrase needs to be avoided -- please take my word for it. Thank ...
1
vote
1answer
158 views

The word/phrase for the person who makes all the profit while others are suffering?

"I hate this war." "Me too. It's bad for everyone" "But you know who is profiting from this - the coffin seller." How do I define that coffin seller in one or more words?
1
vote
6answers
174 views

Idiom for “something is not as bad as they say”

I am looking for the way to translate the Russian saying that goes something like this " the Devil is not as dangerous as he was described, or, in direct translation, painted". Please help! I look ...
0
votes
0answers
71 views

What do you call a person who completed prerequisite classes for a master's degree but didn't finish their thesis?

I don't necessarily mean a single word, but a short, precise and neutral-sounding phrase that can be used in a CV. The goal is to signify that the only reason for the lack of the degree is the thesis, ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Word/phrase for non-human agent

What do we call a non-human (virtual) agent in computer science domain? I'm looking for a word/phrase other than bot or artificial agent.
1
vote
3answers
85 views

Word or small phrase for an object owned by a customer on which you will do work

The word or small phrase needs to fit into both of these sentences: I've created a new job to install our product into this _______. This ______ is owned by Joe Bloggs. I'm creating an IT system ...
1
vote
5answers
190 views

What would an 11-year-old say that means “appropriate”?

I need a similar word that may be used by a 6th grade girl; e.g.,“That kind of behavior is only appropriate for little girls of six or seven.” It is not to tell her (may be used by), it is for her ...
7
votes
12answers
2k views

A verb meaning “Answering question in a way that doesn't answer it” [duplicate]

Take an example: Me : Where can I find the best pizza in the city? Friend:1000s of people are dying of hunger and all you care about best pizza. In this case he does reply to my question but it ...
0
votes
3answers
101 views

What is a word for getting an award in a competition or being one of the top three?

I am writing about a competition I won in which I got third place. I want to say that I am the first out of my school to get an award in this competition, with a third place award but that sounds a ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Word or Short Phrase to Describe Standing In Relation to One's Own Past Performance

I'm working on a website for encouraging habit change that includes a table consisting of the user's current streak and two of that same user's better streaks and two of his or her worse streaks, ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

Word or phrase for beautiful music going unheard?

I can't think of a word or phrase describing this scenario: Someone is singing beautifully and it has meaning but no one is there to hear it so it is useless. Please help!
2
votes
3answers
97 views

Respectful way to refer to people with some disabilities

In the context of usable security (related to computer science), a major challenge is to provide security means in such a way that all of the people including those with some disabilities (e.g., ...
1
vote
7answers
199 views

What’s a better way to say “lots of discussion”

I'm drafting meeting notes from a steering committee that is attended by several c-more level executives. What’s a better way to say “lots of discussion”
6
votes
12answers
1k views

Idiom for describing an unintended benefit

I am looking for an idiom to describe an unintended benefit that results due to an action taken.
6
votes
4answers
170 views

Like onomatopoeia, but visual

Onomatopoeia is defined as: The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle). Is there a term for describing the formation of a word from a shape/image ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

A dream in which I remember “real” events

I wonder if there is a word to describe a dream in which my conscience bridges reality and I remember real events in my dream world. I recently had a dream like this. It was not a lucid dream, ...
4
votes
7answers
140 views

Ambiguous (and maybe euphemistic) word or phrase for romantic partner

What is an ambiguous word for a romantic partner, which doesn't make it crystal clear that they are in fact a romantic partner rather than just a friend? A euphemism might be a rough approximation of ...
14
votes
12answers
3k views

A verb meaning “to look around making sure no one sees you”

Imagine a group of people trying to rob a safe, or two people having sex where they should not. Afraid of being caught, they look around every few seconds to make sure no one sees them. Is there one ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Idiom for: “We should attend it even if we have to borrow money.”

I'm translating a script and I should cut this line down by about half it's syllables. I should match to the lip movement of the actors on video, and so that would be about 7 syllables. It doesn't ...