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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3
votes
4answers
2k views

Word for a male that prefers female companions (no slang such as “pimp”)

I am looking for a word describing a man who has a lot of female friends, and who prefers female friends. I was "Wikipedia surfing" (going through Wikipedia pages and clicking on links found within ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

Formally saying that you are laughing without euphemisms or colloquialism without referring to yourself

I want to know how one can manage to assert that they are laughing without using euphemisms or colloquialism in first person, for example in a letter, without referring to yourself, that is saying ...
7
votes
2answers
944 views

A word for a person who is made a villain by their circumstances, not necessarily by their actions

I was watching the movie Leon: The Professional. The protagonist, Leon, is a hitman — not somebody we traditionally sympathize with. The antagonist is a crooked DEA agent, pretty despicable ...
2
votes
6answers
37k views

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face?

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face. Is there anything better than calling him a "Pleasing personality"?
0
votes
2answers
257 views

Is there any word for the upper inner part of a sock?

I was about to answer a question on this thread, and I wanted to refer to the inner upper part of a sock. Something like this: Put a small label inside the inner upper part of your socks. But ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Suitable word or phrase to replace 'unique' when something is almost unique?

I have this sentence as part of an abstract Verification of space weather forecasts presents some unique challenges compared with other types of forecasts. I go on to detail briefly what those ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

English equivalent of a Malayalam saying

There is a saying in Malayalam which can be roughly translated as "In the land where noone has a nose, the broken-nosed one is the king". Is there a way to express the same sentiment in English?
1
vote
8answers
636 views

Term that means adaptation to a suboptimal situation

If you are not only accepting a situation that is not what you wanted, but are taking steps to adapt to that situation, is there a word/phrase that describes this? Neither "resignation" or ...
1
vote
3answers
148 views

a word for “want you to be”; as in “want to [word] you”

being deferential to authority is what they want to teach you being deferential to authority is what they want you to be (correct but not beautiful) The second version is more correct but I ...
8
votes
8answers
450 views

Word/phrase for something that succeeds in first attempt

You are a creator. You are fearless. Though you lack expertise at the moment, your work has the ability to be decent most of the time. You tinker, you fail. You keep failing and start seeing the ...
1
vote
6answers
1k views

Expression similar to 'freak out'

For usage like this: I freaked out when I saw that file was not there. Every time I talk to him, he freaks me out by his strange stories. What similar expressions can I use instead of ...
10
votes
13answers
1k views

Word or phrase for 'a much hyped discovery which later turns out to be insignificant or of no value'

In the company where I worked before, the team of specialists which handled customer dissatisfaction issues often came up with seemingly brilliant solutions which would initially appear to be key ...
-4
votes
1answer
2k views

Missing the trees for the forest [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Asking for an idiom according to literal translation I think I came up with a new phrase, similar to the devil in details. Appreciate if you find it applicable and ...
36
votes
10answers
9k views

“To shoot out of cannon into sparrows”

In Russian we have idiom/saying "To shoot out of cannon into sparrows" (literal translation) which is used to convey an idea of applying too drastic measures to small problems. I believe there should ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

A term to describe “thinking something bad is good”

Let's say someone has an idea that he/she thinks is really good, but in reality it is actually not a very good idea. How can I describe this kind of mentality?
4
votes
5answers
663 views

Is there an English idiom “in threes and fives” to describe arriving, gathering, or leaving of people in a pair, trio, or group in succession?

We say ‘san-san-go-go – 三三五五’ in Japanese to describe the status of people coming, arriving, gathering, going, or leaving in a pair, trio, or group in succession in such a way, People gathered in the ...
0
votes
2answers
859 views

Word to describe a company's brand, products and services

I'm trying to find a word or phrase that sums up a company's brand, products and services. I'm thinking something along the lines of "company initiatives," but that doesn't seem to sum up the three.
0
votes
6answers
2k views

How to describe students who don't study hard

I want to describe a situation here: The students who study hard usually get better grade, but in contrast the students who didn't study hard usually get poor grade. However, I don't want to ...
-1
votes
3answers
151 views

Saying that some action is optional

I am trying to find phrase or word which would properly cover following statement: You can bring back the book tomorrow if you like, and if not it is fine. I am trying to find a way to same that ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What are some colloquial English phrases for 'a child acquiring its parents' characteristics or features'?

I am not sure if the title is clear enough to you, so let me briefly explain what I'm looking for. We sometimes see children who look very much like their father or mother, or even behave typically ...
0
votes
1answer
397 views

Word to mean the specific component part of a honeycomb?

In the context of a math paper, I want to talk about the individual hexagonal parts of a honeycomb. "cells" can be ambiguous and "hexagonal prisms" is technically incorrect (the back of the cavity is ...
0
votes
2answers
134 views

Redeeming, sort of. Need a better word!

My site has a feature where users can buy, or they can obtain a code that will allow someone else to buy it for them. The part of the page that lets the buyer input the code and gift the item to the ...
6
votes
5answers
366 views

A word for non-language sound

I am looking for a word that describes audio that does not contain words. For instance: John William's piece Duel of the Fates would be this, since they are just vocables for their musical effect, ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

An idiom to describe someone who thinks he/she is wiser than others

Is there an idiom in English to describe someone who thinks he/she is smarter/wiser than everyone else? In Polish, we have an idiom, which literally translated, would sound like: He/she has eaten ...
0
votes
3answers
22k views

A word or phrase for “someone who learns from their mistakes” [closed]

What would be a word or short phrase for "someone who learns from their mistakes"? I thought of insightful, but am not satisfied with it.
13
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an idiom that corresponds to the Hungarian expression “fall off the other side of the horse”?

There's a Hungarian phrase that can be literally translated as something like "fall off the other side of the horse". (The literal implication is either that instead of falling off this side of the ...
-5
votes
4answers
747 views

“You really take the biscuit!”

Is there an American version of “You really take the biscuit!”? As in taking the last biscuit, i.e. it's incredible how selfish you are.
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Word or phrase to describe an activity that is “used to pass time”

Aside from pastime, what is a word or phrase that can be used to describe an activity that is not pleasurable and used only as a diversion while letting time pass?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Different types of whistling

Are there terms or succinct phrases that describe the different ways of whistling listed below? The standard put-your-lips-together-and-blow Tongue against bottom teeth Sticking two fingers (thumb ...
-2
votes
1answer
826 views

I need a word for the time just before some other moment. Like upon, only in reverse [closed]

I wrote a program that must add to some log entry (of some event) a note if event happened just before some other major event or along with it. And i cannot select a good word for this. This word ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Opposite of “straight talk”

What is the opposite for the straight talk idiom? How do I best call the activity when someone makes a very long preamble before he says what he wants?
2
votes
5answers
432 views

What do you call activities you do to keep your curiosity alive?

Is there a single word for activities which you engage in to keep your curiosity or interest in a certain field alive? I mean is there some word that conveys the idea that the series of activities ...
2
votes
2answers
660 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Word to describe an attribute one would either love or hate

He has an audacity that those who know him either adore or despise. His audacity is _____ . There's only two kinds of people: those who love olives and those who hate it. Olives have a _____ ...
3
votes
6answers
160 views

Oxymoronic soundtrack — mismatch audio to visuals

I am looking for a word or a turn of phrase to describe a situation whereby the music or a soundtrack does not go with the visuals of a film at all. This is to perhaps make it more poignant and create ...
1
vote
6answers
4k views

An alternative, less casual phrase for 'been there, done that'?

Meaning: To have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency. Origin: This phrase began life in the early 1970s, in the short form 'been there', ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How to describe strength of keeping things simple and beautiful

I'm writing performance review of one of my colleagues that includes describing his strengths. For example, one of his strengths is Communication. He can quickly resolve conflicts with co-workers, ...
3
votes
5answers
381 views

What is an inverse phrase for “topping-off”?

I’m looking for a term or phrase that is the inverse equivalent to the action of “topping-off”, like a gas tank, but meaning “to completely empty.” Not a steady state (empty, depleted), but more a ...
21
votes
15answers
9k views

What do you call someone who exploits people and their confidence using ‘clever speech’? [closed]

I am referring to someone who makes people ‘buy’ what he says and gets things done by them through nothing but clever speech – something one can describe as crafty or beguiling, but not fraudulent. I ...
4
votes
3answers
509 views

What would be a good idiom for this?

In Hebrew there is an idiom that translates to English like this: "To go without and to feel with". The usual meaning is that one doesn't have some object or ability but is nevertheless is able to act ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Idiom for “The solution for the problem is the cause itself”

Is there an idiom or phrase which means: The solution for the problem is the cause itself. I was thinking of Use the snake to suck out the venom which, I'm unsure, is a valid phrase.
2
votes
3answers
985 views

More concise words for “Ask for help and learn from others”

I’m looking to summarize an idea into as few words as possible — to make it as concise as possible. The idea is to ask others for help (putting ego aside), value others’ input, listen to others, learn ...
4
votes
3answers
860 views

Alternate ways to say someone is grumpy

My manager is a pretty moody woman. Whenever she feels annoyed or doesn't like what you are doing, she would show her displeasure on her face right away. By reading her face, you would know ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Word meaning: “to make one reconsider”

I am looking for a one-word synonym (or short phrase) meaning "to make one reconsider" or "to make one rethink". This would be used in the context of explaining how an event makes one step back and ...
0
votes
2answers
788 views

“Become acquainted”, “be connected” with the connotation of “take the initiative”

Would the following sentence be idiomatic and correct? At the conference, she became acquainted with more than 20 scholars, exhibiting excellent networking skills. I was thinking saying ...
3
votes
0answers
190 views

How is she to describe how she likes him, when he doesn't know? [closed]

There's a friend of mine—let's call her Lily—and a guy—David. Lily told me that she feels very happy each time she meets, talks, plays games, dines (and so on) with David. I guess she's falling in ...
6
votes
2answers
212 views

More accurate synonyms than “Mayan apocalypse”

When describing this announcement by Australia's Prime Minister on an language learning website, the best term I could come up with was "Mayan apocalypse". It felt a little inaccurate, as it's neither ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Phrase which describes falsely improving something

Is there an aphorism or proverb in English which describes attempting to improve something fundamentally flawed by dressing it with a lot of ornament?
-1
votes
2answers
3k views

What are words that use to mean due date and cut date of a credit card? [closed]

Let's say my due date is on 15 of every month and the bank summarize my spending I made on 1 of everyone. For example, I have to pay all expense I made from January 2, 2012 to February 1 2012 on ...
7
votes
7answers
515 views

What's the best term for “geographical level”?

I'm creating an interface where users can choose which geographical level to report on. I.e., they're choosing between "Country", "State", and "City". Is there a better term than "level" to describe ...