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
251 views

Idiom for or more colorful phrasing of “without having their lack of trivia exposed”

I am writing a children's book (8–12) and am looking for an idiom or more colorful language to be used in place of the highlighted section. Now that she’d stumped me, Ms. Sanders, my favorite of ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

another way of saying “being of”

I am looking for a way to replace the word "being" in the phrase "being of poor character". My instructor is very adamant that we not use being unless it is used as a noun. In this particular case, ...
1
vote
2answers
6k views

Words for “a bit sad” and “a bit happy”?

Are there words or other phrases for "a bit sad" and "a bit happy"? Thank you! Edit: I'm sorry for the confusion. I wanted at least two words: one for "a bit sad" and one for "a bit happy". Thanks ...
4
votes
3answers
707 views

A phrase whose meaning is different from a combination of its constituents?

The are phrases whose meaning is not what you would get from combining its constituent words (i.e., they violate the Principle of compositionality). Some are entity names, e.g., "weird science" ...
0
votes
2answers
88 views

Equality among multiple items?

When I have two items and they are the same, we can say that they possess "equality". Let's say I have three or four items and they are all the same. What do we call the quality that they possess? ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Word meaning you accept someones beliefs without believing in them yourself?

What is a word for when you accept someone else's beliefs, but do not believe in them yourself?
10
votes
10answers
19k views

Word meaning crying, but not crying?

You know when you see something touching and moving and you feel like tears are about to come out of your eyes, yet you're able to barely control it; how do you describe this feeling or state? i.e. I ...
3
votes
10answers
30k views

Word to describe a personality which has many interests?

I'm looking for a word, to be honest I'm not sure if such a word even exists, though this would be a word, or a phrase that describes more of a personality. Take this as an example: Bill works as ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Word to mean “then-current”

I'm searching for a word to indicate something that was current at some time in the past, but not necessarily now. For example: The doctor's report of June 2008 set forth the patient's ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Single word for “Where are you guys?”

What slang expressions can I use to express "Where are you guys?" in a single word? I am looking for a very short, informal phrase or a single word I could use to ask this question that would still be ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Other way of saying “with his/her back facing me.”

Is there another common way of saying: with his/her back facing me? For example: The person was standing in the middle of the clearing, [...back...] me. I don't want to use his/her because I ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Hanging Bats type of phrase [duplicate]

what kind of phrase is hanging bats in this sentence Hanging Bats populate most of the caves.
4
votes
6answers
1k views

What to call a person with whom you spend time just because?

What to call a person with whom you spend time not because you like them but because you haven't found anyone better? EDIT: I am asking more about a romantic kind of relationship than mere ...
0
votes
2answers
158 views

The right way to talk about my thesis?

Is either of these grammatically and semantically correct? As part of my undergraduate thesis, I undertook a project under ... or I undertook a thesis research project under ... If not, ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

A phrase for critically important [closed]

Can you please help me to find an idiom/phrase that would describe something as being of high importance. e.g. These files are ... (critically important).
0
votes
1answer
938 views

How do I say that I am certified in something in a personal statement?

In my personal statement, under the hobbies section, I am highlighting web development. I wrote something like this: Among my hobbies, I find web development to be the most interesting and I ...
2
votes
2answers
408 views

A term for someone who demotivates

What do we call a person who constantly demotivates others? For context: someone who thinks he is so brilliant in English, keeps discouraging me about the questions/answers I post.
17
votes
5answers
12k views

A word for blowing air into baby's tummy to make him (her) laugh

What do you call the action when you press your mouth against baby's tummy and blow air to make the baby laugh?
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Word or phrase for “seeing meaning where none exists”

Is there a word or a phrase to describe an instance where meaning is ascribed to something where there is no such meaning or where the interpretation is particularly fanciful? For example, when ...
2
votes
4answers
486 views

Alternative to the idiomatic phrase “highway robbery”

I was wondering whether there were any other alternatives to the phrase "highway robbery". I am trying to say the same thing in a light-hearted, but not too casual way.
1
vote
2answers
415 views

What's the phrase for food burning and sticking to the pan?

When cooking neglectfully, food sometimes burns and sticks to the pan (or pot, or whatever one is cooking in). What is this phenomenon called in English? Darn it! The spaghetti <stuck to the ...
2
votes
2answers
850 views

Is “knocking on” an idea an idiom for dismissing the idea? [closed]

For years, I thought I'd heard others say, "I don't mean to knock on your idea, but..."—and it was definitely on, not down, although I've heard knock down as well—but now that I'm looking ...
5
votes
4answers
700 views

What's a good idiom to describe someone who is included in a group only because they have something the group needs

I want a one or two word title for a character who is included in a group only because he is their "ticket" to get where they want to go. "Ticket" is what I'm thinking now but would love another ...
1
vote
1answer
276 views

Word/phrase for when an incorrect approach leads to an unexpectedly great result

Related question on Chinese.SE There is a phrase ("歪打正着" in Chinese and "怪我の功名" in Japanese) which roughly means "do the wrong thing but achieve the right result anyway". Is there a similar ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

Word for when a date is changed in retelling to a 'more significant' date

I am looking for a word or phrase to describe when a date (or other factual information, but especially dates) is changed in later retelling so that it aligns with some other date that is considered ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

What is an alternative to the phrase “what you don't know won't hurt you”? [closed]

I am looking for an alternative phrase to replace "what you don't know can't hurt you."
2
votes
5answers
240 views

The word for “professional system” or “task system”

I work with software engineering and in norwegian (I'm from Norway) we have a word, "fagsystem", which refers to a software system/application that is specialized to handle a certain kind of business ...
1
vote
3answers
299 views

If I measure myself am I only measuring my size?

In Italy when people say they measure themselves, they are not only measuring their height, or their waistlines. Instead they are measuring how well they do something in a challenging or difficult ...
0
votes
4answers
7k views

Word or Phrase for the beginning or end of an event or period of time?

I'm looking for a single word to indicate a point in time which is either the beginning or end of an event. Edit, for a better example: A bell rings at the start a round of boxing. A bell rings at ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

Good expressions to signify extensive analysis

I am looking for a way to communicate in a business context that I am carrying out extensive analysis to get to the bottom of something by synthesizing info and insights from various sources to come ...
0
votes
2answers
137 views

Is the word “radial” in proper usage if I want to describe a star-like structure?

I want to describe a star-like structure as shown in the following figure. In the figure, the center object is surrounded by a number of other objects, and there are rays pointing from the center ...
-1
votes
5answers
569 views

Specific word/phrase/idiom for the following scenario

I have a second cousin living at the end of my street, but we hardly meet. I plan to meet her soon and tell her to come out and go out for a walk. Could anyone suggest a phrase, word, or an idiom ...
9
votes
7answers
589 views

What is a word for the sensation when during a conversation you realize you were both talking about different things?

Inspired by this chat message (text is below), I have sometimes wondered if there is a word for the feeling that a person you were talking to about a particular subject was using the same words as ...
0
votes
2answers
693 views

How to phrase 'people have become acutely/increasingly aware of X' [closed]

I'm trying to convey the idea that people's behavior on the Internet is a reflection of our increasing social self-awareness, almost like a communal entity. For context, here is the paragraph I'm ...
5
votes
7answers
456 views

What is an English word which means 'bêtement'?

Bêtement is a French word whose literal meaning is 'in the manner of an animal'. It is often used metaphorically, to describe an action carried out in a robotic fashion – without thinking. How would ...
1
vote
4answers
145 views

Word for desire to be recognized as super productive by others?

Is there a word or phrase for the desire to be recognized as very productive on everything one is responsible for? Perhaps sometimes it could be a motivation for an overachiever. Or other times it ...
3
votes
3answers
287 views

term for demonstrating favorable aspects of a skill, while leaving out cautionary notes

OK, so there's the term "whitewashing" which means to omit or downplay mention of negative aspects of something, in order to mislead someone else to overlook those negative aspects. Is there a ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

How to end a resolved support ticket email? [closed]

What is the best way to word an email meant to close a "help desk ticket" submitted via e-mail? For instance, Bob sends an email to Support Team with a problem. After the Support Team solves the ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Word(s) for close family friends

There may not be anything better than in my title, but I have an idea I'm missing something. Is there a good way of expressing close friends of a family. The original and closest friendship may be ...
0
votes
3answers
230 views

Word or phrase that refers to the person who is the “focus” in a video?

In the case of, for example, birthday and weeding recordings, how do you call the people who are the main focus of the video (e.g. bride, groom and birthday boy/girl)? Example: All the [...] of ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What is the term used “When a person is called in to work on a holiday”?

Someone asked me about what term is used for a person who is called in to work on a public holiday. (He told me that it is called pump of leave, but he himself was not sure of it.) So, there are two ...
1
vote
5answers
527 views

singular and collective noun for included computer source code

In software development, one often has multiple individual files that are referenced or "included" by others. What is the noun for each one of those individual files, and what would you call the ...
15
votes
16answers
15k views

Describing “not knowing what to do” (as a response to an unexpected event that happened)?

Is there a good word or a great expression that describes not knowing what to do (as a response to an unexpected event that happened)? Something uncanny happened, and I do not know what to do. ...
-2
votes
1answer
5k views

replacement for expression “there are.” [duplicate]

So my writing teacher hates the expression "there are" in essays. Does anybody know some good substitutes for this overused expression? Thanx ya'll, much appreciated!
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Words for a person who imposes [closed]

I need a few words that describe a person who is imposing, in a context of overstaying his welcome. Someone that is present unwelcomed and you can't do your usual routines until the person is gone. A ...
4
votes
2answers
17k views

Origin of “sleep like a baby”

I believe that many, or in fact, most of you have heard the phrase "sleep like a baby". But actually, where does the phrase originate from? Personally, I don't think using baby is a good reference as ...
-1
votes
3answers
329 views

A phrase for “Actions to do”

I want to list some actions that needs to be done and can't find a good phrase for it. I want to write something like: Now we're creating appropriate elements. Operational summary: 1. doing X ...
4
votes
4answers
994 views

What do you call stand up comedy when not performed to a live audience?

Live comedy is often called stand up. What would you call a comedy video not performed to an audience? This could be characters performing a story, someone talking to a camera, or someone more ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you describe this particular way of sitting?

In Japanese, there's this thing called 横座り (yokozuwari, lit. "side-sitting") that looks like this: Basically, you sit on your knees, but then partially swing your legs out to one side. Is there a ...
3
votes
8answers
2k views

Alternative term to 'Uncle Tom' for a black or colored person who is subservient to whites?

In Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, the eponymous character was meant to be a sort of model of resistance against slavery, a man who whose "devotion to his fellow slaves is so unshakable that he ...