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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14
votes
16answers
3k views

Word meaning “to begin simple but to become complex”

I'm looking for the word(s) that describes my current dilemma: I have begun a project that seemed, at its outset, quite simple - tedious, but simple. However, the further I get into the project, the ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

A specific expression that means “a child is the exact opposite of his parent(s)”

I am looking for a specific expression or phrase that means "a child is the exact opposite of his parent(s)" Is there an opposite idiom, phrase or expression of the saying: Like father, like ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

to almost meet someone at some place

Is there a common way to say in English that two people were in the same place but didn't know at the time about each other and eventually didn't meet? I know one can say they passed each other on ...
1
vote
0answers
17 views

Describing a person who prefers older (not new) or vintage things [duplicate]

Is there a word or phrase that refers to a person who prefers older (not new)or vintage things?
0
votes
4answers
58 views

Idiom for “what is apparent may not be the truth” [closed]

Is there an idiom or phrase for "what is apparent may not be the truth" The use context is: You may see XYZ in zooming off in a Ferrari. But that is only because s/he works in the dealership as a ...
8
votes
8answers
585 views

A formal reply without any useful information

What single word or short phrase could be used to say something like: I was given just a formal reply without any useful information to my letter to the government officials?
24
votes
16answers
4k views

How to indicate that I've exceeded my planned spending for some time period, but am not completely lacking money

I split my funds into weeks, and so when I've spent all of that week's money I have to tell people I can't be buying things unless needed. Often in casual conversation this comes out as "I don't have ...
5
votes
8answers
1k views

Is there a short phrase to describe forgetting to do something because something else had your attention?

I'm trying to determine if a short translation exists for the Greek word "ξεχάστηκα", which literally means "I got forgotten" but is generally used to express that the speaker forgot to do something ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Contrasting penal substitution, a phrase for co-responsibility for another's actions?

Suppose person A is responsible for the actions of B, but in addition to, not in place of, B's own self-responsibility. This is in contrast to penal substitution where A's atonement can replace B's. ...
0
votes
2answers
134 views

phrase or theory that describes “if he can do it then so can I”

What is the phrase or psychological term that describes someone who gains confidence based off of another's performance? Moreover, they use it as a motivational foundation and it relates to behavioral ...
4
votes
5answers
83 views

What is a word for a hidden story beneath the main one?

It's a lot more complicated than my title seems... I've been trying to find a word that describes this specific situation. For example, there is the story "The Wizard of Oz" and then there's the ...
0
votes
3answers
47 views

A short punchy phrase that encapsulates “the mining industry is on the improve” [closed]

A one, two or three word title that encapsulates "the mining industry is on the improve"
0
votes
1answer
94 views

Is there a word/term for a distant acquaintance?

Let's say I know and have met a person about 2-3 times and we know each other only on first-name basis(a distant acquaintance if it is), and I am trying to contact a mutual friend(a close friend of my ...
17
votes
11answers
3k views

How do you say to someone that you will reuse a sentence you've just heard from them?

How do you say to someone that you will reuse a sentence (or a joke) you've just heard from them, as-is, because you liked it a lot ? In Italian we say "Questa me la rivendo", that translated is ...
6
votes
2answers
147 views

What is the term for finding your own question?

So, I have a technical problem and I Google for an answer. The first result I find is on Stack Exchange, and the person is asking the same question. So I immediately try to like the question... and am ...
1
vote
6answers
189 views

Politically correct term similar to “red neck” [closed]

What's a non-judgmental way to say a person or group of people are "red necks" in the sense they may hold some very conservative or old fashioned beliefs. For example, someone who doesn't believe ...
0
votes
3answers
176 views

Formal and distanced way of saying sorry for replying late, but I was busy [closed]

In short, someone wrote an apology to me, I saw it and decided to wait until my life became less hectic before replying. I don't appreciate the apology as I view the motive of the apology to be for ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

Phrase/Word for 'sitting on your toes'

In my writing, I have a character who has rushed across a room and dropped to his knees before a person he believes dead. He looks like this from the side: After realizing that the dead person is ...
2
votes
3answers
238 views

Another way to say “to become a better person”

When I'm asked the generic question, "why do you do community service?" I usually respond by saying "because it makes me a better person," or "because doing community service allows me to develop ...
1
vote
2answers
32 views

Word or Phrase for the artificial accumulation of deadlines or restraints through levels of management

For instance, let's say state law allows minors to work until 11:00PM on school nights. Company policy says that minors can work until 10:30PM to be safe. The regional manager then dictates that ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Phrase for “representative of my day”

I'm looking for a phrase similar to "representative". It may be a single word as well. I've been trying to think of it for days... Example: A person is having the worst day at work. They get home and ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Presentation in pair - handing over

We will have small conference at our university and it is going to be held in English. I will speak there together with my colleague and it seems like I am going first and let him continue in the half ...
5
votes
4answers
186 views

What do you call a person that criticizes your ignorance, but does nothing to help alleviate it?

Suppose Alice and Bob are having a debate about umbrellas. Alice does not like umbrellas for a few reasons. Bob says Of course you don't like umbrellas, you don't understand the real purpose of ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

Is the expression “in seek of” acceptable?

Is this sentence correct, or are there better ways to express it: In seek of an ideal start for my career, I am applying for the PhD program at your school. Am I using the wrong verb here, ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Word or phrase describes looking around trying to gain information from surroundings

I'm looking for either a word or phrase which describes the situation of being in a strange place and feeling disoriented, and you're just looking around for basic clues as to where you are, or what's ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

How to best use 'based around your skill set' in a sentence most effectively?

I am trying to figure out which way I can convey the following sentence more convincingly. Get paid for providing hiring recommendations to hiring managers, based around your skill set. or ...
10
votes
13answers
2k views

What do you call a person who prevents his/her own progress?

There is a psychological condition that affects some people in such a way that they prevent their own progress. They fear to advance. They fear to progress and compete. They might even try to achieve ...
4
votes
9answers
585 views

A word/phrase for something massively complex

I am looking for a word to describe something that is so massively complex and poorly organized, that it collapses under it's own weight. Due to a tight word count, I would prefer to use one word, but ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Poetry where the end of the line fits with the next

Not sure if I need a word or a phrase but I'm looking for something to describe a term for poetry/song lyrics where the end of each line fits with its own line and the following line e.g. Alice ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

What were sideburns called before the Civil War?

According to reputable sources, sideburns is a corruption of burnsides, a reference to the Civil War General Ambrose E. Burnside. What was this style of facial hair called before that? I'm ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

How can I describe how profoundly I was affected?

I recently survived two brain surgeries (the first needed to be reopened after complications) on Sept 21 and Oct 9. I had a month to get things in order, raise money, coordinate my husband and son ...
3
votes
6answers
205 views

Is there a term for the amount of time one devotes to a job, as in full-time, part-time, half-time?

This question came up when I was posting job openings on a website and needed to list the various aspects of each position using label/value pairs, like so: Benefits: Included Availability: ...
3
votes
14answers
520 views

What is the word for “over-simplifying an explanation”?

I am looking for a word (or phrase, I suppose) that means/implies that an explanation of a deeply technical subject is over-simplified almost to the point of inaccuracy in order to convey a particular ...
0
votes
3answers
80 views

Stop chewing! What is it called when someone doesn't like the sound of other people eating?

My brother hates the sound of eating, chewing, slurping, swallowing etc. I am looking for either: The name of the condition or A word to describe the type of person who behaves like this
1
vote
2answers
69 views

Words/phrases for work progress

This might be a dumb question and I'm not sure if I should move this to ELL but I would like to know what words/phrases we could use - preferably a single word - for work progress that is behind ...
3
votes
5answers
68 views

Word for the bias of a profession towards itself?

I am looking for a word or phrase (possibly of the form "____ bias") that describes the bias felt by members of a profession towards their own profession, some of examples of which might be: An ...
2
votes
3answers
237 views

I'm a guy and I change my appearance to look like my female counterpart

I'm a guy and I change my appearance to look like my female counterpart just so that I can physically see someone that could understand and relate with me even from just the mirror. I would wear ...
3
votes
2answers
81 views

Does the word “midget” have any negative connotations? What would be a non-offensive term today?

Midget is a word that is usually not said because it is offensive to the "Little People". In no way am I trying to offend anyone. But my question is, is it official that the word midget has negative ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Calling this kind of situation of defeat

I am looking for a phrase to describe a situation where two people are arguing and only one of them is good with words (Let's call him 'A') and the one with limited speaking skills (let's call him ...
20
votes
11answers
3k views

Phrase to mean one is described by his name [duplicate]

I found in some other languages such as Chinese an interesting idiom which describes some people; for example, when you see a person is named "Smart" and he/she is really smart, one would say: "a name ...
24
votes
7answers
7k views

“Country” is to “national” as “city” is to…

How would I say something on a city level in comparison to a provincial level or national level? Elections are held nationally every four years, and _________ every two years.
3
votes
6answers
154 views

What is the word or phrase that describes the feeling of well-being or satisfaction from an act (for example spring cleaning)

I am undergoing a rigorous "spring cleaning" exercise, where I am either donating to charity, selling on eBay or simply throwing away old possessions. Having cleared out an entire room that was ...
6
votes
4answers
99 views

Word or short phrase for seeing without observing

I don't mean inattentional blindness, where something is right in front of you but because of your attention being elsewhere you don't notice it at all and might deny it was even there if asked later. ...
3
votes
7answers
344 views

Is there a pejorative word for a super fan? [duplicate]

Is there a particular pejorative word for super fans? People who follow a celebrity religiously no matter what, even if that celebrity does something terrible. People who'll always try and defend ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

A word/phrase to describe cooperation of scientists who lived in different times

Let's imagine that Scientist A works in some field but obviously they don't do everything from scratch but rather built upon past discoveries of, for example, Scientist B who lived 200 years before ...
1
vote
4answers
37 views

Is there an idiom for the maximum amount of surprise?

Looking for an expression of extreme surprise. I've got shock, amazement, aghast and the rest of the the thesaurus, but I'm really seeking something more idiomatic. Ideally the phrase/idiom would ...
5
votes
6answers
259 views

Pending tasks and goals

I am trying to communicate that I wish I could have done something. That "something" would be a ____________ for me. Since I speak Spanish as a first language, I am biased to think of the direct ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Word that means that a thing can not be more or less itself

In discussing Plato's Phaedo, I need to analyze Socrates's assertion that a soul can not be more or less of a soul. Is there a single word or phrase which expresses the notion is either a member of a ...
2
votes
3answers
239 views

Looking for an idiom opposite to “the more the merrier”

I am looking for an idiom or a phrase that expresses the opposite idea of "the more the merrier". Context: Five persons are taking a class in gymnastics with a private coach. Only two show up ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Literal equivalent to “fed up” [duplicate]

How can I express in an informal way that I've eaten, and ready to continue what I was doing before, akin to saying that my phone's charged up, or a petrol tank has been filled up? For example: ...