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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5
votes
4answers
420 views

Word or phrase for “one needing to see it to believe it”

What's a word or phrase that could be used to describe a person who needs to see the evidence for a claim in-person before believing it?
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there an expression that means something bad as a precursor to something good?

If someone is the bearer of bad news you might say, Don't shoot the messenger. If you have something that seems unfortunate at first but ends out wonderful you might say it's a blessing in disguise. ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Is there a word for scrambling lyrics because the melody is repeated?

I'm a huge fan of the musical Les Miserables. Oftentimes I will find myself absentmindedly singing songs from the musical while I'm doing mindless tasks like cleaning. Since certain melody phrases ...
2
votes
5answers
75 views

A word or phrase for rigging a request or situation for failure (despite appearances to a third party)?

Imagine we have three individuals: Alice, Bob, and Carol. Bob asks Alice to write a letter to Carol asking for a favor. Alice wants Carol to refuse to do the favor for Bob, but for it to appear to ...
1
vote
2answers
191 views

What do you call someone interested in learning many languages?

What do you call a person who is interested in many languages? I think linguist and polyglot refer to a person who is already well-versed. I need a word for a person who is just interested and ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

The fear of not seeing one's mother ever again

Is there a word to describe the fear of never again seeing one's mother (or at least any person)? I have already checked the list of phobias that Wikipedia offers but could not find anything that ...
5
votes
2answers
401 views

Looking for a phrase similar to “outlive” but in alcohol drinking context

I'm wondering if there is a phrase that has similar meaning with "outlive" but in alcohol drinking context. Example sentence: "I have a very high alcohol tolerance, I will [phrase] you all". ...
1
vote
4answers
103 views

Phrase required for “Defeated person is more dangerous”

In my native language there exists a phrase Injured snake A wounded snake is assumed to be more vigorous/dangerous. Are there any similar phrase/idiom/proverb in English?
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Where did the phrase “Holy Toledo” come from?

I was reading online and noticed this phrase in the comments. What is the origin of this phrase?
5
votes
3answers
103 views

Formal alternative for “dos and don'ts”

I want to write "dos and don'ts", or an equivalent expression, in a university essay. I am assuming that it is not very academic to write "dos and don'ts", so does anyone have a better way of putting ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

“Neither-nor” as an adjective?

I'm reading in a newspaper: "He is a neither-nor judge." Is the phrase correct?
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it common to say “late girlfriend”?

I know late wife is a common term (dead wife). How about late girlfriend? If that's not the case, what's the most used term?
-1
votes
1answer
79 views

Word for 'Lacking a subject'

The poet Medbh McGuckian often lacks subjects in her sentences, for example: "From behind the moon boys' graves \ bleed endlessly" ~ From Love Affair with Firearms She doesn't ever define the ...
1
vote
5answers
243 views

What is the English equivalent for the Spanish saying “God gives bread to those who have no teeth”?

There is an interesting popular saying in southern European countries, that in Spanish, for instance, says: "Dios da pan a quien no tiene dientes". Literally, "God gives bread to those who have no ...
2
votes
3answers
63 views

What's a phrase used to describe a “user defined” dream?

I have this strange ability to be able to control the events and environment in my dream. I know the term lucid dreaming means that you are aware of being in a dream, but this goes a step further. Is ...
3
votes
7answers
118 views

Fearing rejection from others and hence hesitant about it

Is there a term for the situation when we falter about making a suggestion or flinch from giving an answer or hesitating to take an action fearing ridicule of others or their rejection? Is there a ...
3
votes
6answers
161 views

Word for lack of comprehension of something easy to comprehend

So, I was watching this Vsauce youtube video, which discusses Déjà vu, Presque vu, and Jamais vu. Now, all three concepts are something I'm aware of and have experienced, but it made me think of ...
1
vote
6answers
122 views

Another idiom that has the same meaning as “mere ink on paper” or “words without actions”

Is there an English idiom that has the same meaning as "words without actions" or "mere ink on paper"? Especially in the field of economics.
1
vote
2answers
108 views

What's it called when one is so familiar with a language that phrases just “sound” right or wrong?

Native speakers, especially those who have read a lot of writing or literature for a given language, acquire the ability to "know" whether something is grammatically correct (or not) just from their ...
1
vote
3answers
34 views

Too much complexity being bad - phrase or common anology for the concept of

Something I've been trying to express concisely recently is the concept that using (or making) something that is too complicated/complex for the user to understand/fix can be a bad thing. Is there a ...
30
votes
15answers
5k views

What's it called when you lose contact with reality when watching a movie?

Sometimes, when I watch a (real good) movie, I feel like the movie "sucks me into the screen". I feel that I am really inside the movie, really watching real persons acting in real situations. I do ...
3
votes
2answers
254 views

Someone who doesn't learn from the mistakes he made

Is there a word or phrase that neans someone who doesn't learn from his mistakes or makes the same mistakes again?
1
vote
4answers
178 views

What is the best word or phrase for comments provided by a guide?

What is the word that can be used to describe commentary given by a guide during a tour? For example riding on guided tour of a city where guide tells you about different objects of interests. ...
4
votes
6answers
156 views

What is it called when something is unimportant for several years, and then it becomes important?

I've been writing a paper about a math concept (called "permanent") that, upon its discovery, nobody really cared about it because it has very few useful properties. It was until several years later ...
1
vote
5answers
99 views

Word/phrase that means “the sound that is produced when objects are being moved by a stream”

Is there a word/phrase for that? Example: I closed my eyes, and listened to the [...] stones.
-1
votes
2answers
109 views

Is this sentence correct English?

I am not a native English speaker. But I would like to know if the following sentence is correct? "Choose a password at least 6 characters long." Or should it be something like "Choose a password ...
4
votes
5answers
262 views

Less-technical synonym for “timestamp”

I've already looked at Is there a word for "a point in time"?, but there doesn't seem to be any answers other than "timestamp". While I agree that it is the most technically accurate ...
5
votes
3answers
95 views

Is there a word or phrase for ethical value based on economic value?

I'm not even certain that such an ethics system exists, but I can think of at least a few people who consider economic levity to be a sign of moral absolutism, and that those who are economically ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

Is there more than a 'double' whammy?

I have three (could grow to be more) bad reasons for a situation and I wondered if there is such a thing as a triple whammy that is an extension of the double whammy. From my research online, a triple ...
2
votes
6answers
531 views

The opposite of “one size fits all”

Is there a neat word or phrase that summarizes the opposite of "one size fits all"? "One size does not fit all" is not an option. What am looking for is something that means "different sizes for ...
3
votes
3answers
78 views

Looking for a word or phrase that conveys the modification of something in a certain way

We have a piece of software that takes client provided data and processes it. A lot of times our client's data will fail because the data in a particular field is either too long or missing ...
11
votes
8answers
4k views

How to describe a guy who is popular with girls?

Perhaps I should make it clear: - He naturally attracts girls. - He doesn't chase girls and have no intention for any relationship. - You just see him often together with girls.
6
votes
6answers
496 views

Who excels under pressure?

I am not looking for phrases that mean to keep your poise or have courage. I am looking for something - word or phrase - the succinctly describes someone who is better under pressure. An example ...
1
vote
5answers
229 views

What word or phrase means 'that which provides a sense of meaning to one's life'?

As in, "driving is my passion and my x". I've been doing my head in looking for some sort of term which denotes such a thing, and I'm also concerned using the term "passion" might render the term I'm ...
12
votes
11answers
3k views

Term for student who was thrown out of university?

Is there a term or even a noun for a student who was thrown out of college/universite etc.? I want to emphasize that he was willing to continue, but was dismissed permanently (e.g. due to severely ...
1
vote
3answers
39 views

Alternatives for “similar to other studies”

When you want to compare the results of a research to other studies, you can use Similar to other studies, the current study indicates that ... What are other alternatives for 'Similar to ...
0
votes
2answers
158 views

A word or phrase meaning the opposite action of embedding

When I want my document to be displayed the same on different devices, I can embed used fonts in the document. But sometimes I want my documents to take less space so I want to remove previously ...
2
votes
5answers
112 views

Idiom for “don't put me with somebody together in the same sentence”

I am looking for an idiom used when people say that you are as good/bad as somebody, but you don't agree with it because you think you are not on the same level as them, or that you are way better ...
3
votes
3answers
131 views

Word or phrase for all changes to an employee’s role/position/level?

What is a suitable word or phrase describing all changes to an employee’s role/position/designation/level in a company? These changes would include promotions/demotions (e.g. “Staff” to “Executive”), ...
0
votes
3answers
49 views

Referring to two or more choices [duplicate]

Example: I wasn't sure if it was A, B, or C. [...], I still knew I would fail. I thought of either way but I think is not grammatically correct. What should I chose if I'm referring to two or ...
6
votes
10answers
892 views

How to describe useless conversation?

Is there a word or concise English expression for the kind of discussion that is heated, perhaps a bit contentious or pretentious, but ultimately off-topic, vague, or too abstract to be useful? A ...
0
votes
5answers
157 views

Another way of saying “as if it didn’t even exist”

This will be the opening sentence for a book chapter, so please forgive me for being a little hypercritical here... And it's also an important statement: 'X' may be the most important invention in ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

What do you call the directions orthogonal to uptown/downtown in Manhattan?

While in many places, the notions of "uptown" and "downtown" can be somewhat fuzzy and vague, in Manhattan, these two words have clear definitions - if you are standing on nth Street, then uptown is ...
4
votes
4answers
73 views

Synonyms for “content” in publishing

A document in a hypertext system (commonly "a web page") consists of navigation elements, advertising elements, and what a lot of authors call "content". The "content" carries the information for ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Better name for filter condition operators?

I’m developing a data filtering system and am a little confused regarding how to name the condition operators for this system. Which of these cases are preferable (or quite applicable) for filter ...
1
vote
2answers
18 views

term for the review of available technologies

I'm looking for a phrase analogous to "literature review", but referring to the review of technologies available to solve a particular problem. That is, what would I call the process of comparing the ...
2
votes
4answers
58 views

Term for marking stating the date or year something was built or established

An arch might be engraved with "MCMLXII". A company logo might say, "since 1873". A sidewalk might be stamped with "08/2012". What do you call these markings?
4
votes
3answers
256 views

Phrase for pooling funds with others for a purchase

I got an email today from a parent in my son's K class for a party the kids will be hosting for their teacher. Part of the content was this: I'm asking for volunteers for the following: ...
-1
votes
2answers
106 views

humor phrase meaning “I enjoy making my life harder”

How can one make some humour by the following Q/A pair, Q: Cosa fai nella vita? ===> what do you do ? A: Me la complico ===> ? (I enjoy making my life harder)
7
votes
4answers
808 views

Is there an opposite of tightfisted that also contains reference to a hand?

Is there an opposite of tightfisted that also contains reference to a hand? The opposite of 'tightfisted' is always 'generous'. I want a word, idiom, or phrase that means generous but with reference ...