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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
6answers
173 views

A word or phrase to describe quick thinking in the moment

Let me describe the situation where I want to use word or phrase: I was reading a particularly interesting book that I happened upon somewhere deep inside my university library. The book had a ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

idiom for proceeding slowly and with difficulty

Is there an idiom I could use if I wanted to say that someone is doing something with a lot difficulty and slowly? I cannot think of anything. Thanks Edit from comment: For example: You have learnt ...
-1
votes
2answers
90 views

Word for people of low comprehension

What is a person called who has a low ability to understand? A person who can't or doesn't understand during communication and complains again and again, "I do not understand what are you saying."
0
votes
2answers
41 views

Role Title Word That Conveys a Sense of Direction/Command as well as Engagement of Particular Skills in Work

I'm looking for an eloquent word, if one exists, for a role in one's profession whereby they direct and mentor a team with a particular set of skills, but also clearly engage in work with said skills ...
0
votes
2answers
176 views

Phrase for arranging a meeting - 'anytime you can' [closed]

I want to arrange an interview, pointing out that I am available at any time convenient to him. I don't know the correct form for saying this. And although he has not asked for my contact information ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

What's the word (or phrase) for the phenomenon that something suddenly works when you try to show an error [duplicate]

As the title describes, I'm looking for a word or phrase that describes the phenomenon that a bug/error/etc. disappears when you want to show it to someone. Example: Your Internet connection does not ...
-1
votes
1answer
108 views

I'm interested in finding a complicated sentence that has a very simple meaning [closed]

If you know of any or can think of a complicated sentence that has a very simple meaning, please comment! I want to use this as an example of why coming to terms with an author is important. And why ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Generic form of “first world problems”

The term "first world problems" refers to a petty thing complained about by someone living in the upper or middle class. Is there are word or phrase that means problems or complaints about things ...
4
votes
0answers
63 views

A formal English word or phrase for “badass?” [duplicate]

This is an odd question, but I was wondering if there is an English formal word connoting the same concept that the word "badass" conveys. To be exact, I mean "badass" as in someone who is maybe ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

English Equivalent Of 抓耳挠腮

The Chinese term 抓耳挠腮 means something along the lines of: scratching one's ears/cheeks/head in embarrassment or tweaking one's ears and scratching one's cheeks (as a sign of anxiety or delight). Here ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

Euphemisms for rejection (man-women and vice versa)

Example: The more time passed, the more sure I became she’d [...] me. The most common word in this case is reject. I'm wondering, though, what euphemisms I can use aside from turn down?
-1
votes
4answers
91 views

Asking a question in a formal and clever form [closed]

I want to say that, because [you're a student] of Maryland university, I thought you live there, but I want to say it in a clever and also formal form. How should I say this: "I thought you are in ...
0
votes
1answer
187 views

Using a polite and correct sentence to ask for more time [closed]

I want to reply my professor's email. I want to ask him to give me a week so I read more, and I also want to tell him that I found a basic paper. I don't know if I should write like this: I want ...
1
vote
3answers
67 views

Confirming one's interest in a project [closed]

Someone asked me if I am interested in doing a project, I want to answer: "yes!" Is it ok to say this: (I am going to learn from him in this project more than really collaborating) "I like to ...
10
votes
8answers
1k views

Word for people who just comment rather than act on something

Is there any word referring to people who sit and comment rather than act. Example: Reading morning newspaper headline, sad news and discuss over tea rather than act and do something toward it.
1
vote
1answer
153 views

Any alternative to “on the one hand, on the other hand”

I'm writing a formal academic article to introduce some facts. For example: On the one hand, the government would like more energy, but on the other hand, it is not prepared to find more extra ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Word/phrase for seeing something for the first time and being impressed

I'm looking for a word that can best describe a thing that you see when you first come to a place, a thing so strange or unusual that you didn't think something like that could exist (or you have been ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

English equivalent of “a**holes don't have horns”

We have this expression in Hindi slang. Situation: A: "I can't believe he treated me like that. I was stupid to trust him" B: "Don't beat yourself up. How were you supposed to know he would ...
0
votes
3answers
95 views

Alternatives to “Such As” [closed]

It will be more difficult for Bobby to behave well if Peggy is aggressive, such as hitting him or teasing him. What is the right clause, expression or phrase to use instead of such as. That ...
1
vote
5answers
262 views

Rephrase “to the best of my knowledge”

In my master thesis I want to state that I did not find any related work except for one paper. In scientific papers the authors often use the phrase "To the best of our knowledge, ...". However since ...
1
vote
3answers
102 views

Both arguments are correct

I wrote a paper about two opposing arguments. My conclusion was that the two arguments may be correct. Is there an idiom or phrase that means two opposite things may be correct, independent of each ...
0
votes
3answers
193 views

What do you call something that doesn't let you sleep?

Especially a thought. Example: Like last night, I couldn't sleep. This time, however, [...] wasn't my upcoming wedding, but the fact that I was going to get fired tomorrow. So like a ...
0
votes
1answer
116 views

What's a good opposite of 'razor-thin'?

I'm looking for a good opposite of 'razor-thin'. It's got to have an analogy to something that's inherently a thick object. A generic adjective that fits into the template "xxx-thick" would be exactly ...
0
votes
4answers
247 views

What's a metaphor/expression for “confirmation”?

Example: I already knew about what she said. Her words were merely a [...]. I checked Thesaurus but none of the synonyms seem like a metaphor/expression. Maybe go ahead?
0
votes
2answers
101 views

alternate phrase for 'satisfying the thirst'? [closed]

I am trying to compose a poetry. There is a line which goes like this - 'you are like a river that'll satisfy the the thirst of the sea/ocean ' . I want to know if there are alternative phrases for ...
-1
votes
3answers
170 views

alternate phrase for “signing acceptance” in an agreement? [closed]

I need alternate words for "signing your acceptance" in an agreement.
8
votes
10answers
2k views

Phrase for criticism/insults concealed with humor

Passive aggressive people will sometimes veil insulting, critical, derogatory or generally aggressive comments with humor. The patina of humor makes the comment seem like a joke, not to be taken ...
0
votes
3answers
99 views

Synonyms or other ways of saying “once there”?

Example: We went to the roof terrace. Once there, we leaned on the railing and gazed the stars. Thesaurus has synonyms for once, but not for once there. I don't know where else to look. I ...
3
votes
3answers
113 views

Formal alternatives for: “There is not a need”

I am writing a formal technical report and I would like some advice about an expression I want to use. I have a sentence which I want to make more formal: The merit of their approach is that ...
1
vote
4answers
260 views

Word or phrase to describe the “overly feminine” stereotype

While writing up a persona, I am trying to describe a woman who (I say) is confidently female, but not "overly feminine". By this I wish to mean the stereotype of a sophisticated woman who ...
8
votes
5answers
397 views

What's a side remark called when it's meant as something sarcastic or secretive?

What do you call the gesture when someone makes a sarcastic or parenthetical side-comment? It's usually something related to the original comment that's said quietly to someone else, sometimes ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

A more elegant way of writing “attempt to replicate them” for Teaching Statement

I'm writing up my Teaching Statement for an Assistant Professor position in the sciences. Because all I do is read and write science, I have no elegance in my writing at all! I'm trying to make the ...
-1
votes
1answer
46 views

Collective Success over Individual Action

Is there a word or phrase that captures the essence of collective success (as a group or team) over the action or accomplishment of individuals? Could be something borrowed in English from other ...
-1
votes
2answers
133 views

When to use “Do you mind…?” and when “Would you mind…?”

I know that "Would you mind… ?" (the Present Conditional) is more polite than "Do you mind…?" (the Simple Present), and also, that they have to be completed this way: "Do you mind if I do sth?/Would ...
-1
votes
2answers
123 views

word for a person who has shared similar experiences? [duplicate]

I am writing a paper on teaching life writing texts, and I have a section that discusses the benefits to a reader who has gone through the same traumatic experiences as the author of the text. My ...
0
votes
2answers
43 views

Word to describe the occurrence of two adjacent anagrams

If you have two words that are anagrams of each other and are used next to each other, what is that occurrence called? (fee free to correct the way I've phrased the question if it is grammatically ...
1
vote
2answers
28 views

“At peak” without implying it'll never improve again?

If something is currently at it's highest state ever achieved (so the right-most point on a graph would be the highest point) I have a tendency to want to say that it's "at its peak", but as far as I ...
3
votes
3answers
178 views

Phrase to describe a place where people write in a language

There is an expression "X-speaking country", where X is any language. How to describe a place (e.g internet forum) where people write in a language? For example, people usually write in English on ...
3
votes
5answers
207 views

Is there an idiom or set phrase for “pretending not to understand an innuendo”?

You understood perfectly what the other person said but preferred to act as if you hadn't. For any reason: it may be that any reply would be embarrassing, it might start an argument, or would make you ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Lost In Punctuation

Usually, when a piece of text is translated from one language to some other language, and (due to slightly different idioms, phrases, words, etc.) the end meaning is changed, then it is attributed to ...
1
vote
3answers
63 views

A word or succinct descriptor for someone no longer found physically attractive

I am looking for a word or succinct descriptor for a person whose appearance has changed such that they are no longer found to be physically attractive by the speaker/writer. The ideal answer should ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Idiom that means “to understand a story better by listening to it from the beginning?”

Example: "I think I should I start my story from the beginning. That way you can [...]. Is there any idiom for that? Preferably idioms that evoke something physical, imagery.
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Escorting a guest before saying goodbye as a sign of respect or caring

In the two cases below, what is the host doing to the guest? First example: When you go to someone's home for dinner, after the party, the host walks you out and says goodbye in the street rather ...
0
votes
3answers
99 views

Another word for 'audience'

How else can you refer to an audience, beside as audience, when you mean people who are reading a book? I have thought of: audience readership readers/reader etc To clarify: I want ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Word or phrase to describe a couple that is perfect?

What is a good word or phrase for a couple that is perfect? Would that be referred to as a good match, or is there a better choice? Also, is there a word or phrase to describe that when the ...
1
vote
4answers
70 views

Is there a specific term for treating a system as if it had *motives*?

Imagine some complex system that may have a wide variety of possible actions/outputs, and that to some extent may be responsive to its circumstances. I'm trying to find a suitable term (hopefully a ...
14
votes
4answers
456 views

What should we call language that intentionally conveys the opposite of the literal meaning?

This seems to me to be a kind of rhetorical figure, but I cannot find a classical term for it in Silva Rhetoricae. Examples include the following from Tristram Shandy (Vol. 2 Chap. 24): I define a ...
-1
votes
3answers
139 views

Is there a politer way of saying 'don't get you panties in a bunch'? [closed]

I'm from India, and here this phrase is likely to offend people, especially women. I'm looking for a phrase that means 'Don't worry' in a similarly colorful, humorous way. EDIT: I'm looking for a ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

“Correct” way to describe “looking at someone with new eyes” or similar?

I'm not a native English-speaker, so I'm not sure how to "correctly" phrase the following... When you learn something new about a person, than makes you look at him "with new eyes" - and perhaps ...
4
votes
11answers
291 views

What is the perfect word/idiom/phrase for a situation when enforcement of a system is futile?

What is the proper English word for a scenario where a valid/lawful/best thing can not be established because other things are not at their best. For example, you are unable to enforce food hygiene ...