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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1
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1answer
32 views

Phrase experimentation - Marching a trough [closed]

I'm trying to touch up this part, and wondering if the above could work as a metaphor. This is my text right now: “George, it's me, .... I can't connect with my money!” he fired while marching ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

English term for aggressive street seller?

Is there an English term for the type of street seller who aggressively sells his products? The type who yell after you and may follow you as you walk down the street?
2
votes
3answers
653 views

How to say “I met someone”, but not in the romantic way [closed]

I sometimes start stories with "I met someone who (...)" or "I met a man who (...)". Being a woman, people often seem to think there is something romantic about the meeting even though that was not ...
-1
votes
3answers
187 views

What's the phrase or idiom for acting like a baby when subjected to criticism?

I was wondering whether English has a phrase or an idiom for someone acting like a baby when subjected to criticism, as well as honest and negative assessment of their actions or personality. By ...
0
votes
4answers
107 views

a word / idiom for pulling something closer for a sniff?

This is where I am: "Gliding at a low altitude, his fingers reached for a flower, plucked it and pulled it closer to his nose" / ... to smell" I'm not looking for anything too exotic, but would ...
-1
votes
2answers
272 views

Adjective which means both “Specific” and “General” simultaneously [closed]

I need an adjective which means both "Specific" and "General" simultaneously! As the explanation, the "adjective" is supposed to be used in scientific domain. The adjective would describes a ...
0
votes
1answer
197 views

Word for liking and not liking something at the same time? [duplicate]

What's a word for the feeling of liking something, but not liking it at the same time? I love the way the Spanish speak, but it bothers me at the same time. I've looked through and dictionaries asked ...
3
votes
6answers
598 views

How would one term this particular relationship?

While postulating a French universe, my brain voted that Bill Gates should become Bill Gateaux. What term or short-phrase would one use to describe the word 'Gateaux', relative to 'Gates', where the ...
5
votes
6answers
775 views

Is there any notation or abbreviated phrase meaning “this is provisional”?

I want to write on my timetable that an event will take place at "Building X, but this is provisional as it is subject to change and it may happen somewhere else." Is there any kind of notation or ...
4
votes
4answers
251 views

Word or phrase to use “when you told a story/situation and it happend you later”

English is NOT my primary language . In my language we have a phrase to use in this kind of situation . You were telling a story or a situation to your friends and later it happens you . For eg : ...
1
vote
2answers
171 views

A short alternative to describe a location very close to the city

I've racked my brains to no avail trying to find a correct and practical term to describe a location very close to the city centre (of the little town). "Close to the city" is very cliche and sounds ...
0
votes
2answers
558 views

“I like to” vs. “I'd like to”

When making a polite request, people often use the phrase, "I'd like to [SOME REQUEST]". But I also see the form, "I like to [SOME REQUEST]". For example, a former boss would arbitrarily interchange ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

What to say to find something out? [closed]

What are informal ways of saying that you'd like to get more information about an issue, recent events or a person? What would you write to someone in a letter to express this idea? Can you ...
4
votes
4answers
81 views

Is there a term for extracting a cultural element from its originating environment and placing it in a foreign and contrived context?

I have a nagging feeling there’s a word or term for this practice. The example that lead to this question has to do with a food truck. A bar/restaurant in my city has apparently had an actual truck ...
1
vote
3answers
213 views

What's the word or expression when you do something that the outcome is already decided?

I have to submit some paperwork for the approval of an activity. However, I have already got approval, the paperwork is only necessary to submit the specifics (the date, people involved, and other ...
3
votes
5answers
79 views

Provoking indecision?

Is there a word that describes someone or something that provokes indecision? "Divisive" is close to what I'm looking for. But that is generally used to describe a person or topic that splits people. ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

Word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes?

What would be a word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes? The most obvious one to me seems "puppeteer" but I feel like it has this strong implication of "direct control" to it which does ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Is there a word or phrase for when you break a word in a different place to give a different meaning?

I'm thinking similar to a compound word, but you could break the word at a different or multiple places. Granted I cannot think of a real-world example, but I have included two situations where this ...
0
votes
4answers
192 views

Word to describe a question with multiple exact correct answers

Not completely sure, but I don't believe ambiguous would qualify for the exact situation I am thinking of, though perhaps I am over thinking this in general. I have a question in a short story I am ...
55
votes
12answers
10k views

What's a less offensive substitute for “rep-whores”?

This is a frequently thrown-around term on Internet forums in general and Stack Exchange specifically. Although it conveys a lot of meaning, I'd much prefer a phrase with a less offensive origin. ...
6
votes
3answers
119 views

Is there a convenient way to say “despite and (actually) because of” in English?

I am looking for the English version of a common phrase from intellectual German, where sentences sometimes begin with trotzdem und gerade weil which could be directly translated to despite and ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Is there a word for excessive use of articles?

I'm correcting a report translated into English, and the previous version has "a" and "the" articles stuck to every noun and name. While writing a comment expressing my discontent with this misuse of ...
15
votes
8answers
924 views

A wife who knows and accepts her husband's infidelity

What do you call a wife or woman who knows their spouse or partner is unfaithful but pretends either to (1) not care or (2) to not know? In this scenario it's important that the cheating spouse or ...
1
vote
4answers
150 views

Looking for a word describing “habits which lost their original purpose”

I know there is a certain word which could describe rituals/habits which are being practiced despite the fact they lost their original purpose. I saw it in context of practicing some religious ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Alternatives to “break a butterfly on a wheel” [duplicate]

The phrase "to break a butterfly on a wheel" is very evocative, but I can't bring myself to use it: I find the "wheel" too disturbing. So: what are some good alternatives? (For those who are ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the contrastive phrase of “little to no”?

An example question of the usage of little to no: Idiom to describe something that has little to no effect? I understand that the phrase little to no effect means little effect, or worst, no effect. ...
9
votes
13answers
1k views

Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
1
vote
6answers
109 views

Word or phrase for “example earlier than the concept”

Which English word or phrase can be used to express consisely that a particular thing or occurrence can be seen as an example or instance of a general concept, for which now there is a term, ...
1
vote
2answers
516 views

Is there a verb that describes speaking with a full mouth?

I am looking for a verb that describes speaking with a full mouth, like a child asking something at the dinner table before swallowing, because they are so anxious/curious for the answer. Anything ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

Is there a word/phrase for using an expression which is directly translated and makes no sense?

I'm looking for a word (or a phrase) to describe a particular phrase or idiom which is directly translated from a foreign language and makes no sense in the language it's translated to. For instance, ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

Terser, tidier way to say you'd like “no further progression of [someone's] macular degeneration”

I'm editing a church prayer sheet, and one of the requests is that someone's specific eye disorder won't keep getting worse. The original phrasing, unfortunately, was pretty awful: "Pray for Macular ...
1
vote
2answers
150 views

Word/phrase that means “secondary” without implying a lack of importance [closed]

Trying to think of a word or short phrase to describe something as being secondary but without implying that it is unimportant.
4
votes
2answers
261 views

Adjectives to describe a big human achievement vs. a quick achievement

Premise: It took 13 years and 3 billion dollars to sequence the first human genome by scientists. What would be an adjective to describe this feat? However, now a new software can do the ...
0
votes
4answers
149 views

Exhortation to “be successful”? [closed]

I just bought a smoothie and the barista wrote the Spanish phrase "Éxitos" on my cup. My Spanish-speaking colleagues tell me this is wishing me success. I'm trying to think of an analogous English ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

'Starting with the' or 'starting the' & 'from at least OR at least from'

Which one would be correct, a. We will be starting with the interview process on 5th October OR b. We will be starting the interview process on 5th October 2 a. You should get coins at least ...
8
votes
5answers
565 views

What do you call a note that gives preliminary information before the main part?

I'm looking for a single word (if not, a natural phrase) for a note that you write before starting the main article/part/question etc. It can give preliminary information (in general). However, it ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

“Branching Factor” in military and industrial organizations?

In math, branching factor measures the (average) number of descendants in a tree; e.g., the branching factor of a binary tree is 2. How is the same number called when applied to the military (usually ...
1
vote
1answer
219 views

Alternative for “particularly interested” [closed]

What are other formal ways of saying "I'm particularly interested in..."? In this case it's for use on cover letters for CVs. The synonyms for "interested" offered by the thesaurus don't seem ...
5
votes
2answers
165 views

English play on: (Chinese) “enemies and lovers are pre-destined to meet”

Wondering what phrases English has similar to this Chinese idiom. ABC Dictionary (GoogleBooks): 183. (lit) [If we/they/you were] not rivals/enemies, there would be no encounter. (fig) ...
1
vote
7answers
877 views

Shorter way of saying “Uncertain of what was going on”?

I saw a shadow fumbling inside my closet. [...] , I screamed. I thought of the word confused but I think it doesn't have enough intensity. Is there a word/phrase that means uncertain of what was ...
35
votes
9answers
5k views

Person who pretends to not understand unless one speaks in exactly the words they expect [duplicate]

I just realized there are some people around my workplace who always try to correct me when using a certain word, saying that that's not how I should speak, and I should use other words (the ones ...
2
votes
1answer
143 views

Idiom or word for someone who opens their mouth and closes their ears in discussions? [closed]

Some individuals are not interested in listening to your opinion, and it seems like your idea either has no value to them, or they already know what you are about to say, and they talk over you or ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

Phrase “In my spare time” [closed]

In an office environment answering a customer with the response "I will work on your project in my spare time". I feel there is a more professional way to answer. Suggestions?
2
votes
4answers
171 views

Words or phrases of teacher of teachers

Is there any specific word or phrases to describe teacher of teachers? If not, how do I express this idea? More precisely,someone who train people to be teachers on their fields. Thank you very ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Words or phrases to state that taking factors into consideration at first place.

Are there any words or phrases to state that taking factors into consideration at first place? For example, maybe before I start to write a patent, I take potential rivals, expected costs and ...
3
votes
4answers
149 views

Single word or phrase - conspiratorially exchanging glances

Is there a single word or a phrase for conspiratorially exchanging glances when someone does something inappropriate?
0
votes
2answers
144 views

What is a term for having a “small” name for something that's actually “large”?

For example, referring to a 7 feet tall, 450 lb man with the nickname "Tiny".
1
vote
12answers
10k views

A word to describe not caring (socially and publically) about other people's feelings

What is the word to describe someone who does not care about other people socially and publicly, that is a word or phrase which could describe behaviors such as littering, cutting in a line, talking ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

“Degree of Proximity” or “Proximity of Blood” or “Relation Proximity”?

I'm translating a civil record to English, which has a table of information about a family registry. One of the titles is "Degree of Proximity", however I'm not sure which of the expressions suits the ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

A direct, ironic response to “How are you?” indicating that the person is in a bad mood [closed]

Imagine person A asks person B, how B is doing. B is doing bad and he or she is upset with the question (after all, nobody wants to admit that he or she is screwing his or her life up). What kind of ...