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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3
votes
8answers
655 views

A word or phrase for “temporarily not working”

Is there a word or phrase for temporarily not working since one has gone on vacation? I thought out of work could be used but that means unemployed or having lost one's job EDIT I am looking for a ...
1
vote
2answers
109 views

A better way of articulating 'ataractically candid'

I'm trying to convey the sense of a rare moment of tranquility in the mind of a confused, flawed and tormented character. This is the most ataractically candid thing I've ever written. This ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

How to phrase “define analyses” using only nouns?

English is not my mother tongue, and I am wondering how to best phrase define analysis using two nouns. It could be define analyses, too: it doesn’t matter whether it’s plural or singular. To me, ...
1
vote
4answers
429 views

Better phrase for “not throwing good money after bad” [closed]

I have a friend who is shrewd in his business decisions: he often takes a painful step if it is overall cheaper than something that might feel morally satisfying but comes at higher cost. I want to ...
2
votes
4answers
587 views

How to describe the various ways in which one can experience something?

I'm looking for a word that means "The various manners in which one is able to enjoy, gain fulfillment from, and/or experience a given activity." For example, you could say "The <filler noun> ...
3
votes
3answers
206 views

Phrase for someone taking over business when you skip for humanity

Is there a witty or general saying of indicating the act of taking over a business when a person, business or country skips an opportunity for general benevolence? Examples: If I don't sell weapons ...
1
vote
4answers
354 views

Is there a better way to refer to “Real Life” when chatting online?

When having a conversation through an online service, you may encounter a scenario like this: (Messenger chat) Me: Hello Stranger! Stranger: Hello! Me: What do you think of Barack Obama? Stranger: ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Is word 'request' by itself as polite form of asking for something?

Is there a difference in the degree of politeness between saying 'I request that you...' and 'Could you, please, ...'? I realize that I could say 'I kindly request...' or 'I would like to kindly ...
2
votes
3answers
311 views

Idiom wanted for means and ends

There is a common Russian expression, literally translated as "winners are not judged". The meaning is that one can get away with cutting corners and/or employing less-than-wholesome means in pursuit ...
1
vote
3answers
92 views

Better term for “time-evolving charts”

I am working on charts to show every day climate parameters such as temperature and precipitation over a period of time. I used the term "time-evolving charts". Is there a better term to show the ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Receivables/lend

If I lend an amount of $100 to my friend, I can refer to the amount as receivable. Suppose she returns $100 (or $70) after one week, what should I call this amount? It is the "return amount which is ...
-1
votes
5answers
162 views

What is the word/reference for a paranoid reluctance to answer something because of bandwagoning superstition?

Let's say there's a large group of people who are under a negative influence but are forced to keep quiet about the fact or they may face brutal consequences. My idea comes from the book "Watership ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

English equivalent of a Kannada proverb

The saying goes like "ಬಡವನ ಸಿಟ್ಟು ದವಡೆಗೆ ಮೂಲ". When roughly translated to English it means: A poor man's anger only hurts his jaw [due to all the grinding of teeth in the process]. How to ...
3
votes
3answers
174 views

A word or phrase describing “cheap talk” or “cheap issues”

Cheap talk like a kind of talking back of actors'/actresses' lives or an interview about their secret lives in some popular magazines or cheesy show off like reality shows you can find in TV channels. ...
1
vote
4answers
238 views

Somebody who is kind, yet hard, but fair

A person who speaks kindly. Sometimes she might be hard, but fair. What is an adjective to describe such person?
2
votes
5answers
300 views

Description of physical labor

Looking for a phrase that means putting your back or muscle into a task, like rowing. Is there another word for "it", as in "put your back into it"---is there another way to say it, such as "leaning ...
2
votes
5answers
620 views

Ruining something for someone else (spoils of war?)

Lately I've been thinking of a saying that describes the following: Ruining something for someone else, for the sole purpose of it not being useful any more to the other party, even though you do ...
-2
votes
1answer
81 views

Phrase for “human handling time” [closed]

I want to say the product reduces the "human handling time" from 1 hours to 5 minutes. I googled "human handling time" (the whole phrase), but only 21 results are shown. What I should use to replace ...
7
votes
3answers
364 views

Word or phrase for premeditated act of self defense

Consider a scenario where a person is forced to act and attack a person who they consider to be a threat even though there has been no display of such threat. I am talking about sensing danger and ...
8
votes
10answers
3k views

“You get what you deserve nothing more nothing less”

In this world we reside, what we acquire depends on what we can acquire. In other words, if we have the money to, we can buy a house; if we have the necessary educational qualifications to, we can get ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

What is it called when people wrongly anticipate something and their actions eventually make it happen? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What word means “to speak something into existence”? This is probably something that economists would quickly recognize. It often happens that people would wrongly ...
2
votes
7answers
338 views

An expression for “a little thing that adds to common good”

Like recycling, some little things together make a big positive impact. What's an expression for "a little thing that adds to the common good"?
1
vote
1answer
155 views

What term describes “a loss of immersion” while reading?

If a book is good, readers can easily imagine the story and forget they are reading. If they encounter a problem, perhaps a spelling error or something unbelievable within the universe of the story, ...
42
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there a term which covers ATM cards, credit cards, and debit cards?

I work in accommodation for international travelers, and people can pay with various kinds of cards: In some countries such as USA, credit cards are very common, but debit cards are not so common. ...
1
vote
3answers
10k views

How do you say “hands-on experience” with this technology to an interviewer?

Generally, I would tell an interviewer that I have "hands-on experience" with this technology, by which I mean that my experience in this field is very limited, but quite efficient and knowledgeable. ...
3
votes
4answers
664 views

Word for a male that prefers female companions (no slang such as “pimp”)

I am looking for a word describing a man who has a lot of female friends, and who prefers female friends. I was "Wikipedia surfing" (going through Wikipedia pages and clicking on links found within ...
1
vote
4answers
936 views

Formally saying that you are laughing without euphemisms or colloquialism without referring to yourself

I want to know how one can manage to assert that they are laughing without using euphemisms or colloquialism in first person, for example in a letter, without referring to yourself, that is saying ...
4
votes
1answer
297 views

A word for a person who is made a villain by their circumstances, not necessarily by their actions

I was watching the movie Leon: The Professional. The protagonist, Leon, is a hitman — not somebody we traditionally sympathize with. The antagonist is a crooked DEA agent, pretty despicable ...
1
vote
5answers
8k views

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face?

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face. Is there anything better than calling him a "Pleasing personality"?
0
votes
2answers
142 views

Is there any word for the upper inner part of a sock?

I was about to answer a question on this thread, and I wanted to refer to the inner upper part of a sock. Something like this: Put a small label inside the inner upper part of your socks. But ...
0
votes
3answers
785 views

Suitable word or phrase to replace 'unique' when something is almost unique?

I have this sentence as part of an abstract Verification of space weather forecasts presents some unique challenges compared with other types of forecasts. I go on to detail briefly what those ...
5
votes
1answer
604 views

English equivalent of a Malayalam saying

There is a saying in Malayalam which can be roughly translated as "In the land where noone has a nose, the broken-nosed one is the king". Is there a way to express the same sentiment in English?
1
vote
8answers
359 views

Term that means adaptation to a suboptimal situation

If you are not only accepting a situation that is not what you wanted, but are taking steps to adapt to that situation, is there a word/phrase that describes this? Neither "resignation" or ...
1
vote
3answers
109 views

a word for “want you to be”; as in “want to [word] you”

being deferential to authority is what they want to teach you being deferential to authority is what they want you to be (correct but not beautiful) The second version is more correct but I ...
7
votes
8answers
277 views

Word/phrase for something that succeeds in first attempt

You are a creator. You are fearless. Though you lack expertise at the moment, your work has the ability to be decent most of the time. You tinker, you fail. You keep failing and start seeing the ...
1
vote
6answers
418 views

Expression similar to 'freak out'

For usage like this: I freaked out when I saw that file was not there. Every time I talk to him, he freaks me out by his strange stories. What similar expressions can I use instead of ...
9
votes
13answers
913 views

Word or phrase for 'a much hyped discovery which later turns out to be insignificant or of no value'

In the company where I worked before, the team of specialists which handled customer dissatisfaction issues often came up with seemingly brilliant solutions which would initially appear to be key ...
-4
votes
1answer
592 views

Missing the trees for the forest [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Asking for an idiom according to literal translation I think I came up with a new phrase, similar to the devil in details. Appreciate if you find it applicable and ...
35
votes
10answers
4k views

“To shoot out of cannon into sparrows”

In Russian we have idiom/saying "To shoot out of cannon into sparrows" (literal translation) which is used to convey an idea of applying too drastic measures to small problems. I believe there should ...
5
votes
6answers
493 views

A term to describe “thinking something bad is good”

Let's say someone has an idea that he/she thinks is really good, but in reality it is actually not a very good idea. How can I describe this kind of mentality?
4
votes
5answers
323 views

Is there an English idiom “in threes and fives” to describe arriving, gathering, or leaving of people in a pair, trio, or group in succession?

We say ‘san-san-go-go – 三三五五’ in Japanese to describe the status of people coming, arriving, gathering, going, or leaving in a pair, trio, or group in succession in such a way, People gathered in the ...
0
votes
2answers
443 views

Word to describe a company's brand, products and services

I'm trying to find a word or phrase that sums up a company's brand, products and services. I'm thinking something along the lines of "company initiatives," but that doesn't seem to sum up the three.
-3
votes
2answers
127 views

Minimum amount of time a job needs to wait before executing again [closed]

I am looking for a single word or a phrase for the minimum amount of time a job or task needs to wait before executing again.
-1
votes
6answers
1k views

How to describe students who don't study hard

I want to describe a situation here: The students who study hard usually get better grade, but in contrast the students who didn't study hard usually get poor grade. However, I don't want to ...
-1
votes
3answers
113 views

Saying that some action is optional

I am trying to find phrase or word which would properly cover following statement: You can bring back the book tomorrow if you like, and if not it is fine. I am trying to find a way to same that ...
1
vote
4answers
505 views

What are some colloquial English phrases for 'a child acquiring its parents' characteristics or features'?

I am not sure if the title is clear enough to you, so let me briefly explain what I'm looking for. We sometimes see children who look very much like their father or mother, or even behave typically ...
0
votes
1answer
130 views

Word to mean the specific component part of a honeycomb?

In the context of a math paper, I want to talk about the individual hexagonal parts of a honeycomb. "cells" can be ambiguous and "hexagonal prisms" is technically incorrect (the back of the cavity is ...
0
votes
2answers
112 views

Redeeming, sort of. Need a better word!

My site has a feature where users can buy, or they can obtain a code that will allow someone else to buy it for them. The part of the page that lets the buyer input the code and gift the item to the ...
5
votes
4answers
212 views

A word for non-language sound

I am looking for a word that describes audio that does not contain words. For instance: John William's piece Duel of the Fates would be this, since they are just vocables for their musical effect, ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

An idiom to describe someone who thinks he/she is wiser than others

Is there an idiom in English to describe someone who thinks he/she is smarter/wiser than everyone else? In Polish, we have an idiom, which literally translated, would sound like: He/she has eaten ...