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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0
votes
1answer
50 views

Name for Objects on a Map

I'm trying to write up a specification for a bit of programming, but I'm at a loss on how to actually describe what the, well, things on the map are. For context, this is a user-generated map that ...
0
votes
2answers
29 views

How To Properly Phrase “Knocked Out.”

In a scene from my book, a character, Nastia, has been shot and she's taking small steps to a staircase. But as she staggers, at one point, she can't handle the pain so she tumbles down the stairs and ...
0
votes
3answers
120 views

“A Quasi-Catch-22”?; phrase request for a solution that negates the source of the problem it solves

It's a bit difficult to explain exactly what I'm getting at, so I'll give an example: If I get on the bus for work at 8:00 (having to be there at 9:00), there will be a traffic jam and it will take ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

To place into involuntary servitude

To place a man into involuntary servitude by taking away all of his freedoms, with no regard to his interests, is to enslave him. To place a man into involuntary servitude by taking away only his ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

Doing good by accident

Is there an English word or short phrase for doing good by accident? By this I mean that I do something to help friend A, and friend B also benefits, without in any way disadvantaging A. I'm ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Phrase for an argument that has so little supporting evidence that it would lose without refutation, but is not self-refuting

Let's say, for example, that Joe and Bob are in a formal debate over whether the products used to clean stoves are safe. Joe starts the debate by arguing that the products are unsafe. He cites a few ...
0
votes
2answers
93 views

English equivalent of “Always looking out the window”

In spanish there is ventanear and its derived terms, meaning to look out the window, in a busybody/nosey way. (It could also mean to peep into windows, in some places, but that's not important). It is ...
24
votes
18answers
8k views

What is the English idiom about “expensive” that expresses the idea that “It is so expensive that you feel like you got ripped-off”? [closed]

Ok, if I say "this car is too expensive" or "this car is very expensive", then I can not express the connotation of "expensive". However, if I say "this car is damn expensive" then I better convey ...
2
votes
4answers
326 views

Is there a term for the character trait of assuming things about people?

I'm sure you've had a conversation with someone like this. The person constantly reads something into everything that you say or makes quick judgements about you based on very little information. I ...
1
vote
2answers
130 views

Expression for “dividing something with others”?

In a play, a girl finds some stolen treasure and divides it among her friends. I ask for an expression which is used to describe this heroine that wants to share with her friends. Within the dialog ...
1
vote
7answers
250 views

What is the English word meaning “of low possibility”?

For example: — Do you think you can come? — Yeah, unless (word here) I have a visitor. "not very likely" seems like a solution, but is there any other shorter word/phrase to use? EDIT: ...
2
votes
3answers
56 views

Using gerund: “applying” or “on applying”?

In a mathematical paper my co-author wrote: "On applying s to the coefficients of the polynomials defining our variety X, we obtain a new variety sX". The anonymous referee suggested a correction: ...
1
vote
3answers
58 views

Term for removing/replacing line-breaks

I'm looking for a good term for removing line-breaks from a piece of text and replacing them with a special line-break marker. (Like how, when quoting poetry, we use "/" to represent a break; though ...
0
votes
5answers
152 views

word for “good person who does st bad for the good of the people”

Would there be a specific word or phrase that basically means a good person that does something bad for the good of the people? I don't really know if that makes sense to anyone but me, but I would ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Word/phrase for looking up and down repeatedly?

Example: He took out the picture of the building and compared it with the live version, [...]. I'm not sure how to search for that on Google or Thesaurus.
1
vote
2answers
52 views

Phrase for shared experience which indirectly affected direction of a field

Imagine that every person who had gone on to do something extraordinary in a field of endeavor had had a shared experience -- E.g. imagine that every scientist who received the Nobel prize in 2015 ...
3
votes
6answers
351 views

Is there a word that means to see something but not be able to describe?

I'm looking for a word that describes the feeling or situation you are in when you can't find words to describe something you experience. Similar to being speechless but more specifically in regard to ...
3
votes
2answers
129 views

Word for emotional state of jealous satisfaction from the whirlwind reaping of others

Consider observing someone getting a taste of their own medicine, reaping the whirlwind or whose chickens are coming home to roost. In some ignoble, jealous way such situations can be satisfying for ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Phrase for Knowing Everything About Someone

I'm new to this awesome site! There is a popular saying that, in a conversation, one is sarcastically telling someone they know everything about another that begins with I know "your rank, serial ...
15
votes
16answers
3k views

Idiom meaning diverting somebody's attention from a topic which you don't want to talk on

Is there an idiom or expression which means diverting somebody's attention with profuse talk about irrelevant things and trying to change a topic which is unpleasant to you or which you just don't ...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

Term for an unevenly aligned street intersection?

I'm searching for a way to describe a street intersection where the lanes do not line up directly parallel from one side to the other. I.e., if you were to drive through the intersection and maintain ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

To make amends from the other side

Suppose somebody has wronged me, and I want them to make amends. Say I ask for an apology. What are my efforts called? Am I also making amends, or is there a word/phrase that describes the action of ...
8
votes
8answers
727 views

What's a word for someone who wants to voice opinions but not have them challenged?

I'm trying to find the right word to describe someone who wants to voice their opinion about subjects (especially controversial ones or ones where the speaker is going against easily-provided facts) ...
27
votes
19answers
9k views

A verb that means “to prove someone is guilty of a crime”

Preface: I don't think there is a single-word (verb) that expresses the concept I am asking for, in which case I'd settle for the least ambiguous and most common phrase or idiom that describes the ...
2
votes
5answers
142 views

Is there a neat expression for this situation?

I'm stuck for an expression that describes this example, which is similar to a "self-fulfilling prophecy" but is more complicated: Someone claims, falsely, to be a dentist. Someone who likes ...
1
vote
5answers
143 views

Term for when someone interferes with another's authority?

For example, Bob is not very high ranking in the company, but he is the safety manager. Bob tells Rich not to do something because it is not safe. Jim is Rich's boss and tells him to ignore Bob. ...
1
vote
7answers
161 views

What is an expresion for “getting older in appearance”?

"The children in school grew up so fast. They, like their parents, went about their professional career. In a flash they became gray and grizzled, and were getting tired of life." Is there a ...
0
votes
3answers
312 views

Word/phrase for a character in a play/movie/story who is not a main character but interacts with at least one of them

In every fictional story, there are three types of characters: 1) The main characters 2) The people who interact with the main characters, but are not main characters themselves - for example, the ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

Word for when satire is no longer satire

Is there a word for when a satirical piece of work ceases to be satirical because the concept under scrutiny has now become widely accepted.
-1
votes
2answers
105 views

Expression for people who always miss each other by a few minutes

I would really like another way of saying/expression/quote for "people who always miss each other by a few minutes".
-1
votes
3answers
69 views

Phrase meaning keeping faithful during painful trials and tribulations [closed]

Looking for popular phrases meaning Courageous in painful situations
1
vote
2answers
51 views

A site where human bones have been discovered

Is there a shorter way of saying "other sites where human bones have been discovered"? I mean a site that is not a burial site, e.g a person has an heart attack, falls down on the ground and dies but ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

Phrase for being robbed/deprived of my money [closed]

Here is the situation: I provide services to a client through a company's platform. The company provides a software that keeps track of the amount of time I spend and automatically bills the client ...
4
votes
11answers
321 views

Word / phrase for a product/system that presents several unrelated functions

What's the word (or phrase) for a product/system that presents several (probably unrelated) functions? Swiss Army Knife is a good example of such products. I'm looking for something other than ...
2
votes
3answers
71 views

What do you call it when everything satisfies one condition or the other?

When something can be A or B but not both, A and B are mutually exclusive. As sets, A and B would be disjoint. When everything must be A or B—that is, a thing may be A or B or both, but not ...
1
vote
2answers
96 views

Word/phrase/allusion for spreading false intel to catch a mole

If I want to find the leak in my agency, I tell twenty people twenty stories and wait to see which emerges. If I want to find out who's selling my contact info to spammers, I give every company a ...
1
vote
5answers
182 views

What's a word or phrase for lacking the normal fear of a particular danger?

The logical opposite of having an irrational fear (or phobia) is not having that fear. But what is the opposite condition, the condition of having an irrational lack of fear for something that should ...
7
votes
8answers
1k views

Noun form of “extant”?

I am trying to find a single word or short phrase to fit into the following passage: Although many similar works were written, none of the others have survived. Its [extant-ness] is undoubtedly ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

equivalent to 'my Liver lobes'

In arabic, the organ 'the liver' has a noticeable role in language as does 'the heart'. For example, We say, in the heart of the city. But we also say, Zuhr prayer begins when the sun is at the liver ...
11
votes
9answers
2k views

Idiom / phrase for a treasure in a ruin

How to describe some thing valuable that could be gained from an unexpected place? I heard a Persian Idiom that could be appropriate for this case: a treasure in a ruin. Is there any equivalent ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

Describing someone who has a great potential but is not aware of it

What's the best idiom/phrase/word to describe someone who has a great potential to do something while he/she is not aware of that potential. For this reason, (s)he underestimate her/his capabilities ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a name for an argument that is also a counter-argument?

A person states an argument to support a position, but that argument could equally support the opposite position. Is there a name for such an argument? Or a phrase to describe the concept?
1
vote
7answers
141 views

Happening of something that is beyond of one's expectation [closed]

Is there an idiom or phrase or word associated with something good that is beyond of one's expectation and happens to him or her?
1
vote
2answers
217 views

General technical term that uncontroversially encompasses both bacteria and viruses

We can speak of "microbes" or "micro-organisms," and I used to think that these terms clearly included viruses. And they are used this way by at least some other people; here's a website that refers ...
3
votes
3answers
176 views

Describing something that was the best solution in its time

What's the word/phrase/idiom for describing something that was the best solution, product, etc in its time. However, after a while, for example a decade, it's proved that it is not as efficient and ...
3
votes
2answers
81 views

Is there a term among heavy computer users for a cat who treads on the keyboard to highly deleterious effect?

The question line pretty much says it all. I'm not asking why, or how to stop it. I am asking if this behavior has generated a term or phrase amongst cat-loving heavy computer users. From the ...
0
votes
3answers
53 views

Meant as comic, but unintentionally serious and apropos

I'm looking for a word/phrase which means "spoken comically at the time, but in retrospect, is appropriate/fitting to the true nature of the speaker." If the word also has the added connotation of ...
21
votes
15answers
6k views

What is the term for a person who doesn't waste time?

What is an English word/expression/idiom for a "person who doesn't waste time"? Especially a person who doesn't look for excuses when she/he should be doing something productive e.g. working, ...
2
votes
6answers
109 views

One who welcomes new challenges and new opportunities [closed]

What is a person who welcomes new challenges and new opportunities for success and nothing can stop him called?
6
votes
4answers
277 views

What’s a person who borrows something but won’t return it?

I cannot find the right words or expression or idiom to describe a person who borrows something from someone but will not return it to its owner. Also, I would like to know the word that describes a ...