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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2
votes
6answers
500 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

Is there another term for sharing knowledge

Hello I am looking for a word that would best be used as an exchange of knowledge or teachings within a community. Is there a word or phrase that would best sum up a group of people who are sharing ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

How to express difficulty selecting from equally appealing options [on hold]

I want to express the idea that multiple options are equally appealing and therefore difficult to choose from. I thought of this sentence: They are too equally attractive to >be picked up. ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

A word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency

I am looking for a word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency. To give a specific example, one might be seeing a random shopper drop their bag every time you enter a ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Am I thinking of “Roll Call”, or something else?

"On the [missing word] were only kids from rich and connected families, who chose the school for its high level of education, but more so for the extracurricular activities and skills which were ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

How to describe a waiter's action? [on hold]

What verb do you use to talk about the job a waiter is doing? For Example- The waiter who _________ at our table was extremely rude. (waited for, waited on, waited by, waited in on)
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Taste of one's own medicine: the logic behind the phrase

Is there a logical story behind this phrase? Because when looked at from a naive perspective, giving somebody their own medicine sounds like a kind thing to do as it would only treat their illness. ...
81
votes
15answers
15k views

Is there an English idiom for trying to do two things at the same time and failing at both of them due to splitting your effort?

I'm basically searching for the opposite of putting all your eggs in one basket, where the risk is total failure because you did not hedge your efforts. I'm searching for a phrase that encompasses ...
2
votes
4answers
79 views

What is it called when someone does an action they don't fully understand? [on hold]

For example, someone speaking and writing the English language, but not actually knowing how to use it properly.
0
votes
2answers
77 views

Is there a word/phrase for Pre-Academia?

I'm looking for a word that means pre-academia. Academia is the establishment of those engaged in higher education (mostly graduate students and up), so pre-academia would be those engaged in lower ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is it called when it's snowing with the sun out?

It is currently snowing, but the sun is shining. If it were raining while sunny, I would call that a sun shower. What is the equivalent for snow?
1
vote
1answer
37 views

2-word term for reversing phrases

What is the 2-word term (3 syllables each, I think, and definitely Greek sounding/Greek roots) that describes the technique of reversing phrases or parts of phrases, e.g. " bred and born" instead of ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Reformulating a sentence in a “knowledge domain” [on hold]

How to reformulate the following sentences to use a knowledge domain? Before graduation, the students should attain: A broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in ...
4
votes
11answers
730 views

How to describe a person in a situation in which he does not completely know what he is doing?

How can we describe a person doing or communicating something without (really) knowing what he is doing or talking about? This could be either because of some indisposition like for example ...
-1
votes
2answers
41 views

A better phrase for “doing my graduation”

I'm looking for a better phrasing of the following sentence, to put it as a summary at a professional network. Does doing my graduation look a unprofessional? I am doing my graduation from the ...
11
votes
12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
0
votes
4answers
111 views

How to succinctly and clearly connote the reverse of a statement

Here's a published example of a problem I come across frequently: A cop is six times more likely to be shot by someone black than the opposite. Let us assume that the writer meant to say: ...
12
votes
8answers
626 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
320 views

Is there a pejorative/offensive slang word or phrase for a man who suffers from erectile dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the consistent or recurrent inability to acquire or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity and duration for sexual intercourse. Clinic 45 I'm a ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Phrase experimentation - Marching a trough

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 ...
3
votes
6answers
287 views

More than “partially”, less than “completely”

I am re-phrasing several sentences in a manuscript we are preparing for publication and I have come across a sentence I am not quite happy with. Without going into the details, the sentence is about ...
8
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
6answers
68 views

Politician says he will vote in favor of legislation that he hasn't read and will change once elected

Can anyone come up with a few good synonyms/idioms/expressions for a person or politician that will say whatever he/she believes will get him/her the most votes? For example: He/she will vote in ...
2
votes
3answers
311 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
91 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
89 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

Various alternatives in the use of “approach to” [closed]

I would like to know if it is right to say “approach to the analysis” in the following sentence: This study presents an innovative “approach to the analysis” of urban CO2 emissions impacts on ...
-2
votes
2answers
144 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
643 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
69 views

“Like X but a little less Y and a little more Z”

Like X but a (little/lot) less Y and a (little/lot) more Z. Is there a name for this type of comparison? It's not really an analogy (or is it?) It's not a simile or a dissimile. Examples of ...
1
vote
3answers
189 views

Word for “Ready/want to go home”

In Mormon missionary culture, they use the word "trunky" to describe the feeling at the end of their two-year mission when they are tired, ready to go home, and are mentally packing their trunks to go ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

another phrase for 'far from business and politics'

Is there any idiomatic expression to convey the meaning such as 'far from a specific topic or an area of activities' in English? These survey conclusions summarize opinions of ordinary users that ...
7
votes
9answers
8k views

What is an alternative (more positive) analogy to “beating a dead horse”?

I'm looking for an analogy for my repeated attempts to revive interest in a project. The phrase beating a dead horse almost fits the bill, but a dead horse refers to a subject that is no longer ...
0
votes
1answer
49 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 ...
9
votes
13answers
927 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
2answers
338 views

What to say to someone who is going to eat

In French "Bon appetit", in German "Guten Appetit" or "Mahlzeit", I also know it exists in Arabic and Japanese. As expatriate speaking English daily, I often get confused when I want to say that to my ...
4
votes
4answers
113 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 : ...
49
votes
13answers
9k 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
10answers
1k views

Is there a word (or phrase) that describe a series of mishaps/misfortunes in one's life?

I don't mean something like 'many hardships' or 'several tragedies'. I'm looking for a word or short phrase that would describe just a really rough spot or time frame in someone's life. For instance, ...
1
vote
2answers
78 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
50 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
78 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
42 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
46 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 ...
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
5answers
68 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. ...
1
vote
3answers
54 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
1answer
430 views

Request for an idiom (if any) or an expression that describes the following phenomenon

I've been doing some data mining experiments, and something really weird happened one hour ago in the experiment result, and just now something similarly weird happened again. I'm trying to think of ...
1
vote
1answer
44 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 ...