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
3answers
13 views

“upscale clientele” is to “lowscale clientele” as “carriage trade” is to what?

Is there a phrase in English that works as a direct antonym to the idiomatic carriage trade, that is, the wealthy patrons of a store, restaurant, hotel, etc.; the elite clientele? carriage trade: ...
12
votes
3answers
240 views

Is there a word for “a person from another race”?

I am searching for a word that means ‘of another race’ to be used in context of a sentence such as "She was deeply protective to her [of other race], foster children." "They shunned the ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Word for knowing what one wants to do, but not knowing how to do it

I often imagine my dream softwares, but I do not know how to program them into reality. What words, that are more fitting than impotent and ignorant, are there for a practical, non-verbal "tip of the ...
2
votes
6answers
466 views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
6
votes
2answers
49 views

The feeling when a familiar object is missing or in a different place

If someone has misplaced a familiar object like a wedding ring or wristwatch, they might say they "feel naked without it", or that it's "like a missing tooth". It's not exactly "pining" for ...
2
votes
5answers
112 views

What is a positive-language-focused term for an attempted solution that didn't work?

There is a quote: I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. I'd like to use a term that is devoid of negative connotation for those "ways that won't work". Terms like ...
1
vote
3answers
54 views

What is the name for those images with quotes in them?

Googling for picture quotes results in many images like this one: It's not about motivation, it can be any type, like this one: I believe there is a better word for this, but I can't remember ...
17
votes
15answers
5k views

Phrase to describe person who seeks 100% achievements in game

After completing a mission or beating a game, an achievement or trophy will pop up. How do I describe such a person who sticks with it, to unlocking all the achievements of a game, no matter what ...
29
votes
10answers
19k views

Opposite of “literal”

I was listening to the radio today, and someone said, "The couple came across a literal 'pot of gold.'" It made me think: how do you say the opposite of that? I'm looking for a statement or phrase ...
26
votes
20answers
5k views

Is there any curse/ swear equivalent for this Persian curse? “ May your head be covered by soil!”

There is a curse/ swear in Persian that literally means " May your head be covered by soil" and implies that " you'd better die and be buried /be underground!"( you are not important). We use it in ...
113
votes
17answers
27k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

What is equivalent of brain drain for skilled labour?

What is the phrase when you say that there is movement of skilled labour from X country to Y country for better opportunities? Is 'leaching of labour'valid usage? Please suggest some other phrase for ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Word for having strong political opinions but no consistent “side”

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe someone who has strong political opinions or beliefs, but they belong to such a wide variety of "sides" that you can't really pin them down with a specific ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Is listen-hear parallel with read-understand?

I'm trying to speak about the nature of music; I want to say that the very nature of the medium of sound, a kind of universal language, makes it impossible not to interpret what is presented to us. ...
11
votes
10answers
2k views

Synonym of 'kangaroo court'

From legal-dictionary.com, kangaroo court is defined as such: [Slang of U.S. origin.] An unfair, biased, or hasty judicial proceeding that ends in a harsh punishment; an unauthorized trial ...
2
votes
7answers
9k views

What do you call someone who is obsessed with video games?

I need a slang word which means someone addicted to playing video or computer games. Could gameaholic work? It can't be nerd or geek because although those expressions denote someone who is ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

“Strike gold” but without the implication of searching?

Whenever I hear the phrase I struck gold the fact the person had to have done a certain search is implied to me. Is this correct? For example, if I say: Janet loves sex so much! I've struck gold ...
0
votes
2answers
109 views

Can I use “short of being exhaustive” in this case?

I'm making a list and want the reader to know that this list is not complete, that it is only a part of a larger list... Is it correct to say "this list is short of being exhaustive" in this case? Is ...
2
votes
3answers
115 views

Succinct phrase for “work well under pressure”?

So I was working on my resume, but it literally took me two hours to come up with a succinct phrase for "work well under pressure". So far I could think of phrases like " pressure performer " or ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

Word/phrase to describe a person who always searches to benefit from other people? [duplicate]

What is a formal word/phrase that describes a person who always searches to benefit from other people? It is hard to recall the word in my own language to translate. So I decided to give it a try and ...
28
votes
15answers
7k views

What would you call a person who is self-righteous, brags about her/his moral values and is imposing when it comes to her/his ideas?

I want to describe, in a phrase, a number of traits in a person. I'm looking to describe a self-righteous, pious person who cannot stop bragging about her/his moral values while trying to impose ...
3
votes
2answers
854 views

Word for phrases that are examples of what they describe

Is there a word (or phrase) for phrases that are examples of what they describe? For example, "You the verb" to tell someone they forgot a verb in an online posting, or "spacesmakethingseasiertoread". ...
-2
votes
1answer
71 views

How to differentiate meanings of “awesome”? [on hold]

I often use the literal ("old?") meaning of "awesome" in an equivocation: I smell awesome right now. Then they say: No, you smell terrible. And the punchline comes: I'm using the ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Is there a word or phrase for this kind of visitation-oriented room?

Let me give two examples: Bank You are a customer in a bank office making a loan. The room might look like a regular office, but really this part of the office is very limited. This part of the ...
5
votes
5answers
119 views

Is there an English equivalent to the Indian proverb-“If you have the ability, even grass can be your weapon”?

The original Indian saying (in Tamil) is வல்லவனுக்கு புல்லும் ஆயுதம் (Vallavanuku Pullum Aayudham) Translation : For the capable, even grass can be a weapon Meaning: If you have the ability and ...
2
votes
4answers
149 views

Alternative to the expression “sleep is the little death”

I thought this was a thing, that the expression "little death" refers to sleep and suggests that time spent sleeping is time not used for something else; one is, in a way, dead while asleep. ...
1
vote
2answers
158 views

What do you call that annoying toddler that whines about everything?

You know that kid you see in a supermarket with his/her mom, and the kid is all like: "I don't like that", and starts to scream? What is a good word or slang term for that?
5
votes
4answers
331 views

English equivalent for “Picking a fight with your mother because you…”

In my language, there's a funny saying which literally translates to Picking a fight with your mother at home because you lost a fight at the marketplace. It means taking out one's frustration ...
0
votes
1answer
239 views

How else can I say “Mary would be well served by…”

I'm giving feedback/advice to an individual and need to express it in a non-directive, non-prescriptive manner. While it may seem a passive approach, the context is very delicate. An example would ...
4
votes
3answers
207 views

Word/phrase for when someone places a bet which is similar to your own

If you are making a bet or wager with someone, and you are both trying to guess as close to a particular value as you can (for example, date, weight or similar) then one particular strategy is to wait ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Is there a term for a grammatical construction like “Exhibit A”?

Is there a term for names that consist of a noun or noun phrase followed by an ordinal letter or numeral? For example: Exhibit A The Land Before Time IV Patient Zero Perhaps ordinal proper noun or ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Phrase which describes falsely improving something

Is there an aphorism or proverb in English which describes attempting to improve something fundamentally flawed by dressing it with a lot of ornament?
9
votes
10answers
2k views

Synonymous idiom for “more x than you can shake a stick at”

It's very difficult to search the web for synonymous idioms, at least for me. I found Origin of "More X than you can shake a stick at", but I'm really trying to find a similar phrase to it. ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Lack of time *and* Time is precious [on hold]

I'm certain that there exist a unique phrase that means both "Lack of time" and "Time is precious". When I try to remember what the phrase is, I'm constantly having the association of a precious ...
27
votes
14answers
5k views

English equivalent for “Don't burn your house to smoke out a rat!” [duplicate]

In my language there's a saying which literally translates to Don't burn your house to smoke out a rat! It advises us to use solutions that are appropriate to the magnitude of the problem. ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

What's a word that captures the sentiment of “inside looking outwards”?

I'm attempting to title a paper I'm writing about the traditions of a certain group of people; and my analysis is focused on what these traditions mean to them, and how they see others interpret their ...
3
votes
6answers
128 views

A word/phrase for someone who changes the world

For a fantasy writing project,1 I am looking for a title or epithet for a character that emphasizes that the character has changed the world. Either a single word, or a phrase that could reasonably be ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

English equivalent for “Worm that lives in poison.”

In my language, there's a saying which literally translates to Worm that lives in poison. It is used while judging people who keep bad company as being bad themselves. It is used to address ...
15
votes
13answers
3k views

What are words that describe “the people” in the same way that “the machine” describes the ruling class?

The powerful ruling class has been described as "the machine", "the man", "patricians", "the establishment", and "big brother". I am looking for similar words to describe the 99%, aka the plebeians ...
0
votes
2answers
134 views

phrase or theory that describes “if he can do it then so can I”

What is the phrase or psychological term that describes someone who gains confidence based off of another's performance? Moreover, they use it as a motivational foundation and it relates to behavioral ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

Term for choosing by not choosing [duplicate]

Is there a term for rejecting a proposal by not actively endorsing/confirming/voting for it? Like a veto, but by abstention, rather than active participation. Alternatively, a term for "A choice ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Understandable word for someone with normal vision

In the process of writing a document relating to an accessibility product I mention people who are blind and people who are visually impaired. However I cannot think of a good word with the average ...
1
vote
10answers
580 views

Synonym for overdoing something/taking too wide an approach

I'm looking for an idiom or a synonym for a situation when someone has taken a heavy handed measure that achieves the desired effect, but also goes above this, affecting things that aren't a problem. ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Specific term for perception bias of content

People from Rancho Cucamonga are special. If a movie is filmed or set in their town, they unswervingly feel that the movie is better than others. Especially since it is so rare and … special. They ...
-2
votes
1answer
52 views

Opposite of redundant [closed]

I'm looking for the opposite of redundant in the following context. "The danger is that we have redundant work executed, but as also xxxx work" so in the meaning of "too less", "we are missing ...
56
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there an English phrase for an inability to actually *leave* already?

There is a Hungarian expression, küszöbgörcs, which literally means "threshold-cramp", and is used to describe that long conversation you have in the entryway, with all the guests awkwardly holding ...
42
votes
24answers
6k views

Is there a similar English phrase for this Tamil proverb - “Lavish outside home yet starving inside of it”?

In Tamil, a south Indian language, there is a saying which roughly translates into English as: Lavish outside home, starving inside of it. Background : This proverb has a mocking tone and ...
3
votes
2answers
56 views

Is it valid to say 'in the presence of something' [closed]

The title I chose for my thesis is: Finding Synapses in Data in the Presence of Artifacts I think this is bad language and am unhappy with it but I am not a native speaker. I want to convey ...
3
votes
4answers
67 views

Phrase Request: “electronics for military use”

I am translating a CV into English. One of the mentioned companies is (directly translated): An international company operating in the industry of electronics for military use I could write this ...
1
vote
3answers
47 views

A lot of - but not hard - work

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe how something takes simple work, but a lot of it. For example, sorting a stack of documents fits the bill as it is not hard if you had a few, but really ...