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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11
votes
9answers
37k views

What do you call someone who says they will do things but doesn't?

What do you call someone who says they will do things but doesn't? And if they do it, they take 6 months rather than the 6 days they said they could but not necessarily specified that they would? My ...
2
votes
9answers
5k views

Someone who just thinks they know what they're talking about

What is a word or phrase that means a speaker (or writer) is talking about something they know very little about, but they think they know more than they do? An example: If you read diet message ...
0
votes
7answers
460 views

Is there a word or phrase for someone who displays excessive prudishness in speech and behaviour?

Perhaps an endangered species in the 21st century, such person will tend to use euphemisms for bodily functions and sex, instead of what they consider "indelicate words". I'm looking for a noun or ...
17
votes
13answers
10k views

Is there a word or phrase for someone who strongly disapproves of smoking, drinking and gambling?

It would be used in a sentence like this: Let's not invite your Uncle Peter. He is (a) ......, you know, and he would feel very uncomfortable among our friends. I'm not looking for lists. I'm ...
1
vote
12answers
53k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
365 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
146 views

Describe someone who chooses the worst option for doing the work

How to describe someone who chooses the worst option (way) to do their work(s)and this puts he/she in trouble. Persian speakers have an idiom for such a situation that its literal translation is ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

Is it right, or better way, to say someone “denies themselves agency”

I'm trying to express the idea of someone who consistently underestimates his own contributions or his ability to impact a situation, despite having high self esteem. This is due to seeing themselves ...
63
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. ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Term for someone who leaves a relationship after the other person buys them a bunch of stuff

I'm looking for the proper term. So there's a female. Her name is Kaylee. Knows this guy that is madly in love with her and would give anything to be with her. Well, she is struggling and needs ...
16
votes
13answers
8k views

Is there a word or phrase for someone who works hard at night and does not sleep?

All the words or phrases I know for people who stay up at night merely describe the habit of not sleeping (e.g.: a night owl or insomniac) I am looking for a word or phrase with an emphasis on ...
44
votes
16answers
6k views

Is there an expression to indicate the strategy of wearing someone down with numerous small irritations?

I would use rope-a-dope, but it's got connotations of pretending to lose that I don't need. I'm trying to describe the behavior of someone who sends twenty detailed emails a day about various projects,...
9
votes
7answers
29k views

What is the word/phrase for someone between expert and novice?

I come across various people within my field (software developer) and people who are related to my field (the marketing/business people). Many a time when I want to opine or express my question/answer,...
22
votes
11answers
9k views

Words to describe a person who frequently asks questions even though they know the answer

I have an annoying friend that he frequently asks me questions in which he'll be the one to answer at the end if I can't answer his questions. Here the situation goes: Friend: Hey Jay, do you ...
27
votes
12answers
6k views

Idiom for a person who is above any question

I read somewhere a sentence which said about a political leader that he is the "holy something" whose actions cannot be questioned. The context was to describe that even though this man does bad ...
21
votes
15answers
7k 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, ...
30
votes
15answers
9k 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 her/...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

More eloquent idiom/expression for the phrase “cut it at the roots/source to prevent the problem from growing/escalating ”

There's nothing particularly wrong with the phrase that's in the title except I figure there may be some better sounding alternative or something more pleasing to the ears. Example usage: We have to ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Is there an English equivalent to the Syrian proverb: “Throw meat to the dog, and he'll forget the bread and salt”?

When they throw meat to the dog, he forgets the bread and salt (companionship one had with someone else). This Syrian phrase is said to someone who throws away years of friendship and gregarious ...
65
votes
22answers
13k views

Is there an idiom or typical expression for an unfunny joke?

Could you tell me some suitable idioms to express this situation: A guy told you a joke, but it's not funny at all. In Japanese, we say "He slipped" or "His joke was so cold that the air got ...
-2
votes
1answer
87 views

What is a woman with no unwanted hair (or unwanted hair removed) called? [on hold]

Women used to be very conscious about their looks. They used to remove unwanted hair in order to look good. What is a woman with no unwanted hair (or unwanted hair removed) called? Is there a single-...
-1
votes
0answers
41 views

'passive' vs 'active' dietary therapy

How do I explain that my questionnaire included range levels of active dietary therapy and passive dietary therapy? is it even correct to say "passive dietary therapy"? if not, how do I say it ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Variant of the phrase “broad brush strokes”

I'm looking for a phrase that captures the idea that one is dividing material up crudely. The context is a claim that in discussing a certain issue, we only need to make rather crude divisions (or ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Phrase or word for doing something as a learning experience before doing it for real?

If I want to say 'I regard my first year for this bachelor degree as a try out year or a "pre-learning" year before starting again as a first year elsewhere'. What word or phrase would I use for 'try ...
2
votes
2answers
89 views

Positive word describing something that is not high-tech?

The company where I work has developed a product that is very easy to use and that doesn't need a computer or electricity to run (in contrast to competing products). Now we are looking for a word or ...
10
votes
7answers
7k views

Is there a phrase to say that someone's hidden intentions are revealed in his/her talk or movements?

Is there an English expression to say "Le jupon dépasse" to express the fact that someone's hidden intentions are revealed in his/her talk or movements?
1
vote
2answers
66 views

Word indicating that the authority of the speaker changes the meaning

Is there a phrase or word that indicates that the authority of the speaker changes the literal meaning of what was spoken? Something like: Me: I finished cleaning the bathroom Golf buddy: You ...
24
votes
8answers
5k views

What's the English equivalent for the Italian slang expression “magna magna”

"Magna magna" is a typical Italian slang expression used by common people to give vent to their frustrations and disappointment with politicians when cases of corruption and personal interest in ...
0
votes
4answers
65 views

Phrase that refers to the period from 60 days ago to 30 days ago

If someone says "in the last month", it refers to the past 30~ days, but I would love to learn if there are phrases or words describing the period of 60 to 30 days before today? For example, today ...
26
votes
19answers
6k views

What is the problem that gets worse after you try to solve it?

Example sentence - This problem is a _____ which gets complicated every time you try to solve it. Is there such a word that represents a problem which will become worse if/when one tries to solve it?...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

“pros and cons”, “black and white”, “ups and downs”. Always in a fixed sequence, is there a word or phrase for these?

Is there a word or phrase for two nouns or adjectives joined by a conjunction (usually "and") in a fixed sequence? alive and well fast and furious hat and gloves pen and pencil ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

What do you call fake interviews that have been scripted

What do you call those fake interviews which are conducted according to a specific script, perhaps, against your honest beliefs?
3
votes
1answer
43 views

What do you call the tendency to oversimplify an issue?

I have noticed that there is a tendency in many people, and certainly in groups as a whole, to avoid, ignore, or trivialize complex and difficult issues by placing focus on issues that are similar and ...
2
votes
5answers
50 views
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Is there a word or phrase in English referring to a government branch that controls prices? [on hold]

During World War II, there was a governmental department tasked with controlling the prices and preventing inflation. I t was called Office of Price Administration. Is there a similar word or phrase ...
2
votes
6answers
64 views

Word for non-humanoid characters with artificial intelligence?

I am writing an essay on a book that I read where many of the characters are not human and have artificial intelligence instead. When I try to describe these characters, though, I find myself using "...
4
votes
2answers
65 views

Idiom/saying for “there was no possible better solution at the time”

Context: "We did the best we could. There wasn't much else we could have done because there was no possible better solution at the time" The problem I have with what's already written is that it ...
6
votes
2answers
800 views

What do you call a person or action who provides information irrelevant to the subject? [on hold]

What do you call someone or the action of a person who in an argument says one thing, but provides information to something that has nothing to do with what he was trying to prove?
3
votes
4answers
140 views

What is an idiom for better than “textbook case”, “by the book” or “best practices” [on hold]

Something indicating above and beyond the standard best practices, superior to by-the-book-experience. For instance, I would like to use it in a blog title The non-textbook / non-standard / beyond ...
4
votes
3answers
140 views

Cheering for a race

When it comes to cheering from the spectator's stand for a friend who is participating in a race, where I live has this phrase which means "add oil" if translated directly into English. Thus, for ...
2
votes
2answers
35 views

To be a reference in a skill/topic

I am struggling on how to say when someone is an expert on a certain topic or skill. Because it is not exactly the meaning I intend to give. What I really want to say is like: "When you want to know ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is there a word/phrase/idiom for temporarily satisfying strong feeling of hunger?

Imagine a situation where you've been invited to dinner at a friend's place. You're extremely hungry but you learn that the dinner won't be ready for another half an hour. So you decide to eat an ...
17
votes
10answers
3k views

What is the expression for the process of getting over the loss of a loved person?

The term mourning usually refers to the sorrow felt because of the death of a person: Great ​sadness ​felt because someone has ​died: Shops were ​closed as a ​sign of mourning for the ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

What is the general name for these articles which feature lists?

Well, recently the internet has been taken by storm by articles such as: "20 Ways To Subtly...", "5 Things to Watch...", "15 things only a Pakistani..." etc,. So, what do you call such features?
0
votes
0answers
30 views

how to express event dates [on hold]

which is correct: "the event will be held from August 5-10 in X" OR "the event will be held between August 5-10 in X" or any other suggestion. Thanks in advance. mericb
1
vote
2answers
58 views

What do you call it when doctors or therapists give the same prescriptions or solutions to everyone that has similar illnesses or problems?

As in, they do not attempt to give individualized prescriptions. What's a phrase or word that characterizes this tendency?
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Term for the reverse of hijacking a meeting?

When someone says hijacking a meeting, it usually means that someone has made the meeting all about his/her agenda. One time, I was invited to a meeting to talk about "ABC", but they only discussed ...
1
vote
4answers
135 views

What's a word or phrase that means 'take advantage of someone's psychological weaknesses'?

I'm looking for something that's catchy and succinct. 'Exploit' is a good word for 'take advantage of' but it doesn't take into account someone's psychological weaknesses. example sentences: "By ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

A verb that means “to die of a broken heart”

Is there any one-word verb, a phrasal verb, or an idiom that means "to die of a broken heart" or "to die of grief/sadness"? Example: She went through a lot of adversities and grief in the past ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

An expression for “Lying on your stomach, kicking your legs and feet up in the air”

What is a concise way to describe the following action? Someone lying on their stomach, kicking their legs and feet up into the air behind them, looking sexy. The description should be pretty ...