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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1
vote
3answers
85 views

A simple word or phrase that describes a non-conflict “day in the life” story introduction

I tell my students that I want their stories to start out as normal "day in the life" explorations of the world they're writing about. I'd like to find a better way of saying that. I'm not looking for ...
14
votes
7answers
856 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

What is the opposite of 'brand new'?

Is there a phrase that means "very old" but using another adverb instead of "very"? like "brand" in "brand new".
58
votes
21answers
22k views

What is the word for always YES (100%) or always NO (0%), never in-between

For example: 1) In statistics, this attribute will always either be 0% or 100%, never in-between. 2) The boundary is either safe or destroyed, because there is never a state where it is only ...
0
votes
3answers
33 views

What's it called when someone does his work at client's home

People of some occupations usually do their work at the specifically equipped facilities. For example, you go to the barbershop to get a haircut or you go to the dentist, when you have a tooth pain. ...
17
votes
14answers
2k views

Problem that causes progress to come to a complete halt

There are some problems that are minor and do not affect the overall operation at hand enough to stop it. For example, a broken radio is not a significant enough problem for driving a car. However, an ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

English equivalent for “Worm that lives in poison.”

In Malayalam/Indian, there's a saying "Paashaanatthil krimi". It literally translates to Worm that lives in poison. It is used while judging people who keep bad company as being bad themselves. ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

English equivalent to “a small fruit in an elephant's mouth”

In the Indian language of Malayalam, there's a saying "Aana vayil ambazhanga", which literally translates to: A small fruit in an elephant's mouth. It means: Having too small an amount for ...
4
votes
4answers
172 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
71 views

How can we say “I see my dreams not happening”

I want to say that I can see my dreams falling apart. Is it correct? I mean to say that the things I want to do (or happen) in the future seem to be impossible.. How can I say it?
15
votes
18answers
3k views

Is there an informal term for the “best company in an industry”?

I am looking for an informal term or an expression to define the best company (the more competitive and successful) within a specific industry. A similar example is the expression "killer ...
1
vote
0answers
13 views

Application of this phrase

Where is this phrase generally used : "in arrears to" meaning indebted to . I am eager to know its usage . Is it just used in context with Banking or in common use also.please provide reference ...
8
votes
4answers
452 views

English equivalent for “Picking a fight with your mother because you lost a fight at the marketplace.”

In the Indian language of Malayalam, 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
111 views

Is there an English equivalent of the Portuguese saying “Seven dogs to a bone”?

Is there an English equivalent of the Portuguese saying “Seven dogs to a single bone”? Sorry for not including the detailed meaning of the expression. “Seven dogs to a single bone” is the literal ...
3
votes
3answers
56 views

How should I say an action or an institution is still needed and available?

I am looking for a good word or short phrase to communicate the fact that an action or an institution is needed, available, in common practice, meaningful, useful, and implemented. It should have ...
14
votes
19answers
3k views

Chasing something that doesn't exist

I'm trying to find a word or short phrase that would describe chasing something that doesn't exist. My restriction is that it can't be referencing something that would only make sense in our world ...
15
votes
18answers
3k views

Word for “not putting thought into something”

I'm writing a letter to someone and I want to describe the way a woman talked to me the whole night. Every time I told her something, I got short answers which had zero thought put into them. Like ...
1
vote
2answers
26 views

Bring someone back (down) to earth?

I thought that the idiom, "bring someone back/down to earth", meant taking someone off a pedestal, and seeing them for who they really are. For example: She needs to bring him down to earth and ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

How to communicate two elements of different syntactic/semantic type in the same sentence?

I have the following sentence, NAME is a community that helps each other code better by rating each other's efforts and helps managers pair with other fellow developers I was suggested by the ...
2
votes
1answer
18 views

A word for pushing/pulling something long down like pulling a level (down)?

A silly example: A stick sticks up on an apple. I pull it down like pulling a lever, splitting the apple in half. What word or phrase should I use to describe that action?
17
votes
6answers
3k views

What do you call this problem in the knee area of the jeans?

What do you call this problem when your pants, especially jeans, look like sticking out in the front and look as if there is a pillow on their knee part? (As if it has taken the shape of the knee.) I ...
7
votes
1answer
8k views

What is the relationship name of my sibling-in-law's sibling to me?

For example: I have a sister named Charlotte. Charlotte is married to Martin. Martin has a brother named William. Martin is my brother-in-law, but what is William to me?
15
votes
15answers
506 views

Synonym for “Blind Spot”

I'm looking for a term or an idiom to point to the weakness of something, specifically a computer program. Something similar to "Achilles Heel" but not that! I just found blind spot : "an area in ...
1
vote
4answers
48 views

A phrase or word meaning “thin rationale”

I'm looking for a word or phrase to fill in the blank. I feel like the president of the university had a ________ for demoting Mr. X. The meaning I want to convey is "thin rationale". This might be ...
10
votes
9answers
1k views

A word or term to describe someone who likes to make people look stupid [duplicate]

Is there a word for someone who tries to trip you up during conversation almost so you muddle your words and sound confused to the point where they appear to have have won a debate? Someone who uses ...
6
votes
1answer
65 views

What do you call a person who enacts, lives, or portrays the book he has read?

For example, I have known a statesman that used all his political strategies and tactics based on a certain book (self help). One can understand the reason of every move he makes and even predict the ...
4
votes
7answers
5k views

Is there a word or short phrase to indicate the opposite extreme of “racism”?

For example, a person fights (or claims to fight) against racism in the manner of believing a group/ethnicity/etc. (in a culture where this group is often disliked) to be morally superior, and if a ...
3
votes
3answers
79 views

Is there a term for when an illness itself prevents the patient from obtaining a cure?

A challenge to curing patients is that sometimes the illness itself prevents a patient from taking a cure. Some examples: Depression - lack of motivation and negative thinking prevent the patient ...
2
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a familiar phrase for spending too much time on something?

We all know that "a stitch in time saves nine" and "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", but sometimes the opposite is true. A stitch before its time is a waste of time and thread. If ...
1
vote
3answers
65 views

Word for non-community college [on hold]

I am working on a persuasive paper about free college. I am trying to find the opposite of community college. Does anybody know a good word or phrase for this?
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Word or phrase to describe increasing periods between attempting the same operation

I'm looking for a term (single word or phrase) that describes the trick in software development to (typically exponentially) increase time between successive attempts to do an action on a server, for ...
3
votes
4answers
95 views

Is there a SPORTS PHRASE [in particular, one relating to “soccer”] similar to “make sure all our bases are covered”?

The expression mentioned in my question’s title is a baseball reference, of course, which I fear could potentially limit its understandability to only those English speakers who are familiar with that ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

A word for the sentiment: “You're the most beautiful man/woman I've ever seen” (but in reality I've seen others)

It is common and flattering to tell a man/woman You're the most beautiful man/woman I've ever seen. The thing is, this is never true. It's just like calling someone a "best friend". In most ...
3
votes
5answers
197 views

Hypernym for “coalition” and “opposition”

I'm looking for a word (or expression) that is a hypernym of coalition and opposition. I want to be able to ask a party whether its "type", for lack of a better word, is coalition or the opposition ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

Generic term to describe how the lack of a normal limiting factor will allow an undesirable overuse of another resource

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe the natural forces or factors that would normally either encourage or discourage a particular course of action if that factor is either present or not ...
5
votes
1answer
45 views

Is there a verb or phrase for “good-morninging” someone?

The situation I'm asking about is to use a great amount of fake politeness to get rid of someone, as in the following example from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit: “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

Words or phrases that describe a person who knows the answer to a problem but is not believed

I'm trying to find either a word or a phrase that describes a person who knows the answer to a problem or problems but is never believed. Or ignored. The nearest I can come up with is maybe the story ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Email Subject Line for cancelling the meeting with boss [closed]

"Cancelling the meeting" subject line looks impolite to use in email for manager. which subject line should I use to sound polite? (I have requested for the meeting)
6
votes
2answers
60 views

Leaving someone with lots of questions in mind

I am after a single word or maybe couple of words that we usually use to describe the situation when someone leaves us with lots of questions in our mind. For example (this is not the exact ...
6
votes
11answers
31k views

Phrase for something that is always out or reach/you almost have but never can get

I believe there is a two-word phrase for something that is always just out of reach for you and which you cannot ever seem to get. (It is not Tantalus or anything having to do with Tantalus, please). ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

may you enjoy your celebration [closed]

My aunt and uncle are writing a letter to their in-laws declining an invitation to their daughter's graduation. they want it to be formal. they are Italian and have asked me to look over the letter. ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

What do you call someone who is easily influenced?

I am looking for a term with bad connotation. I am aware of the popular terms like "he/she has no personality", pliable, malleable, weak-minded but i couldn't find any more on the insulting side. It ...
-1
votes
0answers
18 views

Best way to express “Fredrik wins”

I'm making an iOS game. After the match I want to write something like: "Fredrik won" "Fredrik wins" "Victory by Fredrik" etc What's the best short phrase to express that someone has won a match? ...
1
vote
1answer
270 views

Is there a word or a term for when a story's ending is very similar or the same as its beginning?

In the novel Perfume, by Patrick Süskind, it is notable that the main character appears in the same setting and scenario in the beginning of the novel and in the end. Is there a word for when this ...
29
votes
27answers
6k views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is a habitual liar”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression for describing people who tell lies out of habit (so you cannot trust them at all). I know that these people are called "compulsive liars", but I'm not looking ...
41
votes
18answers
5k views

English equivalent for the Persian proverb “The mountain just gave birth to a mouse”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression to describe a well-known person/ organization/ politician/ government whose achievements in a given situation are smaller than what they had claimed or promised ...
7
votes
5answers
329 views

English idiom for a lot of paper? [closed]

Is there any English idiom with meaning "a lot of paper" (like documents), like "a tons of paper" or so? I mean paper as paperwork, but not in the context of the work itself, more kind of going ...
0
votes
5answers
308 views

Similar phrases meaning 'give kudos'

See, in one of our employee evaluation systems, we would like to implement a feature by which any employee can show appreciation to another employee that he has got help from or whom he thinks to be a ...
2
votes
3answers
66 views

Sadness over culmination/completion

I'm just wondering if there is a word that describes the feeling of sadness I'm experiencing having solved a problem I've been working on every day for the past 10 months. It should accurately ...
1
vote
3answers
62 views

Is there an English idiom that is equivalent to “ calls seem to be getting ever more louder”? [closed]

Are there any phrases that I can use instead of this? context: In this case it is to show something whose importance is increasing and therefore the number of people supporting this particular ...