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
8answers
186 views

To forcefully do something you're not supposed to do

What's the correct verb to say to forcefully do something you are not supposed to do or to attempt acts in the attitude of 'just go for it'? Here, "forcefully" does not necessarily mean physical ...
1
vote
2answers
39 views
2
votes
2answers
226 views

Is there a simpler or better way of saying “promises that hold no meaning”?

Is there a simpler or better way of saying "promises that hold no meaning" or "promises without meaning"?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a word or phrase for walking into a room to get something but then forgetting what you went in there to get?

I'm fairly certain this has happened to all of us at some point: You go into a room to get something, but once you're there, you can't remember what you intended to get. It seems like a specific, ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

What do we call 'Shakespearean trash-talk'?

A classic example: In the opening scene of Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke and Mowbray seeks the adjudication of the king. They hurl accusations of treachery and cowardliness at each other. They ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

What is an appointment with friends called?

Suppose that my wife and I talk to another couple and set a time to go to the beach with them and spend some with that couple over there. What is this arrangement and its time called? Can it be called ...
1
vote
3answers
50 views

Opposite of “dive deeper”

"Rise/Ascend shallower" doesn't have quite a nice ring to it. Optimally using two words! Also, I don't necessarily mean by swimming. One should be able to apply the phrase to both swimming ...
-2
votes
0answers
23 views

“SIX MONTHS AFTER: How far so good?” This is my Feature Article Caption, is it appropriate? [on hold]

Six months ago a new management team were sent to oversee the activities of a government agency where I work. I want to write an article for publication in the agency's newsletter appraising their ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

What does “in the name of…” actually mean?

Whats the meaning of the phrase; "In the name of"? For example : whatever you ask in my name, Ask in my name. Oxford actually has an entry for the phrase, but it doesn't seem to match how it's used ...
1
vote
2answers
36 views

How do describe items where one action was done one more time compared to another action

I have items that can be installed and uninstalled. I have a list that contains all the items that were installed one more time than they were uninstalled. My first guess to describe the list is: ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

(To) be over: when it is used? [on hold]

I'd like to know when I can use the expression to be over and if it can be used to say, for instance, the light is over, in the meaning of I can't see the light 'cause I'm in a bad period. Or should I ...
6
votes
5answers
347 views

What is a note that gives a preliminary information before the main part called?

I'm looking for a single word (if not, a natural phrase) for a note that you write before starting the main article/part/question etc. It can give a preliminary information (in general). However, it ...
0
votes
2answers
29 views

Semantic term for ~one-way exclusive~? (vs. mutually exclusive)

Assume for a moment that a large group of people believe that film noir and neo-noir are mutually exclusive film categories. For example, if Chinatown (1974) is to be considered neo-noir (made after ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views
28
votes
10answers
13k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Idiom for new-employee training period

There’s a certain amount of time that organizations apply to new employees who are undergoing training. What’s the idiom? I’ve heard spin-up or train-up time, but neither of those two is clicking as ...
29
votes
13answers
7k views

What is it called when something appears so obvious, no one expects it?

I honestly can not think of any examples that cannot be countered. Perhaps something like if a person brought a weapon out in the open to an airport - no one actually thinks it would be a weapon ...
2
votes
2answers
83 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
2answers
68 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

A Word for Sharing an Unpleasant Experience [closed]

Is there a word for that moment when you experience something unpleasant and feel obliged to share the experience with others? For example, you taste something horrible and try to encourage others ...
10
votes
8answers
1k views

Word or phrase for fearing arrest/detainment/blame having done nothing wrong

I believe I'm not alone in this, but I get a sensation when I encounter someone who is in a position of power (relative to me) that the person will find me guilty of an infraction of some sort, ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

“Country” is to “compatriot” as “species” is to what?

I was about to write the following sentence: I actually have some young seedlings of this species. It will be interesting to compare them to their older ...? Is there a word for something that ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

How do you describe when a myth causes people to assume that something real is also a myth?

Is there a word or phrase for when something real is thought to be mythical because it resembles or is related to a known myth? For example, the myth of unicorns makes many people think that narwhals ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Concise Way to Say “Small Tasks can be as Important as Big Tasks”

I need a concise way to explain this idea: Doing the small and easy tasks can be as noble (or more worthwhile) than doing the hard tasks. Examples: 100 people can be more effective by ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Phrasing that suggests one instance of an event is on a given topic

A colleague of mine is preparing certificates for participants in a two-week educational program. Just to be safe, I'll use fake details which are hopefully equivalent to the real ones: let's say this ...
6
votes
9answers
671 views

English equivalent of saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh”?

The saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh” from my own language is typically addressed to someone who likes to provide unsolicited help by barging in on a heated conversation between two ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

Word for the fear of getting a haircut?

The other day I met someone who was scared of getting a haircut. I was trying to think of a word to describe, but I couldn't think of anything. I couldn't find anything online either, so I decided to ...
-1
votes
2answers
133 views

“Choose a password [that is] at least 6 characters long” - should I include “that is”?

I am not a native English speaker. But I would like to know if the following sentence is correct? "Choose a password at least 6 characters long." Or should it be something like "Choose a password ...
-2
votes
0answers
26 views

Is there a short (1-2 words) term for “skip your opponent's next turn”?

In the context of a 2 player board game in a light fantasy setting, imagine a game effect that makes a player go twice or skip the opponent's turn. So instead of each player taking one turn (or ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

What do you say to wish your fellows a good lunch? [duplicate]

It's lunch time, you joined a table with people, you are about to start eating, but just a moment before you do so, you want to wish everyone a good lunch. If they were French you would say: Bon ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

Word for the feeling which comes when you realize that it was just a dream [closed]

What is the term we use for the feeling which comes when you realize that it was just a sweet dream?
7
votes
5answers
273 views

A laudatory expression for an expert in grammar

All too often, 19th century scholars who wrote volumes on English grammar are today accused of being pedantic; persnickety; puritanical; prescriptivist poppycock grammarians. And that's on a good day. ...
3
votes
3answers
55 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
27 views

Another way of saying “in the form of…” [closed]

"This dissertation is in the form of a literature review..." - PLEASE, tell me another way to say this!
6
votes
5answers
267 views

A word for non-language sound

I am looking for a word that describes audio that does not contain words. For instance: John William's piece Duel of the Fates would be this, since they are just vocables for their musical effect, ...
-1
votes
3answers
72 views

Term for the link a seller sends to a buyer to make payment

Oftentimes when buying stuff online, the buyer receives a URL (like a PayPal link) from the seller, which the buyer then clicks to make a payment. Is there a concise name for such a link? "URL that ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Better way to say keyboard/mouse combo

I'm looking for a better way to describe a keyboard and mouse that go together, as part of a set. They might just match aesthetically, or they could share the same USB dongle. Right now I just call it ...
5
votes
6answers
535 views

What do you call someone who is always complaining after getting what they want? [duplicate]

What do you call someone when they're always asking for something, and then is dissatisfied after getting exactly what they ask for?
1
vote
3answers
61 views

What's an English idiom for “you can't observe without disturbing” that won't run afoul of scientists? [duplicate]

We typically use either Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle or Schrödinger's Cat when we want to talk about a situation where you can't observe a state without altering it. A good example of this ...
1
vote
4answers
182 views

Better word for 'my native place'? [duplicate]

I am writing an article for a magazine about my visit to my village. I want to use a better word or phrase for 'my village' or 'my native place'. The following is the part 'When i heard of stories ...
2
votes
3answers
42 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Type of spurious reasoning which ignores other effects of a counterfactual

Consider a male athlete who is a reasonably skilled 100 metres sprinter, with a best time around 10.3 seconds. Probably not enough to make a career in track and field, but faster than the women's 100 ...
1
vote
1answer
50 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 ...
17
votes
10answers
2k views

What word describes a person's worst flaw?

Is there a word or phrase to describe the worst flaw that someone has? The closest thing I have found to what I'm looking for is fatal flaw (technically called hamartia), but that's a bit too ...
-2
votes
2answers
465 views

Is there a technical term for what creationists call “macroevolution”?

The term macroevolution is often abused (see the section "Misuse" in the Wikipedia article) by creationists who are referencing the Biblical concept of immutable "kinds" of animals. Is there a word ...
0
votes
3answers
72 views

Need a term for major water forms or states (e.g. sea, freshwater, glaciers, dams, etc.)

I'm writing an article about the hydrosphere for my website GeoWorld. I'm dividing the hydrosphere into the following seven categories: 1) the sea 2) surface freshwater bodies 3) underground aquifers ...
4
votes
6answers
301 views

What is it called when something is unimportant for several years, and then it becomes important?

I've been writing a paper about a math concept (called "permanent") that, upon its discovery, nobody really cared about it because it has very few useful properties. It was until several years later ...
4
votes
3answers
74 views

person providing identity for illegal operations

In electronic theft cashing out stolen money is a large problem: if you hack into someone's bank account and transfer the money to your bank account, the operation is trivially trackable to your name. ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

How to most professionally phrase “distribution company”?

I want to correctly describe the company I worked for. It's a printing company who works for other companies, like pizzerias and other franchises, and prints fliers and banners and logos for those ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

After seeing how misinformed an article is in a newspaper, you flip the page and continue reading as if the rest can be trusted. What is this called?

I vividly remember reading a Wikipedia article about a named law (e.g. "Betteridge's law of headlines"). It goes something like this: "You read an article about a topic you're very familiar with, and ...