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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

14
votes
18answers
2k 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 ...
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
498 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
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
63 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
51 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 ...
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
64 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
35 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
32 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
44 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
25 views

Email Subject Line for cancelling the meeting with boss [on hold]

"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
20 views

may you enjoy your celebration [on hold]

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
111 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
268 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
325 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
307 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 ...
17
votes
13answers
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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
14answers
2k views

What is the expression to describe that you are surrounded and have few ways to act?

Something like "circle is narrow" (just total random)? For example I'm trapped by circumstances and don't know how to get away with that. Because every way of acting seems not to be good. Thank you ...
6
votes
6answers
180 views

A phrase to describe the external spreading phase of some infection?

I believe that some types of fungal/viral/other infections have a life cycle in which they kill a host entity (possibly plant or animal), and then around that time they also "bloom" or "erupt" from ...
5
votes
17answers
2k views

Idiom for “dominate”

I'm looking for an idiom that means "dominate" and can be used in the following sentence: Our team dominated from the beginning to the end.
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Word or phrase that refers to whom I report to and who reports to me

I'm working on an application that allows a user to search through a directory of employees and display them within an org chart. One way to view an employee is within the context of their whole ...
2
votes
7answers
378 views

What is a less vulgar, but informal phrase for “talk a lot of s***”? [closed]

For some reason the phrase "talk a lot of stick" is coming into my mind when I think of a person who talks a lot of shit, but I couldn't find anything when I Googled it. Is there any phrase which ...
0
votes
3answers
28 views

Phrase similar to “in the offing”

The meaning of "in the offing" I guess is "something that is likely to happen in the (distant) future" Is there any phrase that describes something that is likely to happen soon?
8
votes
4answers
94 views

A phrase for when one is reduced to quibbling on unimportant details having had to give up significant ground

Is there a popular phrase or idiom to capture the following very particular scenario? Person A and person B are arguing over something. Person A repeatedly gives ground to B until the argument becomes ...
7
votes
8answers
128 views

Requesting a word or idiom for “impressive failure.”

I'm looking for a more formal expression or word that indicates failure to the extent that one would have to work very hard to achieve it. I'm aware of the idiom "epic fail" but I'm looking for ...
3
votes
3answers
247 views

Expression for people who are similar

Is there a single word or expression for people who share similar interests? Can the word "alike" be used in this case?
0
votes
2answers
25 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 ...
16
votes
23answers
4k views

Suitable saying for “different people like/dislike different things”?

Suppose I have some problem when someone takes an action 'X' on me which I find highly offensive and which makes me feel bad but it may/may not effect other individuals if used on them. A friend of ...
37
votes
15answers
5k views

What is the equivalent of Persian idiom “When the reed blooms”?

In Persian, we say "When the reed blooms" when we want to express that an event: Never happens. (This is only the opinion of the speaker so it's not a fact) It's very unlikely to happen. It's going ...
7
votes
5answers
392 views

The last small thing that messes up all the (previous) effort

For example: In the immortal Tom and Jerry cartoons, Tom tries to balance himself in delicate situations like walking a rope, balancing a tower of flatwares or lifting a ton of weight above his head, ...
1
vote
2answers
74 views

If something with no specific time associated with it is called timeless, what would you call something with no specific place associated with it?

I would, quite simply, like to know what the word is for something that could happen in any place; similar to the word "timeless", though that refers to something that could happen during any time. I ...
1
vote
3answers
524 views

Single word for attributing inappropriate motives to others' actions?

Is there a single word to describe someone who often attributes inappropriately trivial/cheap motives to another person's actions? I'm thinking along the lines of someone who puts himself briefly in ...
1
vote
2answers
4k 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 ...