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
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2answers
206 views

English idiom similar to “grab one, hit the other”

In my native language there is an idiom which literally says "grab one, hit the other". It is used to express that a group of people possesses the same negative personal traits, habits, vice, etc. and ...
5
votes
5answers
141 views

Expression for “Respect them and suspect them”

There is a Hebrew expression explained here: A common Hebrew expression is "Respect them and suspect them". We should always act in a respectful way towards others, but that doesn't obligate us to ...
2
votes
7answers
325 views

Expression for a “smiling face tiger”

The Chinese expression "smiling face tiger" (笑面虎) is defined in English at one website as "an outwardly kind but inwardly cruel person". More broadly it doesn't need to refer to someone who is ...
2
votes
3answers
101 views

Idiom or word for a very heavy thing

There is an idiom in Turkish for describing very heavy things: "Heavy like a dead donkey" (Eşek ölüsü gibi ağır). In English, there is a dead weight but it is not quite similar. Also, it has two ...
14
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there an equivalent of “reverie” where one is lost in unpleasant thoughts?

To say "the noise outside shook her from her reverie" implies she was lost in pleasant daydreams. What if she was lost in worry or unpleasant thoughts? Is there an equivalent term (single word or ...
5
votes
6answers
466 views

A phrase for “extremely bad luck”

Is there a (short) phrase or idiom meaning that someone had extremely bad luck? In the context of a sports match: as you would have a "perfect game" or the even more specific "perfect hand" (when ...
27
votes
17answers
5k views

Opposite of 'Midas touch'?

I'm wondering what word or phrase could be used for the counter examples of 'Midas touch' effect. The Midas touch, or the gift of profiting from whatever one undertakes, is named for a legendary ...
0
votes
3answers
55 views

What's it called when someone forms a general conclusion from something which is aberrant?

I'm trying to think of a phrase that describes someone who is in a certain situation and when an outcome out of the norm comes up then he takes the aberrant outcome and generalizes it, believing it to ...
3
votes
4answers
276 views

Idiom/word for someone who kowtows to his superiors and kicks his subordinates

Apparently, a "bicycle rider" is "a current German idiom for someone who kowtows to his superiors and kicks his subordinates". (Source: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem.) Any similar expression ...
1
vote
5answers
112 views

Word for phenomenon where people listen mainly to sources confirming their points of view

I recall there is a word for the phenomenon that people listen mainly to sources confirming their point of view. For example, some people will listen to Fox News whereas others will watch ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there a word or phrase meaning to plant my idea in someone else’s mind?

Is there a word or phrase that means to plant my idea in someone else’s mind so they think it is their own idea? Just like what happened in the movie Inception.
3
votes
1answer
148 views

Terminology for “New Yorker” vs “lives in New York”

What are the terms that can be used to differentiate between these two nouns? New Yorker versus one who lives in New York A "New Yorker" would be someone who self-identifies as a practitioner ...
0
votes
3answers
67 views

One who never attends public meetings [on hold]

There is an actor who never attends any public meetings or award functions. What to call such a person?
7
votes
13answers
895 views

A word or phrase for 'Holy grail' (a goal impossible to achieve)

I am looking for a word or phrase that means "a long sought out goal that seems impossible to achieve" but without any religious connotations. Any suggestions? My intended usage is as follows: ...
-1
votes
1answer
60 views

When you run a program for the first time, is it after the first “run”, “launch”, or “execution” of that program? [on hold]

I’m slowly writing my thesis and I’ve encountered an issue where I need to say that certain settings must be set when the software starts for the first time. Which of these things would I therefore ...
5
votes
6answers
50 views

Term between 'mentoring' & 'rubber ducking'

This may be a Programmers Stack Exchange question, but I don't think so, because I don't believe there is an accepted term for this in the industry, so I turn to all of you for suggestions. Say I'm ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

Professional term for “Apples to apples” comparison

Is there a term which would sound more fitting in an academic or professional setting for describing a comparison between two things highlighting the similarity of the measurement/comparison process?
1
vote
2answers
37 views

Looking for a folk saying or proverb that reflects “the closer, higher the competition”

I am looking for an American or UK folk saying or proverb that reflects the following idea: the closer are the players, the higher is the competition or the more level the playing field, the more ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Word combination with “eternally”

I am currently thinking of engraving text for our wedding rings. Idea is to engrave some nice combination of two words (one word per ring) in order to get phrase close to “forever together”. I do ...
8
votes
24answers
3k views

More emphatic term for “Expert”?

I've hit a wording problem in the controls for a game that I'm writing. I need two nouns with increasing emphasis for someone highly skilled in a given area. "Expert" is an obvious choice, so I need ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Term for “the story referred to by the title of the collection”

Many short story collections are titled something like Foobar and Other Stories. Suppose I am writing a review of such a collection and want to refer to the story entitled "Foobar". I wish to say ...
-1
votes
4answers
83 views

Synonym for “be consistent with” [closed]

I'm looking for an expression similar to be consistent with, when reporting studies which have the same results, such as: The results of X's research consist with / are consistent with Y's ...
1
vote
5answers
89 views

English idiom equivalent to “Like a deaf man at a wedding procession”

I have been trying laboriously to find an equivalent idiom or a catchy phrase to the one we have in Arabic مثل الأطرش بالزقة which simply means, “He is like a deaf man at a wedding procession”. It is ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Bonus points, only negative

If you’re critiquing something, you might say that you’re giving it “bonus points” for an aspect that wasn’t essential or part of your original grading scheme, but you liked and consider to add ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Is there an idiom beginning “when a dog is cornered”?

Is there any saying in a complete sentence including “a dog which is cornered”? I have tried to find a complete one, but there seems to be no one. Actually, what I want to know is how to explain the ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Is there an expression that means something bad as a precursor to something good?

If someone is the bearer of bad news you might say, Don't shoot the messenger. If you have something that seems unfortunate at first but ends out wonderful you might say it's a blessing in disguise. ...
-2
votes
0answers
72 views

Word / compact phrase for written fictional works? [closed]

While literature is colloquially often used in this context, that word is clearly defined in most dictionaries as: Written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

How to best convey excitement for the next assignment, quarter, or project? [closed]

I’ve just received feedback on my work during the second quarter of the year (Q2) from my manager. I would like to reply to this feedback and end my reply with a sentence along the lines of" ...
2
votes
6answers
486 views

Simple word/ slang for “Re-share a content”

I need a simple(commonly used/known) word or short slang(2 words max.) which means to re-share a piece of information with your network of friends. Something just like "Share" on social networks. ...
2
votes
3answers
58 views

Words or phrases for 'credit takers'

Let say, A and B work in the same office. Every time A talks to B about his idea or working style, B always takes that idea to his boss and acts as if it was his own idea. What are words, phrases or ...
8
votes
2answers
195 views

Pronunciation problem with “park” and “walk”. Is there a name for this “phenomenon”?

Now and then, I struggle to say a pair of words such as "park and walk". It may come out as "park and wark" or "pork and walk". It occurs generally when the two words are close together in a ...
14
votes
14answers
3k views

Too serious to take seriously

This is a concept I often find myself trying to articulate in political discussions. You have a situation that everyone openly acknowledges, but it is so entrenched that people may paradoxically ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Idiom for saying “You are making someone go mad/angry.”

First, a bit of context. Richard Stallman, father of the free software movement, has struggled all his life trying to explain that the "free" in "free software" is a "free" as in "freedom", not as ...
6
votes
8answers
600 views

Non-pejorative term for behaviour that discriminates against people based on their birth place [duplicate]

A big theme of the UK May 2014 MEP elections is immigration - there is a great deal of political rhetoric about it that I would describe as racist or xenophobic, but I don't think either term is ...
0
votes
3answers
69 views

What's a word for someone who recruits new members and reminds people to take part in events?

In particular our student group/club in college has a new officer position that performs these duties, but we don't have a good name for it yet. "Recruiter" captures the first part, but it doesn't ...
1
vote
2answers
54 views

What to say to someone who is going to eat

In French "Bon appetit", in German "Guten Appetit" or "Mahlzeit", I also know it exists in Arabic and Japanese. As expatriate speaking English daily, I often get confused when I want to say that to my ...
7
votes
4answers
417 views

Is there a light-hearted word or phrase for a hypochondriac parent?

The title may not be entirely correct.. Is there a word or phrase that describes a mother/father who is overly anxious about their baby's health? Not a word to describe both parents together, a ...
5
votes
7answers
825 views

A word or phrase for something that seems modern but comes surprisingly from the past?

A few examples of this "future in the past" phenomenon: SR-71 Blackbird aircraft (1964). Douglas C. Engelbart's "Mother of All Demos" (1968). World's Fair: Columbian Exposition (1893). ...
14
votes
15answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
711 views

Word or phrase to describe an activity that is “used to pass time”

Aside from pastime, what is a word or phrase that can be used to describe an activity that is not pleasurable and used only as a diversion while letting time pass?
11
votes
11answers
2k views

Word for “best person in a group of bad people”

What do you call someone or something that is the best in a group of bad people or bad things? For example, a prisoner who is the best in terms of behavior in the prison, even though we know that all ...
6
votes
11answers
2k views

A person who criticizes his own homeland/city/country?

He was born and brought up in this village, but after staying and studying abroad his childhood friends seem backwards to him; he _ this place now. Or He had lived in this city all his life but ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

Does a phrase exist that one uses to another person who is about to sneeze?

"Bless you" or "God bless you" are commonly used after a sneeze but does one exist (or was one once commonly used but no longer) when a person is obviously about to sneeze?
1
vote
2answers
109 views

A word or phrase to describe someone who is obsessed with words?

I want to be able to describe the love for, or obsession with, words. It may also be a condition from other's perspective. It maybe because he is a lunatic who wants to aggrandize his vocabulary, a ...
15
votes
3answers
290 views

Word for someone who wants to find a single word to describe a relatively obscure concept, and posts such questions on internet boards? [closed]

As the title suggests, I'm looking for a word for someone who wants to find a single word to describe a relatively obscure concept, and posts such questions on internet boards. If I'm informed of ...
0
votes
3answers
454 views

another way of saying “being of”

I am looking for a way to replace the word "being" in the phrase "being of poor character". My instructor is very adamant that we not use being unless it is used as a noun. In this particular case, ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you call someone who was doing bad things, and he doesn't anymore?

I'm searching for a meaningful word or expression for someone who did bad things (for example, insulting others, stealing phones...) in the past, and he stopped doing it in the present. Or simply the ...
0
votes
2answers
58 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 ...
16
votes
14answers
3k views

What do you call it when the video is not smooth?

What is the English phrase to describe a video that is not running smoothly, but rather has interruptions in it, becoming sort of like a gif? Usually these things happen due to technical problems such ...
1
vote
3answers
69 views

Word for “Ready/want to go home”

In Mormon missionary culture, they use the word "trunky" to describe the feeling at the end of their two-year mission when they are tired, ready to go home, and are mentally packing their trunks to go ...