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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6
votes
6answers
1k views

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

Is there a simpler or better way of saying "promises that hold no meaning" or "promises without meaning"?
1
vote
1answer
77 views

How to convey the meaning of “ordering a mess of papers and books”

How do English people convey the meaning of the action of tidying up a great unordered amount of sheets of paper, books, and notes in a single word or phrase?
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Looking for a shorter term for “Preferred places to meet”

I am working on an online platform (mobile and web apps) that enable item lending/renting between peers. When a user posts an item for rent, he needs to put down his preferred places to meet for item ...
16
votes
9answers
698 views

Giving false information in good faith

Kayla and Rob are good friends, and they also happen to be taking a class together at a community college. The class is very small, so the professor knows all of the students by name. One day, Rob ...
0
votes
3answers
46 views

what will be a good artistic world or phrase for close cooperation for mutual success

what will be a good artistic word or phrase for close cooperation for mutual success.The cooperation of two parties (one with stronger power, second with weaker power, but huge dedication) where each ...
3
votes
3answers
83 views

A novel/book equivalent of the term off-screen

Off-screen can be used to describe events in a movie or tv show. For example, "Harry's father dies off-screen" What term or phrase can I use if I'm talking about events in a book? "Harry's ...
3
votes
4answers
110 views

A linking word that expresses contrast but in a positive context

Is there a linking word that expresses contrast but in a positive way in this sentence, I have thought of ( Fortunately) but am looking for something more formal This fact raises questions as to how ...
6
votes
10answers
443 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
4answers
116 views

Synonym for “Fellow Sufferers”?

They agreed to stay connected for hours in their provisional support group, looking for answers in their counterparts. I want to change the bold part to say that they all shared the same problem. ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the equivalent of “what the hell are you doing?” in a negative sentence?

I want to use the equivalent of "hell" as in "what the hell are you doing?" in a negative sentence. I want to address someone with something like this: You can not do anything the hell! By that ...
25
votes
4answers
1k views

It's so cold that if it rains it'll snow

I want a replacement for rains in my title, as it doesn't really make sense since it won't rain, it will snow. I think I could use precipitates but I wouldn't use that in conversation as it seems ...
-3
votes
1answer
43 views

Is the phrase “Thank you for your effort” is the best way to praise someone for the help he giving me? [on hold]

Let's say that I'm doing my daily labor, and it's a pretty hard work in general. And someone offer to help me, without I that asked for it, and surprisingly that person invested in that job a lot more ...
-2
votes
5answers
125 views

Word that includes laptop, tablet, smartphone etc

What's a word (or phrase) that includes laptops, tablets and cellphones (or similar portable electronic devices that resemble a computer)? I would prefer it to be a short (and intuitive) term. For ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

What words would complete this thought on religion? [on hold]

...by the color of his skin or the _____ of his _____. What words would go in the blanks to mean his religion, while still using of his in the phrase to maintain the flow? God of his faith or ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

Am I thinking of “Roll Call”, or something else?

"On the [missing word] were only kids from rich and connected families, who chose the school for its high level of education, but more so for the extracurricular activities and skills which were ...
0
votes
5answers
69 views

Is there a word or phrase for helping someone when you are better equipped than them?

Is there a word or phrase for doing a favour or helping someone because you are in a better position than they are to get it done? For example, it would take me a lot longer to herd some cattle than ...
-1
votes
2answers
80 views

Is there a word in English that essentially means “I” or “we” in formal context?

In Swedish there is a word, "undertecknad", which would refer the author of a piece of text. It is an expression used in formal context when you try to objectify yourself (and avoid saying "I") out of ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views
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, ...
19
votes
6answers
4k 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
53 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
28 views

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

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
102 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
37 views

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

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
355 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
28 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
68 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
84 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
63 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
119 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
34 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
687 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
70 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
28 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
113 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
275 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
29 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!