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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8
votes
11answers
240 views
+50

What's a word for setting up a mechanism to prevent you from doing something in the future no matter what you may say or do then?

Suppose I've a tough exam tomorrow and I plan to study all day. Knowing that I'm usually great at procrastinating, I ask my family members to keep a tab on me and to do whatever is necessary to bring ...
49
votes
7answers
8k views
+200

“To science the sh*t out of something”

In The Martian movie, Matt Damon (Watney), when left stranded on Mars with very limited resources to survive, says: Mark Watney: In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, ...
2
votes
4answers
37 views

A term that describes the “shoulder angel/devil” but on a broader scale

I am attempting to find a phrase or word equivalent to "shoulder angel/devil", but on a broader scale, that does not only refer to the idea of "good" versus "bad". A shoulder angel/devil is a plot ...
1
vote
1answer
19 views

Is there an English idiom/metaphor for “mind boggling”, only more so?

In Hungarian, if you want to express that something is mind-blowing, you say megáll az ész "the mind stops". (For example, the National Geographic Channel's show Brain Games is titled Megáll az ész! ...
3
votes
4answers
62 views

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

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 ...
53
votes
15answers
18k views

What non-religious expressions can I use instead of “Thank God”? [on hold]

I'll give an example to help: Someone suffered a car accident, but physically the person is OK. So I say, "Thank God, he/she is fine."
4
votes
2answers
95 views

Does the “she was found in violation of…” <-> “she was violated” equivalence have a name?

This is a follow-up to this question: Why is "violated" being used as future perfect with a person as the object? At that question, it was established that there is a jargon/slang usage of ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Usage of the verb to provide: a particular sentence

I got stuck on this sentence: "Classes are often written to provide similar functionality to other classes". (Classes are a programming concept, something that, you know, provides funcionalities..) ...
0
votes
4answers
384 views

idiom for proceeding slowly and with difficulty

Is there an idiom I could use if I wanted to say that someone is doing something with a lot difficulty and slowly? I cannot think of anything. Thanks Edit from comment: For example: You have learnt ...
1
vote
2answers
71 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
44 views

Word for killing off or attempting to kill off an entire bloodline?

I would like to know if there is a word or phrase for a systematic campaign to annihilate every descendant of a particular ancestor. We have the word 'genocide' for killing off an entire race, and ...
3
votes
2answers
50 views

Umbrella term for words like indifference, neglect, deafening silence, ignorance (as in not care), disregard, insensitive, cold shoulder, inaction

I have been trying to research and catalog words that describe phenomenon related to an attitude or state to things that involve neither superficially positive nor negative immediate impacts (or does ...
2
votes
10answers
175 views

Is there an English equivalent to “Do not expose others' misdeeds”?

In Bahasa, the phrase "Jangan membuka aib orang lain" is used to ask other people to not expose one's bad deeds. An example of this would be: [After A breaks B's vase with C watching] A: C, ...
1
vote
6answers
133 views

Any idiom/phrase/expression to describe this attitude?

There is this person I know who always gets excited at the slightest of the things. They give a person too much credit than they deserve for simplest of the things they do. Not that I think there is ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

How can one best clarify the different senses of “compare”?

I have long felt that the taboo on comparing anyone to Hitler and many similar inhibitions were based on a confusion between “compare” in the senses of “liken to” and in the sense of “compare and ...
5
votes
4answers
170 views

English equivalent for “Just eat the cake. Why count the holes?”

In Malayalam/Indian, there's an expression: Appam thinnal pore, kuzhi ennano! It literally translates to: Just eat the appam (Indian pancake). Why count the holes! It implies that one ...
4
votes
5answers
138 views

English equivalent for “When the head is present, tail should not wag.”

In Malayalam/Indian, there's a saying "Thala Irikkumbol, Valu-attaruthu!", which literally translates to: When the head is present, tail should not wag. It means that one should not act out of ...
11
votes
12answers
695 views

Things will change: idiom or proverb

Is there an idiom or maybe a proverb stating that things will not be the same or as you want, forever. For example when telling someone that they might be in a good state or status now, but they will ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Were there any other synonyms to “sustainability” before the 80s?

The German word for sustainability, Nachhaltigkeit, arose (according to Wiktionary) in the 18th century. Ngrams shows this. I was wondering if the concept of sustainability did not exist before ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

What are other ways to say “he failed to realize that…”? [on hold]

I use the phrase "failed to realize that..." quite a lot in this chapter. What are other ways to say that? Thank you.
13
votes
11answers
632 views

Word for stealing an item then returning it without the owner's knowledge?

Does there exists a specific word to describe the action of stealing an item, keeping it for few days then returning it from where it was taken? An example: A friend of mine "lost" his personal diary ...
28
votes
22answers
5k views

Is there any curse/ swear equivalent for this Persian curse? “ May your head be covered by soil!”

There is a curse/ swear in Persian that literally means " May your head be covered by soil" and implies that " you'd better die and be buried /be underground!"( you are not important). We use it in ...
1
vote
2answers
20 views

Phrase for hosting or supporting children activities

Is there a phrase or word that would fit the activity (verb or noun) of hosting or supporting an activity for your children etc. Such as coaching the soccerteam, or perhaps just taking them to a ...
5
votes
2answers
268 views

Something like antonym for “dependent”

Let's suppose I have two objects – A and B. They are a pair. I mean that we will name them considering them one logical unit. For example: If I call A as "driven," then B will be called ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

What is a phrase or word for 'not logged in' state?

On a website, if you log in, you're in a logged in state, if you then log out, you are in a logged out state. How do you call the state before you have ever logged in to a site? Is it correct to also ...
6
votes
2answers
47 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the “superlative” way of expressing “thank you”

On rare occasions, you are in a situation where a simple Thank You seems like you're undermining the other person's help. You know, instances where you are too grateful to express your feelings of ...
1
vote
1answer
19 views

A good synonym or word for platform for creating things

In software development we often use the word Platform to describe something that other things can be built on. I find it's a bit over used and I'm looking to find a good way to describe something ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

“pros and cons”, “black and white”, “ups and downs”. Always in a fixed sequence, is there a word or phrase for these?

Is there a word or phrase for two nouns or adjectives joined by a conjunction (usually "and") in a fixed sequence? alive and well fast and furious hat and gloves pen and pencil ...
4
votes
3answers
118 views

Let's get started! or let's get going?

I'd like to know if anyone feels a difference between "Let's get started!" and "Let's get going!". Both seem to mean about the same. It is also interesting to notice that there seems to be an ...
1
vote
4answers
66 views

Name of ideology where 'thinking of something wrong is actually wrong'

I am thinking of the name of some kind of ideology where in a world where by the mere fact of thinking of doing something that is wrong causes you to actually be in the wrong. e.g. In a ...
1
vote
5answers
64 views

Alternative to “own time”

Is there a word or phrase that describe the time you take of from your home or family to do an activity for your own pleasure. Such as a beer at the pub with old friends, going to the movies with a ...
0
votes
5answers
3k views

More traditional / professional word or phrase for 'Plan of Attack'

I'm currently writing up a design document which is essentially a 'plan of attack', however this doesn't strike me as a particularly professional or eloquent term for what I mean and my mind's gone ...
-1
votes
0answers
31 views

English equivalent of a Magadh saying

The Magadhi saying literally translated is: neither fucking not fucking, just farting (after) mounting a vagina! Meaning someone being unable or impotent even though wanting/showing to ...
3
votes
2answers
28 views

What would be the phrase or proverb or idiom for “A robber is recognized or appreciated by a thief”?

What would be the phrase or proverb or idiom for "A robber is recognized or appreciated by a thief"? For instance, a jailbird criminal is supported/helped/appreciated/awarded by a corrupt politician ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What is it called when it's snowing with the sun out?

It is currently snowing, but the sun is shining. If it were raining while sunny, I would call that a sun shower. What is the equivalent for snow?
4
votes
3answers
233 views

What do you call tiny underdeveloped segments of an orange?

Sometimes after peeling your orange, you notice that there are also some underdeveloped segments inside it (figure 1), or at its base (figure 2). What do you call these tiny, underdeveloped ...
4
votes
3answers
262 views

What do you call the home in which you grew up and spent most of your childhood: father home, mother home or what? [duplicate]

Your native country is your "motherland"/ "fatherland", the land of your ancestors is your "fatherland" and your first language is your "mother tongue". What do you call the home in which you grew ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

What's a noun for the group of people who you're very close to, such as family, friends, relatives, and significant others?

If I wanted to describe all of the people close to someone such as their close friends, family, relatives, and spouse/significant other, how would I do so with one noun? The simplest 'noun' that ...
1
vote
7answers
340 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
76 views

What is single word or phrase/idiom for “someone speaks alot but works very-very slow” [duplicate]

What is single word or phrase/idiom for "someone speaks a lot but works very very slow" for example.... someone said/planned he would do 100 task but actually finished less than 10 task
2
votes
2answers
54 views

How to express a situation where someone puts others in a situation where others have to solve the problem

Is there any proverb to express a situation where someone put others, without asking approval in advance, in a situation where others have to solve the problem? He knows if he seeks for permission, ...
12
votes
8answers
2k views

Phrase meaning whoever is buying can choose

I was at the pub the other day, and it was my friends turn to buy a round. As he left the table, he asked what beer we wanted, and I replied with "Dealers choice", meaning that since he was buying the ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

English idiom for keeping a lousy employee on the payroll because of his connections? [duplicate]

You know (hypothetical) Larry, the CEO's third cousin, who was hired on an important and well paid position even though he totally sucks at it, dragging the entire department down, but the CEO keeps ...
9
votes
9answers
831 views

How to express an unwanted purchase?

I need a verb or an expression to convey the idea of being sold something unwanted or unneeded. Like when you go to a shop to buy , let's say, a shirt, and they somehow are able to sell you also a ...
6
votes
3answers
109 views

Ironic phrase for something becoming more complicated specifically because of efforts to 'simplify' it?

My linguistic skills fail me and I'd like some advice. I have a project that currently works exactly as intended, short and sweet, yet a higher up has changed their mind and are asking for it to be ...
6
votes
7answers
210 views

English equivalent of Polish saying “[You've got] freedom Thomas in your own house!”

Another nice Polish saying about freedom in ones own house "Wolnoć Tomku w swoim domku!" that is rather untranslateable but modern version of this quotation would be "[You've got] freedom Thomas in ...
4
votes
4answers
138 views

Word/phrase for a non-secret secret identity

I've been following the TV-show "Lucifer", a show about The Devil leaving Hell and opening a nightclub i LA. Here he starts working with a detective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4bF_quwNtw He ...
6
votes
4answers
181 views

English expression for “cold-natured” without emotional connotation?

I speak Persian, and in our language we have a word for a person who more often feels cold than warm (or reverse). The person tends to be cold even when others around them feel warm or when they ...
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.