This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. See the "phrase requests" tag instead (or as well) if you seek a phrase that fits the meaning. To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word.

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132
votes
9answers
18k views

Is there a word or phrase for the feeling you get after looking at a word for too long?

(Perhaps this only happens to me, but I doubt it.) Sometimes after looking at a word for a while, I become convinced that it can't possibly be spelled correctly. Even after looking it up, sounding ...
110
votes
12answers
10k views

What do you call a disk with a hole in the middle?

Compact Discs, washers and Aerobie frisbees are all disks with a hole in the middle. Is there a word (either mathematical or not) to describe this shape? I mean the specific case of a round hole in a ...
93
votes
10answers
7k views

Is there a word for a person with only one head?

Reading this article by the fantastic Douglas Adams I came across this interesting quote: ‘[I]nteractivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal ...
78
votes
20answers
6k views

How to say that food is hot (temperature) without the listener thinking that I mean “spicy”?

There is an excellent discussion of spicy vs. hot here: Difference between "spicy" and "hot" However, having read the previous question, I did not see any answer that tells how to ...
68
votes
28answers
10k views

Idiom or word for a very crowded place

There is a popular idiom in Russian for describing a really crowded place: "(there's) no room for an apple to fall" ("яблоку негде упасть"). I struggle to think of anything similar in English, and ...
65
votes
30answers
7k views

Is there a word for someone who really has their act together [closed]

Is there a word for someone who really has their act together? Someone who has their time well-managed, is focused, works out, has ambitions, eats right. Not necessarily success, but there's a kind of ...
63
votes
17answers
12k views

Is there a word for “air can pass through it”?

If light can pass through an object, or if you can see through it, it is transparent. Is there a similar word for "air can pass through", or you can breathe through an object? This adjective would be ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?

I find it handy when talking about my sons and daughters I can just say my children. It's nice to say nieces instead of sibling's daughters. I wonder if there is a similar term for nieces and nephews ...
58
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the error called when two letters are mistakenly swapped?

Generally this may be called typo but when particularly two letters of a word are mistakenly swapped, what is this error called? Some examples: teh > the fromat > format comptuer > computer
56
votes
24answers
6k views

Is there a word for a non-geek?

I am looking for a term which clearly defines somebody as a non-geek, without being derogatory. The best example I have seen is muggle, but it needs context to be understood, as in "You don't meet ...
55
votes
13answers
9k views

Is there a polite alternative to “No thanks, I'm full”?

English is not my native language, but when I was studying in the US, I was always trying to find an alternative to I'm full! I felt that it was a very improper way to express that I have eaten ...
53
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the first part of a joke called?

How does one refer to the first part of a joke? The follow up is often referred to as a punchline but I'm unsure how to refer to the first part. Is it a 'joke' or does a 'joke' include the punchline? ...
51
votes
10answers
17k views

“Man” is to “womanizer” as “woman” is to what?

What's the feminine version of womanizer?
50
votes
12answers
7k views

You “show” someone a picture. You “---” someone a song?

In Maltese, we have a verb meaning "to show" corresponding to "to see/to look", and we have a different verb corresponding to "to hear/to listen": inti tara stampa (you look at a picture.) ---- ...
49
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an English phrase for an inability to actually *leave* already?

There is a Hungarian expression, küszöbgörcs, which literally means "threshold-cramp", and is used to describe that long conversation you have in the entryway, with all the guests awkwardly holding ...
48
votes
8answers
7k views

Polite alternative to the term “bitch” when referring to a female dog

I'm writing an example of constructing logic, and I need to differentiate between an adult female dog, an adult male dog and a puppy and am searching for polite terms. Unfortunately, the word "bitch" ...
47
votes
15answers
6k views

Is there a word for a change so small that it doesn’t seem to be a change at all?

Today, I was reading an article on pharmaceutical companies making minute changes to a drug in order to extend the patent. In one instance, the company profiled did not actually change the content of ...
45
votes
18answers
17k views

Is there a word to describe someone who tends to disagree with others only to upset them?

What's the word to describe someone who acts arrogantly and always disagrees with others unreasonably in order to upset people around him/her? [I'm not looking for adjectives like unpleasant, ...
45
votes
6answers
4k views

The dark dot in your eye

I think every single one of us has experienced a dark dot in his/her sight when looking at a white surface such as a white ceiling, there's something in our eye that with a little focus we can see it, ...
44
votes
14answers
8k views

What do you call a person who started something that is later followed by everyone?

What do you call a person who started something that is later followed by everyone? For example, someone started to stay late at night till 8 p.m. and later everyone started to stay till 8 p.m..
44
votes
10answers
17k views

You quench your thirst. What do you do with your hunger?

What is the equivalent of "quench" when speaking of hunger? Is it appropriate to say you quenched your hunger?
44
votes
7answers
3k views

English counterpart to Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho”

What is an English counterpart to the Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho” uttered unconsciously in such case as sitting down on the bench? When you get old, it becomes tough to move your body. We ...
44
votes
10answers
11k views

“Eat” is to “feed” as “drink” is to what?

I can say "I feed someone". Am I forced to say "I give someone a drink", or is there a single word for this (as in "I [verb] someone")? Unfortunately my thesaurus can't really help me.
43
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there a term which covers ATM cards, credit cards, and debit cards?

I work in accommodation for international travelers, and people can pay with various kinds of cards: In some countries such as USA, credit cards are very common, but debit cards are not so common. ...
41
votes
23answers
8k views

Is there a word for telling the truth (technically) in order to misguide?

Let's say I caused a minor car crash some time ago and today I meet a woman. The conversation goes: Woman: Hey, I remember that car with the scratch from the crash last week, you must be the one ...
41
votes
14answers
6k views

A word for a worldly wise person who pretends to be naïve?

What is a word for someone who is experienced and wise, but who deliberately acts naïve? I don’t intend it for sarcastic use; I’m trying to describe someone succeeding in making people think that ...
41
votes
18answers
5k views

The act of baiting someone into (incorrectly) calling bullshit

Is there a single word, or commonly-used term, to describe the act of baiting another person into calling bullshit, when in fact you're not bullshitting? Conceptually, this either a sub-type, or the ...
41
votes
13answers
4k views

Is there another way of saying 'user-unfriendly'?

Is there another way of saying something is 'user-unfriendly'?
41
votes
5answers
9k views

What is a suitable word to describe a place where two rivers meet?

I've googled for a while and on some sites I've found the word "watershed" as the proposed word. Is it the word that best suits it?
40
votes
10answers
11k views

What do you call unclean water that you can't see through?

What do you call unclean water that you can't see through? Probably contaminated with dirt, prolonged stagnation or mineral erosion, almost pale brown, like stagnated water on a rainy day.
40
votes
14answers
3k views

Word that describes someone that causes his own misfortune

Is there a single word to qualify/describe someone that causes his own misfortune, or even a single noun that refers to such a person?
40
votes
11answers
6k views

What is the opposite of Optimal?

Obviously something can be sub-optimal or poor, minimal, bad or terrible... But is there a word that means the exact opposite, the antonym, of optimal?
40
votes
2answers
2k views

What word denotes a belief that apparently inanimate objects actually express a malicious, autonomous will?

I came across this word a few years ago, but can't find it now. I do not mean deodand, animism, pathetic fallacy, scapegoating, anthropomorphism, or personification (Word for attaching blame to ...
38
votes
12answers
6k views

Word for software which has been killed or is no longer supported

When describing a piece of software on a list I have the following information: SoftwareName Released: 2013-12-12 ????: 2014-12-12 The ???? is like the opposite of Released. Maybe I could use ...
38
votes
9answers
8k views

A more appropriate word for feeling “high”?

What is a more formal or appropriate word to replace the word high when writing "feeling high"? By feeling "high", I don't mean the person has to be smoking weed or taking crack. So the person is not ...
38
votes
14answers
6k views

What would you call someone who imposes on other people's generosity?

What would you call someone who isn't afraid to ask for money or any kind of favor or who misinterprets someone's generosity for a consistent resource for what they need?
38
votes
20answers
8k views

What's the opposite of “concatenate” in programming?

To concatenate means to string together different things. Concatenating "snow" and "ball" produces "snowball." But what would the opposite action be? What is the name of the action used to derive two ...
35
votes
17answers
3k views

What do you call hypothetical inhabitants living on the Moon? [closed]

I'm writing a fiction where inhabitants live on the Moon, so I want a name for them. I know that 'venusian' means 'of or relating to the planet Venus', 'martian' means 'of or relating to the planet ...
35
votes
21answers
3k views

What is the word for an action that is “considered to be frowned upon”?

I'm looking for an adjective to describe a behavior or action that is considered to be a faux pas, or is frowned upon. Picking your nose is [word]. Wearing socks with sandals is [word]. ...
35
votes
7answers
3k views

“Left” and “right” are to “side” as “front” and “rear” are to what?

Is there an equivalent word to "side" when speaking of the front or rear of something (e.g. a car)? So, a mechanic might say: You damaged your wing-mirror? Ok, which side? ... or... You ...
35
votes
6answers
7k views

What do you call the interconnecting bits of a puzzle piece in English?

This is hard to describe, but I'm curious about what the proper word is for these thingies in English. So I searched for a picture on Google and circled what I'm referring to with red:
34
votes
14answers
29k views

One word for someone who doesn't care about anything

A pessimist is someone who always considers negative outcomes of a situation, whereas an optimist always considers the positive outcomes. Is there a word for someone who, in any given situation, ...
34
votes
14answers
6k views

Appropriate word for internet name of a person

What is the appropriate word or phrase which means the internet name of a person. I mean the nickname that a person uses in almost all places on the internet like blog, IRC, forums, mailing lists etc. ...
34
votes
12answers
5k views

A derogatory word for a splendid person

In Swedish there is a word "präktig" that can be used to describe a person that is annoyingly decent, reliable and good in every way. The common translation is "splendid" but that doesn't sound ...
34
votes
12answers
16k views

What do you call a person who is always online on the Internet?

Is there any specific word for a person who is always online on the Internet? I am just curious to know because staying online is like a profession nowadays.
34
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the words for the different parts of a ticket?

Admission tickets such as those for the cinema are often composed of a part which will remain to the customer, and a part which will remain to the attendant. What are the two parts called? What is ...
34
votes
4answers
2k views

English word for taking a derogatory term and owning it with pride

E.g. "geek" or "queer" were originally meant as an insulting term, but were taken by the recipients as titles of pride. Is there a term for this phenomenon?
34
votes
9answers
20k views

“Race” is to “racism” as “religion” is to what?

I've heard "racist" being used in a few cases to describe bigotry towards people of a certain religion. It's a bit annoying because it implies that all people of a religion are the same race, which is ...
34
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a term to describe an event which happens every 18 months?

Obviously every year is annual. Every two years is biennial. Does the English language have a term for every 18 months?
33
votes
18answers
7k views

Is there a word for being so polite as to appear insincere?

I'm looking for a term in English to describe being so polite that one appears to be insincere.