This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. If you actually seek a phrase, or don't care, see the "phrase requests" tag too. To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word.

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32
votes
15answers
5k views

“True” is to “false” as “truth” is to… what?

If I were to reverse the sentence, "I care about the truth" I would want to say: I care about the false. Is that correct? It seems awkward at best: He speaks the truth! / He speaks the ...
31
votes
10answers
5k views

What is the word to describe “the gaining of full control over an ability or power you already have”?

For example, a Jedi is born with powers, but must learn how to control them in order to use them. What's the one best word for this? I have _ _ _ my power. The word is in the back of my head ...
30
votes
10answers
22k views

Is there a word for someone with the same name?

If a person shares my name, in Dutch there is the word "naamgenoot", meaning roughly 'member of the same name'. John A: Hi, my name is "John" John B: O, then we're insert solution word here! ...
30
votes
5answers
3k views

Winter — wintry; summer — summery; spring — ?; autumn — ?

wintry: characteristic of winter, esp. in feeling or looking very cold and bleak: "a wintry landscape". summery: belonging to or characteristic of or occurring in summer; "summery weather"; ...
30
votes
2answers
2k views

Revealing that someone else is gay — counterpart to “come out”

If I reveal to my friend that I am gay, I'd say I came out to my friend. How would I say that my friend told his friend (without asking me for permission) that I am gay? My friend [insert ...
30
votes
7answers
6k views

Word a male can use to refer to a female that is not old or young (girl/lady/woman)

I'm a married male in my mid-thirties and meet a woman of a similar age and talk about business. I want to refer to this meeting later, and it feels weird to say "I met a girl today...," (feels like ...
30
votes
12answers
2k views

Is there a word to describe a highly desirable cursed treasure?

Is there a single word to describe an object or idea that is so desirable that everyone wants to attain it but once they have it they are immediately cursed? The idea is often used in literature—some ...
30
votes
8answers
10k views

X, Y, Z — horizontal, vertical and …?

When working in a 2D coordinate system you could say that X is the horizontal axis and Y is the vertical axis. Extending this to 3D, is there a similar word for the Z axis? (I'm aware of Width, ...
29
votes
15answers
20k views

Collective word for food and drink

Is there a word that best describes food and drink taken at the same time? I've thought of refreshments and consumables but neither seem right to me.
29
votes
8answers
4k views

“Warm” is to “warmth” as “cool” is to what?

Is there a word for "coolness" that corresponds to warmth?
29
votes
13answers
4k views

What is a verb for “illusion”?

What is a verb for illusion? I want to use it in a sentence like the following: The optical effect [illudes] my perception of its real shape. But illude does not exist. But I cannot find illude ...
29
votes
14answers
4k views

Is there a verb for remaining silent?

Dutch has the verb zwijgen, which means remaining silent. Ik zwijg means I remain silent or I say nothing. It is also often used as an imperative, similar to shut up. I have been discussing this ...
29
votes
15answers
5k views

A word for a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh

There is a word for this in Indonesian language: jayus. (Maybe, it is used in Filipino and Malaysian language also.) It is a joke that is so bad, it's funny. It is often mentioned as ...
28
votes
26answers
8k views

A non-offensive term to call a lunatic?

How can a mad scientist's friend address him? For example, when engaged in a conversation with other people (who don't know the scientist), he mentions having such a friend? I suppose a loony sounds ...
28
votes
16answers
8k views

What's a word for avoiding a question with a generic (fake) answer?

Examples... Q: Why is the sky blue? A: Because God made it that way. (A kid to their parent) Q: Why do I have to clean my room? A: Because I said so. What is it called when someone ...
27
votes
19answers
8k views

Single-word synonym for a “pedantic rule-follower”?

What do you call a person who always follows the rules, at the expense of everything else? I’m thinking there’s one word that can describe this, but I can’t place it.
27
votes
9answers
2k views

Single word for people who are like “a frog in the well”

Is there a single word describing someone who is like a frog in a well? The frog believes the well is the entire world. How can I describe people who think that their own small environment is the ...
27
votes
12answers
12k views

What is a word for a question that has no answer because it is seemingly invalid?

A friend of mine posted a riddle on Facebook involving adding money and then subtracting money. It ended with a question asking where $1 went, but the trick was that there was no discrepancy, so the ...
27
votes
12answers
2k views

English word equivalent of 膩 (sick of something due to overindulgence)

The chinese character 膩 (nì) is often used to describe when you are sick of something because it's too excessive in some way. Google translate converts it to "greasy" which is true in the sense that ...
27
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a term for grammatical mistakes as a result of trying too hard?

Today, I learned the term hyperforeignism after writing that I was drinking a latté and then stopping to wonder why I was putting a diacritical mark on the "e". This reminded me of other language ...
26
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the opposite of “skyrocket”?

I recently came across a situation where something was decreasing rapidly. My friend was led to say: The price of fuel has really skyrocketed downwards lately. Something about this statement ...
26
votes
22answers
11k views

What do we call people who go to the gym?

A group of people who regularly attend gym classes or work-out. What are they called? Is there a single-word for this particular group? Apart from my calling them fanatics, mad (BrEng)/crazy (AmEng), ...
26
votes
7answers
2k views

Do you say 'white blackboard'?

English is not my first language, so I'm not sure what you commonly call one of these: I'm trying to choose between blackboard, white blackboard, or maybe just 'slate'.
26
votes
17answers
11k views

Word/phrase to mean something that just happens once

What is the word/phrase to mean something that just happens once? For example, I have often been told/expected to do this and not to do that. I become aimless and gradually lose the idea of who ...
26
votes
7answers
3k views

What are “real stores” called in English, as opposed to “online stores”?

In a piece of software, what would I call a store that sells items to the public in real life as opposed to an online store (ie. a health-food store). It will look like this: ____ Store ...
26
votes
7answers
4k views

Antonym of “exodus”

5PM. There's a mass exodus out of the city as people depart for home. What word describes the migration in the other direction -- A mass arrival of people? As far as I know, there isn't a word like ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views
26
votes
2answers
758 views

What do you call the eating of frogs?

"Herpivory"? "Ranophagy"? Hurry, I need to mock a French friend.
25
votes
19answers
7k views

Word for not being happy with something but having to be satisfied with it

Is there a single word that describes the state of not being happy with something but having to be satisfied with it? Example: I wanted to split the video into small segments. Programming this ...
25
votes
12answers
6k views

What do you call the child who doesn’t resemble his / her parents in English?

There are sons and daughters who don’t look like their parents at all. We call them “Onikko 鬼っ子” in Japanese, which literally means the child born or brought by an ogre, not by his / her biological ...
25
votes
10answers
12k views

A single word for someone who is quick to hate others

What is a single word to describe someone who is quick to hate others? With anger we can say quick-tempered, but what about quick in hating other people/easily hates others. Hateful means full of ...
25
votes
12answers
4k views

Is there a synonym for 'fake' that has good connotations?

What's a good adjective to describe a smile which is not genuine, but still has a good connotation? I was thinking of using fake smile, but fake has a negative connotation, which I'm trying to avoid. ...
25
votes
4answers
1k views

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

I want a replacement for rains in the above, 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a name for this type of insult: “I am friends with many manly men. And Gary.”?

Is there a term or word appropriate to describe the trick of using a general term and then explicitly adding a specific term to strongly imply that the specific is not part of the general? The trick I ...
25
votes
2answers
17k views

Is there a word for four times as much, analogous to once, twice, and thrice?

Is there a word for 'four times as much', analogous to once, twice, and thrice?
25
votes
12answers
2k views

Looking for a better term than 'benign envy' or 'mudita'

Often when I'm happy for someone's good fortune or success, I find myself using the words envious or envy. In casual speech with friends, voice tone and familiarity help deliver my positive intent, ...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

What do you call money earned through unethical sources?

Money/Assets/Property that is earned through unethical sources is called ? Money that is earned through bad sources like corrupted politics, corrupted business, ransom money, stolen or theft ...
24
votes
10answers
4k views

Word for the emotion behind “D'oh!”

What is the name of the emotion that you feel when you accidentally make a mistake? Such as when you clumsily drop a bowl and it shatters? In the Simpsons, Homer says "D'oh!" when this sort of thing ...
24
votes
11answers
2k views

What word defines a category suited for both header and footer?

So there I was, trying to ask a question (now on SO) on Webmaster.SE partly involving a 'header' and a 'footer'. One part of my code defines shared aspects of both the header and the footer. Anyway ...
24
votes
10answers
7k views

Is there a word that means “doing the right thing for the wrong reason”?

Is there a word that means doing the right thing for the wrong reason or getting the right conclusion from the wrong set of presumptions?
23
votes
21answers
11k views

Word meaning “the act of intending to do nothing”

As I am a person who frequently intends to do nothing (or at any rate as little as possible), I wondered if there was a word meaning "the act of intending to do nothing". I had the impression that ...
23
votes
32answers
7k views

Alternative ways to say “I cannot answer that question”? [closed]

I'm getting bored of repeating the same "I can't answer that" phrase over and over. I'm trying other phrases, like "I'll leave that to your imagination," but that one sounds too weird. Specifically, ...
23
votes
12answers
5k views

What do you call a person who is regionally biased?

What do you call a person who is regionally biased and has an unreasonable hatred/dislike for people from other regions of the country/world? Something like a racist, but the point of discrimination ...
23
votes
17answers
6k views

Is there a single word that means “hitting the target but missing the point”?

For example the waiting time target in a hospital can be met if enough patients are killed off quickly so freeing up beds. However hitting the waiting time target in that way is rather missing the ...
23
votes
14answers
3k views

Generic name for places like village, town and cities

There is the German word Ort or Ortschaft which is a hypernym for places where people live like villages towns cities etc. Is there a correspondent word in English? I don't want to use location ...
23
votes
15answers
39k views

What would you call a person who doesn't want to learn anything new?

What would you call a person who doesn't want to learn new things and even maybe thinks that this is unnecessary since he knows enough already? An ignorant person?
23
votes
11answers
12k views

Is there a term that defines nostalgia for something you've never experienced?

Often I find I have a sense of nostalgia for things I've never actually experienced, in a way that rivals the same sort of feelings I have for things I have experienced. For example when listening ...
22
votes
27answers
10k views

What is a word that could define someone who likes to cause conflict?

What would you call someone who does things knowing specifically that his/her actions will cause pain and/or conflict or completes an action just to get someone in trouble or hurt them? For example, ...
22
votes
12answers
2k views

One word for “stealing something on its way to the recipient”

I am looking for a word which means stealing something on its way to the recipient. For example, suppose you sent a gift to your friend. And suppose someone steals it before it reaches your friend. ...
22
votes
4answers
6k views

What do you call a man who knows well how to fix his household appliances?

Some men are really good at fixing things, especially the household appliances while they're not specialists or technician. Is there any words to explain these people?