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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10answers
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Is there a term for when a politician sends an anonymous idea to see whether the public is receptive?

In any democratic country, I guess, sometimes politicians want to see whether an idea is acceptable in the prevailing public opinion, but at the same time they don't want to reveal their position on ...
20
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17answers
4k views

Noun for “person with intermediate skill”

I'm looking for the noun form of "person with intermediate skill". For example, in the context of a particular activity, "person with no skill" might be designated a novice, and "person with much ...
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8answers
1k views

Word that means “outdated name”

Is there a word that means "outdated name"? For example: Record, although very little music is on vinyl Film, although most movies are digital Horsepower, although no one uses horses as a metric ...
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25answers
5k views

Is there a word for a person who doesn't think the rules apply to him?

I'm trying to write a letter to the editor of my local paper about their report of a man who doesn't think the rules apply to him. Is there a word for this? He's a bit of an egoist, demanding to ...
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7answers
2k views

What is the word for unconsciously blocking out background noises?

What is the word for the phenomenon where your brain blocks out background sounds, because they are constant? For example when you don't hear the air conditioning whirring away until it stops.
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4answers
11k views

What word means what many people think 'ironic' means?

'Ironic' is often used to mean an unusual coincidence rather than its true meaning which is closer to sarcastic. That being said, is there a word that would be a good replacement for what many people ...
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15answers
3k views

What is a term for someone who doesn't know what they haven't experienced?

I'm struggling to find a word or short term for a person or group of people who do not experience jealousy/remorse/etc. due to a lack of something. For example, people from the middle ages could not ...
20
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10answers
3k views

Antonym for lying?

Is there an antonym for lying? The lyric "You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin'" in "These boots are made for walkin'" made me wonder: does a single word exist which means to speak the truth?
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15answers
9k views

Is there a word to describe a person who likes chaos?

I am wondering if there is a word to describe a person who likes chaos. By this I mean a few specific things: The person is pleased to hear when chaos is created, or confusion emerges The person ...
20
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2answers
618 views

Is there a name for this method of writing that includes pictograms?

I've seen people write (usually in a humorous way) a 'code-like' message where parts of words are replaced with a pictogram that sounds like that word-part. E.G.: (eyeball) (tin can)(rope knot) ...
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9answers
2k views

What is a good term to describe the last of a dying breed?

Is there a word or short phrase that describes a person or animal that is the last survivor of a dying tribe/species? I'm trying to use the word facetiously to describe something technical and dry. ...
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7answers
2k views

Is there a word for accidentally stealing something?

Is there a single English word to describe when someone has appropriated property that doesn't belong to them unintentionally? For example, say I borrow a pen from someone and absentmindedly put it ...
20
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3answers
407 views

A name for hat collectors?

The Stack Exchange Winter Bash 2013 has me thinking about hats, as my collection is growing. I know that the terms for people who collect specific things are generally obscure, but they do exist. ...
20
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3answers
383 views

What are the names of the pieces of a question mark?

A question mark ? seems to be composed of two distinct pieces, top and bottom. Do these pieces have their own names, and if so, what are they?
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5answers
1k views

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Is there a name for this kind of punny transference?

First came John Guare's play Six Degrees of Separation, which was later turned into a film. It was about the web of interconnections that binds all of humanity together. Later came the well known ...
19
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10answers
2k views

What is the opposite of “abstain”?

We were thinking originally in terms of voting, but of course "abstain" has a more general meaning, of which the antonym is probably "indulge". But is there an opposite that would be more appropriate ...
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20answers
8k views

Is there a single word for “one who speaks/boasts a lot about everything”?

I'm looking for a single word to most aptly describe a person possessing the following "qualities": Appears to be superior in every technology/skill under the sun, which he deems worthy of knowing ...
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18answers
7k views

An inoffensive word for “stupid”?

In my native language, there is a word that has a meaning similar to stupid, but it is friendly and usually used for a close friend or loved one. It even helps the target people to feel happy in some ...
19
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16answers
5k views

Word for a person who loses or has lost faith?

Does a word exist for a person who has lost faith? I am looking for a single word that represents a person who lost faith, e.g. in religion, humanity, himself. The more general, the better.
19
votes
5answers
21k views

Word meaning “to make more efficient”?

I think this question came up in a conversation with a friend...we were discussing how serving lunch could be made more efficient. They could _____ the lunch line by doing this or that. The only ...
19
votes
15answers
3k views

What is the word for a path that is made naturally by the action of people walking?

I remember one day, when I was supposed to be at school, hanging out at a friends house and watching an episode of Call My Bluff and there was a word that meant something like: A path that is made ...
19
votes
12answers
931 views

What is the correct term for a story that sits alongside another one in time and place?

What is the correct term for a book that sits alongside another book in time and universe, sharing some characters and events? Not after (a sequel) or before (a prequel), but parallel. Example: I've ...
19
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6answers
2k views

What overarching category do “street,” “road,” “avenue”, etc. belong to?

Apple belongs to the category of Fruit. What category do street, road, and avenue belong to?
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6answers
4k views

Is there a more fancy name for a “kitchen hole”?

Does English have a specific word for a hole between the kitchen and the living room that is used to get food directly to the dining table? German has the nice Durchreiche, which approximately ...
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6answers
3k views

Is there a term for words that have a single meaning or are only used in a single context?

Certain words you hear in English are only ever heard in a single context. For example, skirl is used to describe the sound a bagpipe makes. Etymonline generously says the word is "rarely" heard ...
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6answers
7k views

What's the female equivalent of “suitor”?

I'm looking for a word which could satisfy the usage of "suitor", except it would be used to indicate female "suitors": E.g.: She had a host of suitors eagerly awaiting her favour... Now, I ...
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5answers
1k views

“Bride” is to “bridal” as “groom” is to …?

Instead of taking a bridal portrait, my niece and her fiancé had photos taken together which she insisted on calling groomals. While I guess this term is the accepted name for this new trend, I ...
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6answers
6k views

What do you call those divisions of a book bigger than a paragraph but smaller than a chapter?

In printed books, or at least in novels, there are often major breaks within a chapter more important than paragraphs. Often they are separated by a greater amount of whitespace than paragraphs and ...
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votes
11answers
2k views

A short term for something like “satisfaction + frustration”

Imagine that you are waiting for something you really want to happen, like maybe buying a new gadget. Since you really want it, when you finally happen to get it you feel satisfied and happy. However, ...
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19answers
3k views

What would you call someone who makes no lasting impression?

What word would describe someone who doesn't generally leave much of an impression on people?
18
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9answers
2k views

Terminology for fake photograph

I think there is a good chance that a new word or phrase has been coined to mean fake photograph. Is there a single word to express it?
18
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15answers
4k views

What is a word that means “a person or thing which is small yet capable of defeating big giants”?

What can I call a person or a thing that is very small yet capable of defeating big giants? I need different words that can be connected closely to this meaning. It can be related to success,war, or ...
18
votes
11answers
2k views

What is a person who never leaves a tip called?

Ever wonder why the waiter at the restaurant you went to last week is now giving you dirty looks. Well, perhaps you didn't leave them a tip! Then, the question is: What is a person who never leaves a ...
18
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10answers
1k views

A word for something that is both useful and beautiful

Is there a word to describe an object that excels in form and function? I am trying to avoid very general words like great, superb or excellent.
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3answers
817 views

Word for a part of a wooden railroad track

I'm looking for a word for the thingy that's in the blue circle - ideally something not too complicated for a 3-year-old buddy. :)
18
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3answers
2k views

What is the inverse of “guardian”?

If I am your guardian, what does that make you to me?
18
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a word or expression for a small crush on someone?

I am not very sure if the word crush ("an intense and usually passing infatuation") can be used between two strangers. For example, a man sees a beautiful woman for the first time in his life. Could ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

Word for someone who is ignorant and proud?

Many a times, we tend to meet someone who is ignorant yet arrogant; to the extent that they can go a long way blabbing about something they don't really know with so much vigour. What can you refer to ...
18
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5answers
3k views

Are there any words I can use to disambiguate “biweekly”?

We have two words for events occurring in periods of years - biannual meaning twice a year, and biennial meaning once every two years. However, my colleagues talk about having meetings biweekly. This ...
18
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7answers
2k views

Does British English have a word for dry, starchy savoury snacks that are not fried slices of potato?

Everyone, the world over, enjoys savoury snacks, particularly dry, starchy ones. Far and away the most popular kind in the Anglosphere are the ones made from deep-fried (sometimes baked) thinly-sliced ...
18
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16answers
2k views

Word for when something wrong is made to seem normal because it is common?

Someone made this statement: You found the perfect partner (looks, finance, personality) but the sex is a bust, would you cheat? I found it offensive that she was making the question 'would ...
18
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2answers
918 views

Is there a word for having more than ten fingers?

I recently read an article about a man who had twelve fingers and twelve toes. Is there a word for this genetic anomaly?
18
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1answer
775 views

What's the word for someone who pretends to buy something from a street-seller, in order to draw other people?

So there's a guy on Oxford Street in London who's always shouting through a PA system from his shop that they're "closing down tomorrow" and all their crappy perfume is on sale. I walk past this place ...
18
votes
5answers
566 views

Word meaning coincidence of reference to the unusual

Most of us have had the experience of stumbling over a new fact or bit of knowledge and then finding several more references to it in the near future. For example, you see a strange word which you're ...
18
votes
1answer
781 views

In old books, why is the first word of the next page printed at the bottom of this page?

In old books from the 16th to 18th centuries, the first word from the next page is often printed right justified on its own, at the end of the current page. It's not in every book of this period, but ...
17
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14answers
6k views

What do you call a person who is easily replaced?

I was thinking "interchangeable", but isn't really used on people. How do you describe someone who is easily replaced by another person. The implied connotation is that they have no inherent ...
17
votes
17answers
8k views

Is there a word for a person who gives out too many extraneous details?

I'm looking for a single-word term that describes a personality that wants to give out too many unnecessary details in a conversation. [EDIT] Let me give you guys an example. Suppose you ask your ...
17
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20answers
11k views

Term for someone who has experienced many hardships

I was speaking with an acquaintance recently and a discussion came up in which I desperately needed a word to describe someone who has experienced many hardships throughout his life. Does such a word ...
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6answers
5k views

What is the word for attending a party without being invited?

What is the word for "attend a party or event without being invited"? I read it some time back but can not recollect it.
17
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10answers
1k views

What is an appropriate word for a “rerise”?

I'm wondering if there is a more appropriate term in English that describes a rise of something (like a nation) that has already achieved that status before, like a second rise or re-rise.