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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21
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13answers
9k views

What is a word for a person who throws a “fake smile”?

Most people, especially receptionists and air hostesses have the ability to smile in a fake way. Being professional, their smile isn't real. Inside they cry and die a thousand dead of tensions but ...
21
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
13answers
3k views

Word to describe a computer system that is more error accepting?

I am looking for a word to describe a computer system or program or software that allows more erroneous inputs while still running fine instead of hanging easily. I was thinking of "forgiving" but ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

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
votes
15answers
7k views

What is the word for an adult who is not mature?

What term can be used for an adult, especially a man, who is in his forties and still behaves like a teenager, shunning responsibilities typical of mature people, preferring to enjoy himself?
20
votes
12answers
5k views

What is the word for a sentence that initially sounds profound or deep, that is, in fact, meaningless or empty?

I'm sure I saw, recently, a word for this, but I can no longer remember, or find, it.
20
votes
18answers
15k 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 ...
20
votes
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 ...
20
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
3k 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.
20
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a word for this emotion? Resentment over someone's good fortune without wanting it - Not quite jealousy/envy

What is the word to describe this? I was reading up about the differences between jealousy and envy and this doesn't seem to fit either, when you don't actually want what the other person has, nor do ...
20
votes
15answers
15k 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
votes
2answers
672 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) ...
20
votes
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. ...
20
votes
1answer
7k views

Words pertaining to the senses and the corresponding disabilities

I need help on finding words relating to the senses/perception. I mean this in a neuronic/biological or philosophy-of-mind kind of way. A word for... pertaining to the senses (Is it sensory?) ...
20
votes
3answers
1k 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
votes
3answers
786 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?
20
votes
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
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, ...
19
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
4k views

A word for “reaching the top of a hill or mountain”

Is there a word that specifically refers to reaching the top of a hill or mountain? I want to describe the action of reaching the top of a hill and finally being able to see what is on the other ...
19
votes
19answers
4k 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?
19
votes
10answers
3k views

Derogatory term for electronic device

In German, the term "Kiste", literally meaning "box", is often used as a colloquial derogatory term for electronic and mechanical devices. It is comparable to "jalopy", which, however, seems to be ...
19
votes
15answers
4k views

“Canary in coal mine” in a word

Is there a single word to describe the canary in the phrase "Canary in a coalmine"? The best I can come up with is sentinel, but I'm nearly positive there's a more precise option. Edit: To clarify ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the name of this “yawning like” movement?

You may do this when you're tired or after a nap. This movement is usually called "yawning" but I think yawning is a bit different. With this movement, we may yawn too. After waking up, it usually ...
19
votes
23answers
3k views

A stronger word than “snob”

I recently stayed at a charming boarding house and had the pleasure of meeting one of the most curious people I have ever come across in my life. He was polite, and yet standoffish. He reminded me of ...
19
votes
15answers
6k 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
8answers
18k views

Word for something sad and funny at the same time [closed]

What's a word for something that is sad and funny at the same time?
19
votes
12answers
984 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
votes
7answers
961 views

Someone who appears more of an expert than they are [duplicate]

I believe there is a term for a person who uses 'expert sounding' terminology and exudes confidence, even when their actual abilities are significantly short of their 'presentation'. Using 'wine' a ...
19
votes
9answers
3k views

Opposite of the suffix -less

I'm looking for a suffix that has the opposite meaning of the suffix -less as in stainless. That is, a suffix that means “not free of ...”. In German, for example, there is the adverb “behaftet” and ...
19
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
19
votes
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 ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

What word describes something that can move orthogonally and diagonally?

Is there a word for the union of orthogonal and diagonal? If used in a sentence: The queen in chess can move ______. And used in another sentence: There are infinitely many directions. My ...
19
votes
7answers
3k 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?
19
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
19
votes
12answers
4k views

What is the correct word for “dependee”?

What is the correct word for "dependee"? In other words, what is the word for something that is depended upon? The relationship here is in the context of software engineering
19
votes
2answers
4k views

Weekly, Daily, Hourly — Minutely…?

What is the correct word for "happening every minute"? How do you pronounce it?
19
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
18
votes
14answers
8k 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 ...
18
votes
12answers
6k views

Gigolo is to man as what is to woman?

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth Edition) reads: gigolo, n. A man who has a continuing sexual relationship with and receives financial support from a woman. Is ...
18
votes
13answers
8k views

What do you call a sick person who is lying in bed?

Some conditions require that a person lie in bed all the time until recovered. Is there a name for such conditions or people experiencing them at the moment? For example, I am currently <bed ...
18
votes
13answers
4k views

Word for a body of water that is sufficiently populated with fish and worthy of fishing in

My game is exploration-and-interaction base. Now that the player has struggled and found a fishing rod, I would like my character to convey the message that "this pond appears to be sufficiently ...
18
votes
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
votes
16answers
10k 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.