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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (3)

22
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5answers
2k views

Is there a name for synonyms that appear to have opposite meanings?

The words flammable and inflammable mean the same thing, but (to someone unfamiliar with their meaning) appear to be opposites (because of the "in" prefix). Is there a name for such word pairs that ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
22answers
14k 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 ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

What word means centered about death?

I'm writing an essay about Don DiLillo's novel White Noise, and would like to explore Murray Jay Siskand's fascination with death. The particular word I'm looking for means "death-centric", to fit in ...
21
votes
14answers
15k views

What do you call someone who is always asking for favours?

What can I call someone (a friend) who is always asking for favours such as: if you are going downtown, can you buy this for me please or, can you lend me your car for an hour or, if you have some ...
21
votes
16answers
6k views

A positive way to describe a know it all

What is a good word to describe someone who is confident, will correct you if you are mistaken about something and they are correct. They display a degree of self-assurance that could be construed as ...
21
votes
17answers
188k views

What is a word in English that means “able to learn new things quickly”?

What is the English word to describe the following skill: “able to learn new things quickly”?
21
votes
5answers
45k 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 ...
21
votes
25answers
10k 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 ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

Word for “Can't be seen with the naked eye”?

I'm wondering if there is a word to describe something that cannot be seen with the naked eye. 'Microscopic' is the first that springs to mind, but this has too many 'science-y' connotations. It ...
21
votes
15answers
6k views

What do you call someone who exploits people and their confidence using ‘clever speech’? [closed]

I am referring to someone who makes people ‘buy’ what he says and gets things done by them through nothing but clever speech – something one can describe as crafty or beguiling, but not fraudulent. I ...
21
votes
10answers
11k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

What would you call a pleading before a judge or God [closed]

Is there a noun or adjective for the following or similar: a pleading before a judge for clemency a prayer before God begging for mercy Is there a better word than "begging", "pleading", ...
21
votes
15answers
17k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
6k views

Opposite of Nightmare?

First off the word dream in most contexts does have positive connotations. When talking about dreams that people experience during sleep though the meaning becomes fairly neutral, at least as far as ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
13answers
12k 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
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 ...
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
2answers
687 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) ...
21
votes
17answers
18k 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 ...
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
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
8k 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
6k 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
10answers
2k views

Word for the “life/world” outside phone calls, text messages, and the Internet?

Example: She ignored my phone calls, text messages, and emails. As for [...], she also seemed to have taken measures: she quit our shared classes and stopped frequenting the places where we ...
20
votes
16answers
3k views

Alternative to “daydream” without the pleasant connotation

I am looking for a word that means something like "daydream" or "fantasy", but without the connotation that I actually want this "imagining" to come true. For example, something that would fit the ...
20
votes
18answers
18k 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
18answers
5k views

Is there a word for someone who is very friendly but only on a very shallow level?

It's not being a sycophant, because he doesn't want any favors from you. It's just all small talk. I would like to know the best word to describe this behavior or this person?
20
votes
8answers
2k views

What do you call the wooden bridge-like structures that make up a harbor?

I’m referring to this: https://www.portseattle.org/Marinas/Harbor-Island-Marina/Harbor%20Island%20Large%20Image%20Viewer/Harbor%20Island%20Marina%20110706_06.jpg (I added a red arrow.) Example ...
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
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 ...
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
8k 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
2answers
5k views

Weekly, Daily, Hourly — Minutely…?

What is the correct word for "happening every minute"? How do you pronounce it?
20
votes
8answers
19k views

Equivalent of “both” when referring to three or more items?

What would be the correct word to use when referring to three or more items, in the same manner as the word both? For example, using two words, with the word both: "There are several ...
20
votes
3answers
2k 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
957 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
6k 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
4k 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 ...