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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23
votes
17answers
8k 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
24answers
6k views

What do you call someone who thinks everyone is incompetent (doesn't know anything)?

I'm looking for a way to describe someone who thinks everyone is incompetent (that is, doesn't know anything) and always has to explain every minute (small) detail because his perception of the ...
23
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. ...
23
votes
12answers
4k views

Single Word Request for an adjective to replace my use of the word “gay” to describe [on hold]

Single word request for an adjective to describe the disdain and contempt I feel toward someone else's cringe-inducing, affected, precious and pretentious behavior. I currently say that behaviour is ...
23
votes
17answers
7k 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 ...
23
votes
17answers
68k 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
13answers
2k views

An epic word for a small wooded area [closed]

My roommates and I want to name this little "island" on the culdesac that we live on, a sort of nickname. We aren't looking for something literal, something humorously exaggeratory, like "the sacred ...
23
votes
9answers
3k views

Is there a verb form of “Extinct”?

Is there (modern) verb meaning "to cause to become extinct" please? The desired word would have the same root as "extinct". The closest I could find etymologically was "extinguish", but its usage is ...
23
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there a word to describe a person who's addicted to downloading stuff from Internet?

Well, that is exactly what I am :). I just can't stop myself from downloading stuff (usually electronic articles, say, PDFs). To be more precise, whenever I come across something that I think might ...
23
votes
9answers
2k views

Word for that certain fear, worrying you might involuntarily jump from a cliff?

Is there a word for the following fear: being afraid of doing something you don't want to do and you know you shouldn't. For example: if you're on a high place, you don't want to jump, but you're ...
23
votes
10answers
4k 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?
23
votes
8answers
2k views

What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized?

What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized? I have been using unmaximized, but I feel there is a more precise way.
23
votes
8answers
158k views

Is “actioned” a valid word?

I've just, without much fore thought, used the word "actioned" in the following (example) context, and am now wondering if it's valid (upon a re-read I've decided I don't like the way it sounds, hence ...
23
votes
3answers
942 views

Is there a word for refusing to call things by their name out of fear?

Some examples: "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "You-Know-Who" for Voldemort of Harry Potter fame Him in the Powerpuff Girls Any of the various monikers for Yahweh possibly "She Who Must Be Obeyed" for ...
23
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the “ponytail” in a knight's helmet called?

Does the ponytail thing in a knight's helmet have its own name? Or are they just called ponytails?
22
votes
14answers
7k 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 ...
22
votes
20answers
6k views

What do you call a person that goes to extreme ends to accomplish a goal?

I've been trying to find a single word that describes a person that will go to extreme ends to achieve a goal. For example, a person that would harm friends or leave behind a path of destruction to ...
22
votes
22answers
16k 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 ...
22
votes
19answers
6k views

What is a word for annoying behavior which decreases enjoyment for the other players in a game?

I'm looking for a word which describes an annoying behavior that decreases the overall quality of a game or match, specifically in online gaming (Halo, Call of Duty, etc.) The behavior, while not ...
22
votes
6answers
4k views

What do we call 'Shakespearean trash-talk'?

A classic example: In the opening scene of Richard II, Henry Bolingbroke and Mowbray seeks the adjudication of the king. They hurl accusations of treachery and cowardliness at each other. They ...
22
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 ...
22
votes
11answers
4k views

Is there a word or expression for when someone passionately wants something, and then discovers afterwards that it's different from how he imagined?

Is there a word or expression to describe when someone passionately wants something, eventually gets it, and then discovers that it isn't what he thought it was? For example, suppose that John is a ...
22
votes
16answers
3k views

Word for “animals, including humans”?

Commonly, "animals" means "all animals, except humans". So is there a single word for "animals, including humans"? Particularly, if you had a list of two choices, animal or human, what would you ...
22
votes
10answers
3k views

Is there a word for a “cheap page-turner”?

The word page-turner describes a book that is so exciting or gripping that the reader feels compelled to keep reading. It seems that the connotation is more-or-less positive. Is there a negative ...
22
votes
10answers
24k views

A word for the heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can't have

There is a phrase in French that exactly means this: "la douleur exquise" It literally means "the exquisite pain" and expresses the pain of wanting the affection of someone unattainable. I think it ...
22
votes
11answers
4k views

What do you call an 'unselfish' action made with a selfish reason?

There are many examples of this, and I'd like to give a few: A person who puts a lot of effort to help the community and earns reputation points. But that reputation is the motivation behind helping ...
22
votes
10answers
13k 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Word for Secretive Marriage that is not Elope

I'm unsure if there is any term for this other than "A secretive marriage", but figured I would let you smart forum goers decide. I am aware of the word Elope: To run away secretly with the ...
22
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the “‑cide” word for killing one’s husband?

We have uxoricide for killing one’s wife, but what is the equivalent term for killing one’s husband? Similarly, what is the husband-specific equivalent for the adjective uxorial?
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Hypernym for “bark”, “meow”, “roar”

Is there a hypernym for animal noises like "bark", "meow", "roar", et cetera?
22
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 ...
22
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
22
votes
13answers
14k 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 ...
22
votes
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
4k 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
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
18k 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
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 ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
17answers
210k 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
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
49k 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
12k 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
11answers
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
7k 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
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
21k 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
9answers
5k 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
4answers
3k views

'opposite' of 'déjà vu'

Recently while driving to the store (a path I have taken hundreds of times before), I was suddenly struck by a feeling that was similar to déjà vu, but in reverse. Specifically, where déjà vu is the ...