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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8
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there a word (or phrase) that describe a series of mishaps/misfortunes in one's life?

I don't mean something like 'many hardships' or 'several tragedies'. I'm looking for a word or short phrase that would describe just a really rough spot or time frame in someone's life. For instance, ...
8
votes
3answers
389 views

Is there a term for a word that serves as its own antonym? [duplicate]

For example: "transparent" can mean both "obvious" and "hidden" "aught" can mean both "all" and "nothing" Is there a term for a word which has multiple definitions that are antonyms?
8
votes
3answers
760 views

What is the word to describe a single object to represent the many?

If I am writing a poem, I might use the word peaches to symbolize all fruit. Is there a specific word for this type of symbolism?
7
votes
6answers
8k views

Is there a specific word for describing a person who gets lost easily?

When we travel around, some people get lost much more easily than others, since they cannot remember directions correctly. Is there any specific word for these kind of people?
6
votes
3answers
706 views

Words based on the names of gods [closed]

While the word christen means "to baptise" or "to make Christian", in another sense, it has shed its religious connotations to simply mean "to name" or even "use for the first time". Is there any ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What word describes our habit to use extremes in language, and what are its implications?

I have heard that in America, and likely elsewhere as well, we are beginning to be more gratuitous with our use of extreme words when not entirely accurate, such as the words "awesome", "always", ...
3
votes
4answers
613 views

Another word for a troll not on the internet

The definition of an internet troll: In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,1 by posting ...
3
votes
1answer
198 views

Word regarding a lyric remembered wrongly

I remember having come across a particular word long ago. This word means a part of lyric that has been remembered wrongly, i.e., a section of lyric that has entered one's memory with the words ...
2
votes
1answer
274 views

What is the antonym of 'quoin' — a single word to describe an interior angle

I'm looking for single words to describe interior (as in 'corner of a room') and exterior angles (as in 'corner of a building'). For the exterior angle I found quoin which is (according to ...
1
vote
6answers
25k views

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face?

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face. Is there anything better than calling him a "Pleasing personality"?
1
vote
2answers
7k views

A word for the person after whom someone or something is named

I believe it's a common practice in some communities to name children after their grandparents or parents or relatives and sometimes even friends and popular people. Places, roads, streets etc., get ...
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 ...
19
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Name of castle part

What do you call these? Please provide a reliable source with your answer.
15
votes
6answers
4k views

What's the most accurate term for phrases such as “storm in a teacup” and “making mountains out of molehills”?

Are phrases such as "storm in a teacup" and "making mountains out of molehills" best described by one of these terms: anecdote proverb saying expression metaphor If not, which term is the right ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

What is a word for a person who has been initiated into secret knowledge (apprentice, ___, master)?

I'm looking for a noun that can fit well in a 3-level scale: apprentice, ____, master. The scale describes the progress of a person from a layman/uninitiated (apprentice), through being accomplished ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a word to describe one who brags by complaining?

Is there a word to describe someone who uses complaints to indirectly brag about themselves? An example would be "I hate going to concerts because people start singing and because I have perfect ...
13
votes
8answers
4k views

What's a good word for a person that's being followed?

Wondering what the correct word to use for a person who is being followed. All I can think of is a followee, which doesn't seem correct. It's being used in a twitter like system of followers and ...
12
votes
8answers
8k views

What word describes someone who offers unsolicited advice?

What word describes someone who offers unsolicited advice? For example I might write: "At the risk of being called a [..........], I will offer you some unsolicited advice."
11
votes
6answers
574 views

Word for resembling the truth

How do we refer to the act of resembling the truth, regardless if it is indeed the truth? Some context: suppose you are watching a film and the story bears a striking resemblance to "real life". ...
10
votes
11answers
15k views

Is there an expression that means something bad as a precursor to something good?

If someone is the bearer of bad news you might say, Don't shoot the messenger. If you have something that seems unfortunate at first but ends out wonderful you might say it's a blessing in disguise. ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a word that conveys an extreme distaste to the point nearing phobia?

I'm a strong swimmer, and I enjoy recreational lap swimming in pools. I enjoy sitting by an outdoor pool on vacation, and swimming to cool off. But, I detest swimming in natural water (lakes, ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

Is there a name for someone who calls someone else what he himself is?

Say person A and person B are having a discussion/argument. Person A tells person B that his views are arrogant, or closed-minded, or some other derogatory adjective. But in fact it is person A's ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Word or phrase for literally and figuratively?

Say, for example, you and a group of people were all sailing out in the ocean and something happens...then you say, "I guess we are all in the same boat" You are literally in the same boat with ...
8
votes
1answer
133 views

What is the term for replacing a name or brand with a funny pejorative / sardonicism?

What is the term for when one replaces a well-known name [(Proper) noun, company, brand, etc.] with one that tries to be funny yet pejoratively descriptive, different but similar enough that one's ...
8
votes
8answers
8k views

Word meaning crying, but not crying?

You know when you see something touching and moving and you feel like tears are about to come out of your eyes, yet you're able to barely control it; how do you describe this feeling or state? i.e. I ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

How to refer to people of mixed race?

As is commonly known, one of the most delicate question is how to refer to people of mixed race, which can be a matter of condemnation. Some words may have fueled the problem and I never would have ...
8
votes
6answers
10k views

Is there a single word that expresses “music end-users / enthusiasts”?

To help a soon-to-be sister site out here, I was thinking English.SE perhaps could lend a helping hand as this is the best place for "word choice and usage". I'm not looking for "naming", but rather ...
8
votes
7answers
6k views

Is there a word that means “make someone (or something) redundant”?

For example, by improving some system, some function is now redundant. So the improvement XXX that function.
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Odd use of agnostic

I have heard and used agnostic to denote "uncaring". I was recently corrected on my usage of the word which got me thinking. What word should I use? Uncaring seems incorrect. Some examples: This ...
8
votes
17answers
2k views

Is there a word meaning a problem that has to be solved in order to work on another problem?

I work in the computer trade and frequently find that when I'm assigned a problem to solve, it invariably happens that other problems need solving before I can work on the real issue. Is there a word ...
7
votes
8answers
2k views

Word for a moment in time defined with beginning and end

What would be a word for a moment in time defined with beginning and end? This is for a database system where people have predefined time spans that are defined with a beginning and an end point in ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
6
votes
6answers
7k views

Short, Politically Correct word for Native Americans [closed]

No more than four syllables, more PC than Indians. EDIT: I arbitrarily chose four syllables because any more seemed like a mouthful. I like to be PC and not have to stumble over 6+ syllables.
6
votes
3answers
317 views

Better term to put on a label of a bottle of milk to describe that it's 'made' in a particular geographic location

While waiting for the kettle to boil this morning, I was idling and reading the label on the bottle of milk and was struck by the declaration: "Permeate free, made in WA". Here's a shot of the label ...
6
votes
3answers
725 views

Term meaning 'with written words'

In the same way that verbally means with spoken words, I'm looking for a term that means with written words. Is there such a word?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

alternatives for “guy”

I'm working in an English big company in Germany. Everybody speak English but most of us as second, or third language. One thing I noticed is that we are all "guys" in the office: "Ask the guy up ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

A positive word for 'opportunist'

The word opportunist seems to be used negatively for a person. Is there a word with the same but positive meaning?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a term to describe words whose pronunciation bears no relationship to their spelling?

The English language is peppered with wonderfully weird spelling/pronunciation combinations. For example colonel, pronounced kur-nl, probably my favorite, there isn't even an r in the word! ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

What's a man called who follows everything his wife says or wishes?

In Hindi, there is a phrase called "zoru ka gulaam". Translated in English as "slave of his wife". Typically the people who get this honorary title are those who seem to care for their wife more than ...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

A different sort of antonym for Schadenfreude?

Schadenfreude is the joy or pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. What is the word for the feeling of discomfort derived from witnessing the misfortunes of others?
5
votes
5answers
551 views

What do you call it when a name/word is better known by a pejorative?

A while back, the US Congress passed a bill called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. The bill quickly became known as “Obamacare”. During the time prior to when cannabis was made ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you call a pair of words which would be meaningless without one of them?

I am referring to a set of words that wouldn't make sense if one word or the other was omitted. Like barbershop quartet, or Cyber Security. What do you exactly call this set of words?
5
votes
6answers
1k views

How to name a part of a piechart

Which term best suits to describe a part/slice/share/portion of a piechart, disregarding what the chart is about ?
4
votes
5answers
8k views

The same word used to define itself [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a word for an acronym which spells out one of its component words? What's that figure of speech in which you use the same word to define its meaning, thereby ...
4
votes
6answers
825 views

A word for someone who never had a mate because he/she has a high standard

Is there any better word than picky?
4
votes
4answers
921 views

Is there a term to describe words missing in a document?

The words are supposed to be there but have been left due to any reason. Is there a succinct term to describe such words?
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Is there a word or phrase for when you break a word in a different place to give a different meaning?

I'm thinking similar to a compound word, but you could break the word at a different or multiple places. Granted I cannot think of a real-world example, but I have included two situations where this ...
3
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an adjective for someone who can withstand ridicule?

I've been searching both my mind and several thesauruses attempting to find the adjective that best describes this type of person. The term "thick-skinned" is the closest to what I am trying to ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Someone who doesn't learn from the mistakes he made

Is there a word or phrase that neans someone who doesn't learn from his mistakes or makes the same mistakes again?