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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23
votes
21answers
9k views

Word meaning “the act of intending to do nothing”

As I am a person who frequently intends to do nothing (or at any rate as little as possible), I wondered if there was a word meaning "the act of intending to do nothing". I had the impression that ...
19
votes
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 ...
19
votes
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 ...
16
votes
21answers
8k views

What is the word for the emotion I feel when I see someone being humiliated?

When I see someone else being embarrassed / humiliated, for example a singer forgetting their words in a concert, I would say something like "I feel embarrassed for them". But is there a better word ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a term for simultaneous snow and rain?

I'm from Australia where we don't have so many kinds of precipitation. I'm familiar with these: rain hail snow sleet As I understand it, sleet refers to frozen rain but I'm not totally familiar ...
14
votes
10answers
7k views

What do you call someone who betrays his/her spouse?

What do you call someone who betrays his/her spouse? Is the word different for men and women? Is it different for people who are in a relationship and not still married?
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a single noun that describes “need not”?

There are four types of deontic modality, which can be expressed by the following modal expressions: Can Need not Must not Must Out of these, 1, 3, and 4 respectively corresponds to the following ...
12
votes
8answers
6k views

A word that describes a process that can be both good and bad

I am searching for a word that can describe an object or process as having both bad and good elements. I realize this is a repeat of this previous question, but I do not believe the suggestions ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you form the 'north' and 'south' versions of 'occident' and 'orient'?

How does one correctly form the "north" and "south" forms for which occident and orient are "west" and "east"? I found boreal and austral, but those look like adjectives and I'm after the nouns. ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you call a person who collects recipes, ingredients or other cooking related materials?

What do you call a person who collects recipes, ingredients or other cooking related materials? Is there a name for classifications like this (like taxonomy etc.)?
11
votes
8answers
616 views

Is there a name/term for phrasing something such that to disagree implicates yourself?

For example: Now available in all good stores. . . where to not agree to stock an item suggests that your store is not good, or: All rational people agree that. . . where to refuse to ...
10
votes
4answers
432 views

Is there a name for the practice of dropping pronouns in written speech?

I’m specifically thinking about emails I receive all day where someone will write: Haven’t seen it yet. Will respond when received. If it were spoken, we would certainly hear: I haven’t ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What do you call a person who loves to sit in front of the computer?

Be it surfing the net, doing work, playing games, what do you call such person who loves to stick in front of the computer? I know of some word like netizen and cybernaut but mostly they are ...
10
votes
9answers
679 views

Word for “ability to hide complexity”

Is there a single word for ability to hide complexity or ability to hide details?
9
votes
7answers
507 views

Is there a name for an answer to a question that does nothing but rephrase the question in an answer form?

(if you can think of a better title please change it, I know it's bad) Is there a name for an answer to a question that does nothing but rephrase the question in an answer form? For example, if you ...
7
votes
2answers
510 views

Longer than a word — smaller than a sentence

What would you call a linguistic construct that is just big enough to convey a meaning within a context, longer than a word but not having the length and proper form of a complete sentence? Like, for ...
7
votes
4answers
646 views

What are specific cartoon-type interjections like “cough” and “sigh” called in English?

In comics, for example those by Walt Disney, interjections that describe or emphasize in words what the characters in the image are doing are quite commonly used (cough, sigh, tweet). According to ...
7
votes
2answers
708 views

Is there a term for words that are sounded out initialisms?

The words "okay" and "emcee" seem to both be somewhat widely accepted (at least, I can find both in several dictionaries). But it seems to be agreed that these are simply sounded-out spellings of the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Word for “reading carefully”

Sometimes we read books rather quickly and don't give them much (or any) thought, so the action 'reading' does not necessarily imply that we have given enough thoughts to any book we read. Is there ...
6
votes
3answers
372 views

What is the name of the moment when the detective solves the mystery or realizes who the murderer is?

In many Whodunit mystery stories, there's a scene when the detective (e.g., Hercule Poirot) discovers (or overhears) the final clue (or a phrase another characters says) that makes this detective ...
6
votes
7answers
4k views

Term for “Death by Lack of Water”

I don't know if the title is completely appropriate/applicable, but I guess it'll have to do until there's an edit. So a if one dies of starvation, one dies from "suffering or death caused by hunger ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Said In Context: A more appropriate alternative to [sic]?

For a long time, I understood [sic] to mean said in context, but I was told that that said in context is really a backronym. Fair enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic#Improper_abbreviation ...
4
votes
8answers
1k views

Someone who forms their own opinion

Is there a single word for someone who forms their own opinion based entirely on their personal experience, without having been influenced by any outside source?
4
votes
7answers
3k views

Adjective meaning “argumentative for argument's sake”?

Quite often, the phrase "x for x's sake" is used in English, and so one could describe someone as being "argumentative for argument's sake" to describe someone who is arguing for the sake of arguing. ...
3
votes
1answer
237 views

An event that occurs only once

What do you call an event that occurs only once in its environment? For instance, birth and death are two events that occur only once in the lifetime of a living thing. I am looking for a word or ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

The opposite of “contains”

I was just wondering if anyone could think of a single word meaning the opposite of contains. E.g. This bottle of beer contains alcohol whereas this one doesn't. This bottle of beer doesn't ...
2
votes
6answers
731 views

A technical term to describe adjectives like “fast”, “long”, “strong”, “large”, “deep”, “loud”, etc

What is the technical term to describe adjectives like fast, long, strong that are used to describe a particular property of an object in relation to another object's? Here is an example. Let's say ...
35
votes
6answers
6k views

What do you call the interconnecting bits of a puzzle piece in English?

This is hard to describe, but I'm curious about what the proper word is for these thingies in English. So I searched for a picture on Google and circled what I'm referring to with red:
26
votes
7answers
3k views

What are “real stores” called in English, as opposed to “online stores”?

In a piece of software, what would I call a store that sells items to the public in real life as opposed to an online store (ie. a health-food store). It will look like this: ____ Store ...
25
votes
17answers
9k views

Word/phrase to mean something that just happens once

What is the word/phrase to mean something that just happens once? For example, I have often been told/expected to do this and not to do that. I become aimless and gradually lose the idea of who ...
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
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 ...
18
votes
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. :)
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Friendlier way to express you paid for a person's drink/dinner and expect it to be paid back

In Dutch we have the word voorschieten. In English it translates — according to Google Translate — to "advance, lend, disburse". The Dutch word voorschieten is used in an informal setting between ...
15
votes
15answers
8k views

What do you call someone who chooses to stay single for life?

Not necessarily a virgin, but someone that has consciously chosen to stay single for life (and is content with that decision). Hopefully, there is a single word for it. Example: Ralph Nader UPDATE: ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

Word to describe “everyday things”

Is there any one word which can describe everyday things? By this, I mean things we commonly regard as things most people do every day, like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

How to spell [ʒʊʒd] and what does it mean?

I heard this strange word in American Dad over a year ago and it's been bugging me ever since. Not only do I have no idea how it's spelt, I have no idea how it could possibly be spelt. My only guesses ...
14
votes
22answers
751 views

Is there a good substitute for the word “scarper” in American English?

I used quick, let's scarper before the boss comes back to inject some levity into a recent meeting, but got only blank stares for my trouble. When asked to explain scarper to my American chums, all I ...
14
votes
9answers
13k views

What would you call a person from India?

My guess would be "Indian", but that sounds like a guy with a feather on his head who hunts buffalo. Is there a better name?
13
votes
10answers
2k views

Word for someone who is extremely up-to-date with the latest facts (news or research)

I seek a word for one who is up-to-date, enlightened, and extremely well informed about the latest developments or research in a particular field. An example is a person who complains about a recent ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

Is there an English word that means “out of place”?

I am looking for a word or short phrase that best describes a scenario in which an author seems to have copiously placed uncommon or higher educated vocabulary in a lower reading level book. Meaning ...
12
votes
9answers
3k views

Is there a word that means both opening and closing a door?

As in, Please do not __ this door after midnight. Operate? Move?
12
votes
10answers
17k views

What is the English word closest to Japanese “Ganbatte,” the word for encouraging people who are in disaster, or challenging a severe ordeal?

In Japan, after experiencing the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, “Ganbatte” which contains all sense of “Cheer up, Bear up, Keep your chin up, Be courageous, Do your best” became the password of ...
11
votes
16answers
2k views

When someone falls and tries to stand up again. In one word?

In movies we see the protagonist character fight but sometimes our hero can't... he falls down every time... but never loses hope.. and tries to stand up again... In one word what it's called?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a word for numbers between 10 and 99?

I'd like to find such a word instead of saying "greater than 10 but less than 100".
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Which is the word that means neither “believer” nor “atheist” but somewhere in between?

What word means neither "believer" nor "atheist" but somewhere in between? The word starts with the letter 'A', I tried "agnostic" but according to my instructor there is another one.
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What do you call a slip of the tongue in writing?

Is there any phrase or word that can be used to describe a slip of the tongue that happens in writing? Calling it a slip of tongue directly feels awkward, especially when the written text is never ...
11
votes
15answers
94k 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”?
10
votes
7answers
6k views

Word for the sound made while vomiting

Which word can I use to describe the sound somebody makes while vomiting? Is burp the right word for it?
10
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a word that describes when you are unable to remember the word you want to say?

I vaguely remember seeing this word years ago, it started with "log-". I want to know what this word is because I have this problem all the time (as many others do), where the word I am thinking of is ...