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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10
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15answers
547 views

Is there a pejorative alternative to “improvise”?

I'm looking for a word or phrase that implies improvisation in a negative context. "Jury rigging" comes to mind, but I'm in need of a term that can't be mistaken as anything but pejorative. The ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Proper term for people from eastern Asia

I once posted an article on the web in which I referred collectively to people from China, Japan, and the Koreas as "Oriental". I got an email from someone who informed me that this is an offensive ...
9
votes
4answers
581 views

What's the opposite of “retaliate”?

What would be a single word to mean: "to do something positive to someone because they have done or said something positive to you", when you want to return the favour with something equal or better. ...
9
votes
12answers
3k views

What's the word for “overly proud of your education”?

A friend and I are trying to remember a word to describe someone who is overly proud of their education. An example usage would be: Does that email make me appear too ___? Where the ___ is the ...
8
votes
3answers
398 views

'Hark' and 'behold' call attention to what we can hear or see. Is there an equivalent for smell?

'Hark' calls attention to something that we hear - for example: "Hark, the herald angels sing" (hymn of the same title, by Charles Wesley) 'Behold' calls attention to something that we see - for ...
8
votes
18answers
23k views

Idiom, word, or expression meaning an easy-to-do task

I am looking for a term, expression, word, or idiom to describe a task as an easy one to do or to go through. What I’d normally say is: Actually it’s not difficult, it’s as easy as drinking a ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a word akin to “hungry” or “thirsty” that implies a need to urinate?

Sometimes my brain (maybe because I'm not a native English speaker) tends to come up with logical extensions to common formats; in this case, more than once I caught myself thinking (not out loud, ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a proper term to describe 1/3 of a year (4 months)

I am looking for a proper single work term to describe one third of a calendar year. Trimester does not seem correct as it seems to refer to a period of three months (one third of a pregnancy or one ...
8
votes
8answers
3k views

Word to describe using sarcasm or a similar approach to lead someone to recognise their own mistake

When reading some work of a friend, I noticed the sentence "When in doubt ask me". Instead of simply pointing out that it could use a comma after doubt, I read the sentence aloud with no gaps or ...
7
votes
6answers
4k views

word that means: causing a paradigm shift, new era, revolution

I can't think of the word and it's driving me nuts. I'm looking for a word that can be used when some technology is discovered, way of thinking, or even event happening that causes a big change in ...
7
votes
7answers
7k views

Is there a word, preferably a verb, that means to exaggerate a point, or idea, to the detriment of the point?

It seems that if such a word exists it would be rather useful. Often, whether listening to to certain people or talking with friends, I feel that certain ideas are willingly exaggerated for a certain ...
7
votes
5answers
396 views

Not “schadenfreude”, but related?

I'm thinking that there must be a word that means, rather than "feeling pleasure in the misfortune of another", "the pleasure of feeling superior to another". This certainly seems (at least) as ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Is there a word that means “the wife of one's brother”?

In some of the non-Latin-based languages that I know there is a special word for your brother's wife. Is there such a word in English? Usage would be something like: She is my __ (My brother's ...
6
votes
6answers
6k views

Word for when one uses the wrong word in a sentence

Specifically, I'm looking for the term for when a person uses a word correctly, but intends a different meaning. For example: I empathize with you. When the person really means: I ...
6
votes
7answers
19k views

What is a good word for “best example”?

What is a good word for “best example”? I would like to describe a film as the greatest example of its features.
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Word for “a person who quickly gets interested and quickly loses interest”

I have googled but didn't find. "A person who gets interested in anything very quickly and loses interest in it sooner." What is such a person called?
6
votes
7answers
18k views

Single word for taking advantage of the situation?

What is that word that is used to say someone "takes advantage of the situation". This word usually has a mildly negative connotation. It is related to being clever.
6
votes
7answers
1k views

What's the category name of “city” and “rural”?

When I ask whether someone's living situation is rural or city, what's the category I'm asking about? Living situation includes many other things, but there's gotta be a word summarizing those two ...
6
votes
6answers
9k views

What do you call someone who has extensive knowledge but won't share it?

What do you call a person that has a lot knowledge/information but decides to not share it? Is it really the classic know-it-all or enlightened?
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Word with meaning of “taking advantage of somebody”

I need one word with the meaning of "take advantage of somebody for personal benefit", is there any one?
6
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

A word for a relationship in which one thing (or state) must exist in order for another thing (or state) to exist

I can't think of the word to fill this blank: More importantly, now we've got ourselves an "organic" roadmap—that is, one that follows the natural order of our concerns, rather than a logical ...
5
votes
4answers
506 views

Word or phrase for “one needing to see it to believe it”

What's a word or phrase that could be used to describe a person who needs to see the evidence for a claim in-person before believing it?
5
votes
4answers
373 views

Word or phrase meaning 'Misinterpretation of tone due to language or cultural barrier'

I am looking for a word or phrase to describe a misinterpretation of tone due to language or cultural differences. For example, this is an answer from Arqade, the gaming StackExchange site Sir ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Alternative, more commonly accepted parlance for “currentness”

The following two sentences are identical: Ensure that X is current. Ensure the currentness of X. However, the word "currentness", while present in the dictionary, represents a very ...
5
votes
7answers
4k views

What would you call a person who doesn't like questions being asked of them?

My sister says I ask too many questions, such as "What have you been up to lately?" She is the only person who says that. What do you call a person who doesn't like questions being asked?
5
votes
6answers
2k views

What's the term for the inner perimeter of something?

Say I have a building with a sidewalk on its outside. To walk it I might say something like: "I'm going to walk the perimeter of the building." Now say I want to walk around the perimeter of the ...
5
votes
7answers
4k views

Words to describe something that does not reach your expectations for it

Which word(s) would you use in a situation such as the one below, to make the sentence sound logical, natural and complete? You told me we were going to a nice park. We've spent almost two hours ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

One who creates is a creator. What is one who updates?

One who creates is a creator. What is one who updates? An updater? An updator? The last one seems more logical, but also wrong.
5
votes
1answer
198 views

Is there a technical term for the degeneration or evolution of words?

Based on this question, I was curious if there is an actual term that describes how words' meanings change or become deprecated over time.
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Is there a canonic term for “the one whose birthday party is being celebrated”?

Something along the lines of 'hero of the occasion', but specifically for birthday? If there isn't, how would you otherwise say that? ('the subject of birthday party', 'the hero of this birthday ...
5
votes
3answers
735 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
569 views

Is there an old, rarely used word which means “an archaic word”?

I seem to recall from my youth, when my vocabulary was many times what it is today, learning a word (started with an 'a' I think) whose meaning was "an old, unused, or archaic word" or something ...
4
votes
5answers
271 views

Is there a term for pejorative parody names of people or places?

I recently saw someone refer to Michele Bachmann as Michele Botchman [emphasis added] and was wondering what the term for such a parody name would be? Obviously it was intended as pejorative, so I'm ...
4
votes
5answers
10k views

Word for someone who sleeps during the day

People are sometimes said to be a morning person or a night person. I also know that the term for something related to night is "nocturnal". Is there a specific word for a person who sleeps during ...
4
votes
3answers
269 views

Numbers and units

I'm looking for a single word to describe the combination of a number and unit. For example, “6 watts” or “2.5 kilometers”. Measurement is the closest I’ve come, but sounds cumbersome. Does anyone ...
4
votes
2answers
302 views

What is the name of combination, in error, of similar or related words? (E.g.: segueway)

Is there a technical term for combination, in error, of similar or related words? This question is prompted by the following malapropism or solecism, from an article by Elizabeth Montalbano in ...
4
votes
4answers
825 views

Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?”

I simply can't bring myself to use unreasonableness, but can think of no synonym or alternate form with comparable meaning. I'll restructure if necessary, but wonder if I'm missing a suitable ...
3
votes
10answers
10k views

One word for someone who thinks they can do anything, and believes everything they do is right but others are wrong

If someone thinks they are always doing the right thing, and believes others are wrong, what would I call them? Say, for example, I did something that person considers wrong. But then on another ...
3
votes
3answers
929 views

What do you call the empty/arid zones on both sides of a highway?

I'm referring to something like the brown areas in this picture:
3
votes
5answers
788 views

Opposite of “straight talk”

What is the opposite for the straight talk idiom? How do I best call the activity when someone makes a very long preamble before he says what he wants?
3
votes
2answers
4k views

“Paintings on walls and ceilings” and “painting of portraits, landscapes”

I am creating a portfolio of painter's works and I need to categorize them. There will be two global categories: Paintings on canvas Painting on walls and ceilings The paintings on canvas divide ...
3
votes
3answers
684 views

“Employee” is to “employer” as “dependent” is to what? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A depends on B, is A dependant, or is B dependant? I'm trying to find a word that is the counterpart to "dependent", i.e. refers to the one who the dependent relies ...
3
votes
11answers
16k views

What is the opposite of “free” as in “free of charge”?

What is the opposite of free as in "free of charge" (when we speak about prices)? We can add not for negation, but I am looking for a single word.
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Can you call someone who chooses to quit his/her study in college as alumnus?

Oxford dictionary on alumnus: a male former pupil or student of a particular school, college, or university Oxford dictionary on dropout: a person who has abandoned a course of study or who ...
2
votes
6answers
7k views

Words that describe food and eating [closed]

I'm writing a piece that relates to food and eating and am looking for adjectives that describe both. I just picked up the word prandial and that piqued my interest. Are there any similar words out ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Is there a better name for this than “emphatic and”?

In semi-poetic writing, I have had occasion to deviate from the standard prose list practice (interpose commas or semicolons between items, with an "and" preceding the final item), by utilizing a ...
2
votes
3answers
633 views

What is the category name to describe “day”, “night”, or “dusk”?

I'm applying tags to a set of recorded data files, and I have to classify by when the recording appears to be taken (if it's light or dark). TimeOfDay: Day TimeOfDay: Night TimeOfDay: Dusk ...
2
votes
5answers
687 views

Word for people who don't make their deadline

What is the correct word to describe the people who have not finished their work after the deadline? For the antonym, there is finisher, but I can't find *unfinisher in the dictionary.
2
votes
1answer
225 views

flight connection, airlink, or connecting flight?

If you want to know if there are flights from airport A to airport B, what do you ask? -Are there flight connections between airport A and B? -Are there airlinks between airport A and B? -Are there ...