This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE DEMONSTRATING HOW THE WORD WOULD BE USED; see the tag info (below) for more ideas on how ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms (3)

23
votes
12answers
4k views

Common term or single word for someone who is embarrassingly over-complimentary

Does English have a word for someone who compliments another person in a way which is awkward or even embarrassing? Someone who uses compliments which are overly-familiar and all but inappropriate, ...
23
votes
17answers
9k 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
12answers
5k views

One word for “bringing someone up to speed”

I'm trying to explain the following thought: She has been tremendously helpful in training new employees in the company... only instead of "training", I would like to use a word that emphasizes ...
23
votes
24answers
18k 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
4k views

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

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
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
11answers
5k 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 ...
23
votes
16answers
5k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
67k 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 ...
23
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 ...
23
votes
9answers
4k 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
7answers
2k views

Name that fallacy: If it's more expensive it must be better

Is there a name for the logical fallacy that more expensive goods must be better than less expensive alternatives? Often times people make this assumption without looking at the actual design or ...
23
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
7k 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?
23
votes
13answers
20k 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 ...
23
votes
9answers
3k 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
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 ...
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.
22
votes
14answers
9k 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
15answers
5k views

What is an antonym for “refactoring” with regards to programming?

Consider this definition of "refactoring" from Martin Fowler's book, Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code: Refactoring is the process of changing a software system in such a way that ...
22
votes
22answers
21k 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
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 ...
22
votes
18answers
5k views

What is the word for a woman dominating in social family situations?

What word describes a woman who takes lead over her husband and/or children in social family situations? Talks lively, entertains people around and at the same time does not allow her husband to speak ...
22
votes
7answers
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 ...
22
votes
12answers
4k views

A word for a military unit still functioning?

I'm looking for a word which is the antonym for a military unit being destroyed or degraded. I considered live, but that has the connotation of a single being. I considered active, but my phrasing ...
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
8k 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
4answers
3k views

crisscross, dillydally, riffraff, etc

Some English words only differ in their vowels: crisscross, dillydally, riffraff, etc. Is there a name for them?
22
votes
11answers
8k 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 ...
22
votes
10answers
36k 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
3k views

Someone who buys a lot of books but does not usually read them

What do English speakers call a person who loves to buy and collect a lot of books but does not often read them? Update: When purchasing the books, the person might hope to learn new things from the ...
22
votes
10answers
18k 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
5answers
20k 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
5answers
3k views

Hypernym for “bark”, “meow”, “roar”

Is there a hypernym for animal noises like "bark", "meow", "roar", et cetera?
22
votes
8answers
8k 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
6answers
12k views

Is there a more fancy name for a “kitchen hole”?

Does English have a specific word for a hole between the kitchen and the living room that is used to get food directly to the dining table? German has the nice Durchreiche, which approximately ...
22
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 ...
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
23answers
5k views

Name for someone whose interest might be to discredit one's results by trying to find hypothetical mistakes?

What do you call a person whose interest might be to discredit your results by trying to find hypothetical mistakes? This person does not seem to focus on solving a problem with pragmatism. Is there a ...
21
votes
7answers
13k 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 ...
21
votes
12answers
5k views

What is a good word(s) for someone who excessively asks for information that they have no business knowing?

What is a good word(s) for someone who excessively asks for information that they have no business knowing? This person constantly asks what other people have on their schedule. This same person (and ...
21
votes
15answers
6k views

What is the term for a person who doesn't waste time?

What is an English word/expression/idiom for a "person who doesn't waste time"? Especially a person who doesn't look for excuses when she/he should be doing something productive e.g. working, ...
21
votes
18answers
271k views

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

What is the English word to describe the following skill: “able to learn new things quickly”?
21
votes
12answers
7k 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.
21
votes
14answers
26k 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
15answers
4k views

What is the word that means -“to lose against a totally inexperienced opponent”? [closed]

I am looking for a word to explain the following idea: To lose any competition to an opponent who succeeds despite having no idea that they have overcome incredible odds against them to succeed.
21
votes
16answers
4k 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 ...