Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

38

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. [Shakespeare] (What matters is what something is, not what it is called. [Phrase Finder] ) Possibly inappropriate for an attempted cover-up. If the focus is on the attempt to disguise what's about to follow, sugaring the pill fits: sugar/sweeten the pill (British, American & Australian) also ...


34

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipstick_on_a_pig Seems perfect for your requirements but perhaps a little too colloquial.


25

In my youth (the 1960s and 1970s) AC/DC was a euphemism for bisexual. As far as I recall AC meant heterosexual and DC meant homosexual (derived from Alternating current and Direct current) and I suspect that Heinlein is using it in this way as the book dates from that period.


19

Do you like Shakespeare? If so, how about "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", or, shorter these days, "A rose is a rose is a rose." If you're not a big fan of the Bard, consider "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ...".


14

Abraham Lincoln (apocryphally) was fond of asking "How many legs does a horse have, if you call its tail a leg?" His answer: "Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one."


13

Do you want an adjective (phrase), a noun (phrase), a verb (phrase), or an adverb (phrase)? nitpick, nitpicky, nitpicker perfectionist meticulous, meticulously punctilious, punctiliously fastidious, fastidiously exacting, exactingly


13

You sound like a broken record. to say the same thing over and over again. (Fig. on a scratch in a phonograph record causing the needle [or stylus] to stay in the same groove and play it over and over.) Last edited by Grefsen; 4th August 2013 at 9:59 PM. Re: sounding like a broken (scratched) record.


12

Call a spade a spade. It has the advantage of being a direct command. 'Spade' is a more specific word for the digging implement most people own, which often called by the less specific word 'shovel' by those unaccustomed to digging (and thus of higher class). It is also very occasionally used to mean 'Black'. It disparages political correctness, ...


11

According to Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997), one potentially relevant idiom is "old chestnut": old chestnut A stale joke, story, or saying, as in Dad keeps on telling that old chestnut about hgow many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb. This expression comes from William Diamond's play, The Broken Sword ...


10

The phrase is tired or well-worn or old hat or...


10

My favorite: "A distinction without a difference." "To-may-to, to-mah-to." (In English the word "tomato" can be pronounced either way, it's the same vegetable fruit berry.) I'd suggest "terminological inexactitude", but now that I look it up, I find that my idea of its origin was not quite right. Winston Churchill coined it, but I thought he was referring ...


10

My dear sainted grandmother was very fond of the expression "You can't polish a turd" which is a somewhat vulgar variant of @Okoning's "lipstick on a pig". Idiomatically, someone who claims that 'they aren't racist but...' could well be accused of "turd polishing..."


7

Why not scrupulous (Of a person or process) diligent, thorough, and extremely attentive to details: the research has been carried out with scrupulous attention to detail [Oxford Dictionary Online]


7

While you are looking for an idiom, the examples you give seem to be a mild form of apophasis, a form of irony a rhetorical device wherein the speaker or writer brings up a subject by either denying it, or denying that it should be brought up [Wikipedia] One of the most famous quotes is that of Shakespeare's Marc Antony I come to bury Caesar, not ...


6

"That old chestnut" refers to a subject, an idea, or a joke which has been discussed or repeated so many times that it is not interesting or funny any more. from "http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/an+old+chestnut"


6

How about fastidious? http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fastidious adjective 1. excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please: a fastidious eater. 2. requiring or characterized by excessive care or delicacy; painstaking.


5

I see a couple of people mentioned Shakespeare, but if you want to quote Shakespeare you should say "What's in a name? A rose by any other word would smell as sweet." If you say "by any other name" you're quoting one of his folio editor's mistakes. There are a number of animals that have been used for these sort of metaphors that are in in some cases ...


4

How about assiduously? Showing great care and perseverance Oxford Dictionaries According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word 'acquired a taint of "servility"' in the 18th century. I think it still retains a bit of this today, but perhaps it's been generalized a bit. In any case, maybe this has the color you're looking for.


4

To the extent that you wish to convey a boring repetition of well known material, consider yadda yadda yadda (or yada yada yada) Used as a substitute for actual words where they are too lengthy or tedious to recite in full: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, yadda yadda yadda [Oxford Dictionary Online] Similarly blah blah blah [Dictionary.com] You ...


4

There is an idiomatic phrasal verb that you can use and rephrase your sentence accordingly. It is wheel out. to mention or to use someone or something that has been mentioned or used many times before, often so many times that people are now bored with them They still wheel her out at every party conference. [macmillandictionary] ...


3

The answer is generally, deciding factor. All things considered, there were pros and cons for each choice. However, I chose 'bar'. The deciding factor for my choice was widget synergy with additional paradigm leveraging.


3

I don't believe it is figurative. See entry 3b from Merriam-Webster " to repulse, remove, or cause to go by force, authority, or influence "


3

Actually, as the following Ngram Chart for the years 1980 through 2008 indicates, "walk the talk" (the navy blue line) is considerably more common than "talks the talk and walks" (the lighter blue line), "talk the talk and walk" (the red line), "walks the walk and talks" (the green line), "walk the walk and talk" (the yellow line), and "talk the walk" (the ...


3

An "old saw" is an oft-repeated to the point of being somewhat tiresome idea or maxim. It's well known enough that UPenn doesn't mind using it as the title of a translation of a Kant essay... http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/997.html


3

Reading your question brings to my mind the expression: If I had a dime for every time I heard that one I'd be rich by now. or some more clever, funny outcome. See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=If%20I%20had%20a%20dime%20for%20every%20time for more examples.


3

This is procatalepsis, the refuting of anticipated objections, according to Brigham Young's excellent Silva Rhetoricae. In the examples given by the OP, the refutations are quite crude — really just ad lapidem — but I think this rhetorical figure fits the bill.


3

And he's off! This is something we say when someone starts a race. If he begins badly we might say, "He got off to a rough start." This does not mean he will lose the race, right? So in life, as in a race, many times we get off to a rough start, In relationships (such as your patient and doctor), in a job situation, or in trying a new way to fold clothes! ...


2

I don't think anyone has addressed the part of the poster's question that asks, "What are its origins?" so I'll focus on answering that. J. A. Simpson, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (1982) offers this lineage for the proverb: All's fair in love and war [1578 LYLY Euphues I. 236 Anye impietie may lawfully be committed in loue, which is ...


2

"Pink Elephant" was used as an example of a delirium tremens hallucination since at least as early as 1896. The phrase "seeing snakes" or "seeing snakes in ones boots" had been the standard euphamism for such hallucinations since at least the 1820s. In about 1890, writers started exaggerating the "snakes" idiom to include colored snakes, colored rats, and ...


2

I would suggest exhaustive. Including or considering all elements or aspects; fully comprehensive: the guide outlines every bus route in exhaustive detail [oxforddictionaries] including all possibilities : very thorough [merriam-webster] Another word that comes to mind is scrutinize which is a verb. to examine ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible