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130

I would call this obfuscating. Merriam-Webster gives us the following definition for the word: Obfuscate: to make (something) more difficult to understand So in the case of the politician you might say, "The speech seemed deliberately obfuscated" or "Her obfuscating delivery masked the negative consequences of her actions" or "They missed the hard ...


69

Sanctimonious will do. Per Macmillan: sanctimonious (adj., showing disapproval): used for describing someone who tries to show that they have better moral or religious principles than other people "I was aware even as I spoke how sanctimonious I sounded." Synonyms and related words describing arrogant and over-confident people or ...


59

What about Convoluting: con·vo·lute gerund or present participle: convoluting make (an argument, story, etc.) complex and difficult to follow. Ex: "this 'professor' is worse than a lawyer in convoluting his words to suit his peculiar point of view."


53

How about circumlocution? circumlocution: 1: the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea 2: evasion in speech Merriam-Webster


44

That would be sesquipedalian using a lot of long words that most people do not understand Synonyms and related words Words used to describe writing or speech style:articulate, chatty, circuitous... reference: http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/sesquipedalian


24

Ulterior, as in, an ulterior motive. From the Collins dictionary: if you say that someone has an ulterior motive for doing something, you believe that they have a hidden reason for doing it While this doesn't necessarily define the action, it describes the reasoning/motivation behind it. To describe the action itself, you may describe the action as ...


23

These could work: Telling it like it is Informal. to be blunt and forthright. [TFD] Calling it like one sees it To be honest and unbiased; be deaf to influence [Dictionary.com]


23

Per Abdur Rahman's request, here's an answer that expands on my brief comment. Folie a plusieurs is also known more prosaically as mass hysteria. From Wikipedia, "Other names include collective hysteria, group hysteria, or collective obsessional behavior — in sociology and psychology refers to collective delusions of threats to society that spread rapidly ...


23

holier-than-thou marked by an air of superior piety or morality having or showing the annoying attitude of people who believe that they are morally better than other people. (MW) excessively or hypocritically pious (Vocabulary.com) pharisaic Someone who exaggerates how morally upright or pious he/she can be called pharisaic. Another way to say ...


22

Actually, I think "win by default" IS often used to refer to this situation. Perhaps metaphorically: We didn't win because there was LITERALLY no competition, but because the competition that existed was so weak that it hardly counted. People will say "practically won by default" or "virtually won by default". But still, nothing in that phrase implies that ...


21

Jinxed could refer to someone who is suffering a period of bad luck. jinxed jinx (jĭngks) n. 1. A person or thing that is believed to bring bad luck. 2. A condition or period of bad luck that appears to have been caused by a specific person or thing. However, this usage has connotations of being cursed, or having an extrinsic cause. ...


21

One apt idiomatic expression for what the OP describes is, If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, "Baffle 'em with Bullshit", a phrase attributed to the American comedian, W.C. Fields. “”Bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.—Harry Frankfurt Bullshit (also known as bollocks in the UK, Ireland and Australia) often shortened ...


20

It sounds as if they're making furtive glances. From the linked definition: attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive; suggestive of guilty nervousness. To address a comment by @talrnu that a furtive glance is a discreet action in the company of others rather than ...


20

The hidden agenda is a useful expression used to refer to the unsaid motives of somebody's actions: An undisclosed plan, especially one with an ulterior motive.(AHD)


18

To be dogged by misfortune is an expression used to convey the idea that you are constantly unlucky. To dog: to pursue or follow after like a dog. The Free Dictionary


16

In Australia the phrase doing a Bradbury was born following Steven Bradbury's amazing Gold medal win in the speed skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics. It denotes achieving an improbable victory through circumstances beyond one's control. You can watch here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAADWfJO2qM Basically, he was in last position for the whole race, ...


15

For 'joie de vivre' I suggest elan panache For 'raison d'etre', I suggest essence rationale These were chosen ironically because you requested something English, which all of these are, and yet your hidden intention was that they be more ... Anglo-Saxon, which these are all not. You've kind of hit a bunch of issues here: translation (how exact must ...


15

Bamboozle came to mind for me. merriam-webster and some other sources give connotations of con-artist type of action, rather than just complex sentences. Google's 2nd definition: confound or perplex. - "bamboozled by the number of savings plans being offered" Seems to fit the bill.


14

We can trace most English words back to a time they were borrowed from another language: Image from Wikipedia.org The expressions raison d'etre and joie de vivre, are relatively recent, acquisitions: raison d'etre (n.) "excuse for being," 1864, first recorded in letter of J.S. Mill, from French raison d'être, literally "rational grounds ...


13

While the terms supplied in the answer to Ooker's question are useful in describing "the reasoning/motivation behind" the action, neither of the single words ostensible nor ulterior apply solely to the question raised, i.e., doing/saying a "good" thing for "bad" or selfish reasons. The opposite could be equally valid (often described as "the end justifying ...


13

You could say that the person is using sophistry (sometimes called sophism). Merriam-Webster defines sophistry as the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false a reason or argument that sounds correct but is actually false The term originally came from a Greek word meaning "wisdom". It referred to the teachings of ...


12

Not an idiom, but a single word could be... gravy something advantageous or valuable that is received or obtained as a benefit beyond what is due or expected. (Dictionary.com) To cite an example, I'm reminded of a line of Charlie's from 2½ Men: "Alan, he was happy to see his friends. Being away from you is just gravy." (=unintended benefit) ...


12

String/streak of bad luck; an albatross around one's neck; Can't catch a break; Can't win for losing; can't stand up for falling down; born to lose; it never rains but it pours; when troubles come they come not single spies but in battalions (that one is from Shakespeare); born under a bad sign; losing since the day one was born; born to suffer;


12

Probably the Idiom: by chance. (TFD) Without plan; accidentally: They met by chance on a plane. Possibly; perchance: Is he, by chance, her brother? without advance planning Synonyms: accidentally, circumstantially, unexpectedly through chance, "To sleep, perchance to dream.." (vocabulary.com)


12

Befuddling: verb [WITH OBJECT] (usually as adjective befuddled) Cause to become unable to think clearly: ODO From the Testimony of Senator George T. Oliver in Campaign Contributions: I have the facts and the names and am not going to let a cheap bunch of politicians befuddle anybody... Emphasis added


12

An entitled or pontificating individual would share the qualities you've described. "Entitled" (Google Query): believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. "Pontificate" (Google Query): express one's opinions in a way considered annoyingly pompous and dogmatic


10

You could call it a side benefit. http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/side-benefit


10

Happy Accident describes your intention: a pleasant situation or event that is not planned or intended - We never planned to have a third child - it was a happy accident Fortuitous is a somewhat looser fit adjective 1. happening or produced by chance; accidental: a fortuitous encounter. 2. lucky; fortunate: a series of fortuitous events ...


10

I would probably use "not mincing words". (Dictionary.com)


10

In the study of religiousity, a person's orientation is classified as intrinsic, extrinsic, or quest. From this we can borrow the terms for motivation to behaviors as extrinsic (doing an outwardly selfless act for selfish reasons) or intrinsic (doing it selflessly). In the context it's borrowed from, attending a church service could be intrinsic (for ...



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