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140

You need not be a wizard. wizard: a person who practices magic; magician or sorcerer. a person of amazing skill or accomplishment: a wizard at chemistry. (Random House) But one need not be a wizard to foresee by now that the outbreak of a revolutionary movement on the Communist order, in a Europe laid waste by a long war, will result in an era of ...


82

Around my office, such a problem is called a Heisenbug, a pun on the name of the great physicist Werner Heisenberg, who first described the observer effect (the rule that observing any phenomenon will change it) and the uncertainty principle (the rule that you can know either where something is or how fast it is going, but not both). The frustrating thing ...


76

You don't have to be a genius appears to have been used in the early decades of the 20th century. Ngram shows examples of its usage before the 1930's. From Popular Science. June 1919: You do not have to be a genius. If you have a liking for drawing and develop it intelligently, there are many opportunities for you in this profitable professian. ...


66

I would suggest moving target. Longman online (3) says: a moving target something that is changing continuously, so that it is very difficult to criticize it or compete against it


57

They are known as "trust-fund babies" or "trust-fund kids": from Dictionary.com: noun: a child of wealthy parents or other relatives who can rely on a trust fund rather than hard work for a living


51

Consider, to each their own one has a right to one's personal preferences AHD


49

You've hit the nail on the head - this is very widely used in British English, at least. Fig. to do exactly the right thing; to do something in the most effective and efficient way. You've spotted the flaw, Sally. You hit the nail on the head. Bob doesn't say much, but every now and then he hits the nail right on the head. (-- from ...


49

harrumph /həˈrʌmf/ verb; gerund or present participle: harrumphing clear the throat noisily grumpily express dissatisfaction or disapproval. "skeptics tend to harrumph at case histories like this" He harrumphed and said, ‘I am deeply obliged’. (from Google)


47

You could call that a "carrot on a stick". It refers to a carrot dangled in front of a beast of burden by a stick held by the rider. The similar "carrot or the stick" phrase refers to giving someone either a reward or a punishment. Here is a write-up describing the two phrases. http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/carrot.html


45

There's the proverb different strokes for different folks. Citing Oxford: Different things appeal to different people.


44

Consider, chase rainbows : to waste your time trying to get or achieve something impossible (usually in continuous tenses) Cambridge Idioms Dictionary [go on a] wild-goose chase a wild or absurd search for something nonexistent or unobtainable any senseless pursuit of an object or end; a hopeless enterprise Random House [go on a] snipe ...


43

Such a task would be tantalizing. This is derived from the Greek myth of Tantalus, one of the sons of Zeus. After stealing ambrosia from Mount Olympus, Tantalus was punished by the gods to stand in the underworld for eternity by fruit trees such that he could never quite reach the fruit. As described in the Encyclopedia Britannica these goals would move ...


43

Consider the phrase aptly named: A dog called Snoozy who lies around on the couch all day is aptly named... (http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/aptly) aptly named/described/called etc: named, described etc in a way that seems very suitable The aptly named Skyline Restaurant provides spectacular views of the city below. (Longman) We ...


42

I think in certain contexts moving target could work: an idea or situation that continuously changes as you are trying to deal with it (M-W) something that is always ​changing, making it ​difficult to ​count, ​describe, ​achieve, etc. (Cambridge Dictionary, suggested by DCShannon in comments)


41

Going right along with the theme established by Chenmunka, there is also the sisyphean task. This is derived from the Greek myth of Sisyphus, an ancient king of Ephyra/ Corinth. After being boastful and deceitful, Sisyphus was punished by the gods to roll a rock up a hill in the underworld, only to watch it immediately roll back down, and having to ...


40

They're called wet nurses. Wikipedia A wet nurse is a woman who breast feeds and cares for another's child. Wet nurses are employed when the mother is unable or chooses not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as "milk-siblings", and in some cultures the families are linked by a special relationship of milk kinship. Mothers ...


39

I would call it an "elusive" problem. elusive adjective: 1: tending to evade grasp or pursuit 2: hard to comprehend or define 3: hard to isolate or identify (Merriam-Webster online)


37

It is called a jam session. It is sometimes shortened as jam. (jam is used as a verb as well.) An informal gathering of musicians to play improvised or unrehearsed music. [TFD]


36

An intermittent problem. stopping or ceasing for a time; alternately ceasing and beginning again. TFD starting, stopping, and starting again : not constant or steady. MW e.g. "My new car has been having an intermittent battery problem." "The forecast is for intermittent rain." "The patient was having intermittent pains."


36

It's not an Herculean task. i.e. not requiring tremendous effort, strength, etc. by reference to the twelve labours of Hercules (latin) or Heracles(greek). From Wikipedia 1748, Tobias George Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random "He replied in a dry manner, that I would find it a Herculean task to chastise everybody who should laugh at my ...


35

You've clipped the phrase in the wrong place. You should be asking, "What does the phrase 'make light of' mean?" Here is the definition of this idiom according to Wiktionary: To regard without due seriousness; to joke or disregard inappropriately. So, your given example basically states: The question is disregarding or trivializing whatever ...


33

I think the correct word is intermediate, as @Rathony mentioned. It's also a noun, so He is an intermediate is perfectly OK: intermediate (noun): one that is in a middle position or state. (AHD) intermediate noun [countable] [plural intermediates] a student, player etc who has not yet reached an advanced level (Macmillan Dictionary) One ...


31

The Free Dictionary says "at a certain time past, not distant, but indefinite; not long ago; recently; rarely, the third day past." Collins simply says "a few days ago." So your girlfriend is closer to right. But to me, a limit of about a week, not a month, sounds right; otherwise, say "last week," "a week or two ago," etc.


31

That is called: Lip service: support for someone or something that is expressed by someone in words but that is not shown in that person's actions (TFD)


31

Sounds like a gremlin An imaginary mischievous sprite regarded as responsible for an unexplained problem or fault, especially a mechanical or electronic one: a gremlin in my computer omitted a line Oxford Dictionaries Online For a longer discussion, see this article in Wikipedia Also, there is a wonderful dramatization of the gremlin effect in ...


30

As I understand it in normal card game it would mean someone manually prepared the cards so they know what is coming (have advantage) In the context of the speech I think it means that average Americans are at disadvantage. Similar to system is rigged in your post. stack the deck (against someone or something) and stack the cards (against someone or ...


27

To minimize the distinction we say, One's as bad as the other: Or, if we leave room for more than two: One's as bad as the next.


26

Silver-tongued A tendency to be eloquent and persuasive in speaking. - Google


24

Indeed there is: "spendthrift" is one, and "wastrel" another. The latter is archaic but I really like it. Derived from "waste", I guess, but pronounced with a short A not a diphthong. You don't have to be stinking rich to be these, though. And there is another archaic word for spending an inheritance etc. quickly and reprehensibly: "to blew". That's not the ...



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