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58

Depending on context, all three could be acceptable, with woman probably being the most neutral. However, in all three cases, you seem to want to put emphasis on the fact she was a woman... if you met to talk about business, you could use a job-title. You could refer to her (depending on the nature of your business relation and her job description) as a ...


29

Competitors below the favourite or favourites are the field. Least-favoured competitors, for whom long odds are quoted by bookmakers, are long shots, and a winner who was given little or no chance of winning is a dark horse.


28

The most obvious short word I can think of that could be seen as being a level ‘above’ expert would be guru, in the third sense given by Merriam-Webster in the link: a person who has a lot of experience in or knowledge about a particular subject


24

If one competitor is the favorite, the other is the underdog.


19

The one-word option that is the closest match to the French original is "something." She has a certain something about her. This has the same figurative meaning and close to the same literal meaning as the French phrase. There's a Cole Porter song called "She's Got That Thing" that uses "thing" to express the same thing as "je ne sais quoi": She's ...


17

Interesting question! Actually, I would interpret your example sentences in almost all contexts as meaning your first scenario. To describe your second scenario, I do not believe we normally describe that someone almost or nearly did something, but rather, we play around with modal verbs: He would have drowned yesterday. (But he decided to stay home.) ...


17

Brainwashing is a common expression for getting someone to think or believe something that was artificially inserted in their mind through a variety of techniques.


14

"Nexteven" A direct conterpart to morrow=morning=beginning of the day, with a similar pattern of divergent evolution of even vs evening just like morrow vs morning. ...And it rolls off the tongue much better than "to-even" (or "nextnight", which was suggested in comments).


12

You could try painkiller, in an extended sense; but I prefer anodyne.


12

Je ne sais quoi is a loan phrase in English so it is English already. This phrase captures the idea more precisely than any other equivalent and has the sense of that indescribable elegance, so that would be why it is loaned from French. One word equivalent would be something but it is used with the adjective certain and makes sense in a context. An ...


11

I think that you can use splinter regardless of the material. In Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary online (subscription required), the example sentence for splinter in the meaning you intend references metal. splin·ter noun \ˈsplintə(r)\ plural -s 1 a (1) : a thin often jagged or needlelike piece split or rent off lengthwise : sliver, chip, ...


11

I like this question, because I have often felt the same way. The reason is that there is no word for a female that is quite like the word "guy". "Gal" is often paired with "guy" but "gal" is like a cowgirl or a country girl and is extremely informal, bordering on demeaning. On the other hand, you can use "guy" to refer to any male, any age, any position, ...


11

Have you considered using the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition? In particular, his ranking is: Novice Advanced beginner Competent Proficient Expert Note that each level has a specific, quotable, empirically-driven definition that allows one to (more-or-less) unambiguously identify which category one belongs to. That might be helpful if your ...


11

If the level being described is the ultimate attainable, perhaps the term paragon might suit A person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality [ODO] Similarly, you might consider apotheosis (although less often applied to an individual than to her accomplishments), paradigm, or epitome.


11

To inculcate may be used in the context described: To impress (something) upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition; instill: inculcating sound principles. To teach (others) by frequent instruction or repetition; indoctrinate: inculcate the young with a sense of duty. Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the ...


10

No-show. Although the correct answer for the action is definitely "stand up". I can't believe it, he stood me up.


10

Cold weapon (also known as white arm) seems to be an appropriate word. It refers to weapons that do not use any sort of explosive force in their function. It comprises blunt (knuckles, maces), edged (swords, knives) and ranged (bows, crossbows) weaponry. Here is the relevant excerpt from Wikipedia: A cold weapon (or white arm) is a weapon that does not ...


10

Phrases like "the Holy Grail of Physics", are snowclones of the form "Z is the X of Y". They work because X's properties are well-understood and can be used to immediately relate Z and Y. So if someone says Artificial Intelligence is the Holy Grail of Computer Science Then everyone knows what that means: AI is something that is rumoured to exist (or ...


9

Escapism comes close. an activity or form of entertainment that allows people to forget about the real problems of life Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/ From Wikipedia: Many activities that are normal parts of a healthy existence (e.g., eating, sleeping, exercise, sexual activity) can also become avenues of escapism when taken to ...


9

It's called a splinter in the case of wood. "I've got a splinter in my bum from sliding down the bannister". Splints are something else. That's because wood can break apart (splinter) into sharp bits. In the case of metal, I'd call it a metal cutting, a chip, a shaving, a sliver, or a piece of swarf. In the case of glass, I'd call it a sliver or a shard. ...


9

I read your post twice. I think what you're getting at is that in their (vampire) world/life[style], they talk about the nights as periods of activity the way we talk about days/daylight as being a period of activity, right? If so, then a lot of the usual terms non-vampires use still apply. I would think that even the word "day" would be appropriate, as ...


9

Depending on what kind of flavor you’re going for, I have several possibilities that haven't yet been suggested. First, as others have said, for me master doesn’t have the gendered feel to it that you describe. But given this opinion, there are of course other options. For a term that could be used to describe someone more skilled than expert denotes, ...


8

Sticking with betting terminology you could also say "outsider" if the odds against are high. Or "less fancied" runner.


8

The contender Especially in human one-on-one sports, such as boxing. The field Or the rest of the field, can be used to describe the rest of the non-favourite horses in a horse race.


8

"Knives, knuckles, a piece of metal, etc." can be considered melee weapons, although my impression is that the term is used more commonly in gaming (where it stands in opposition to ranged weapons) than in discussions of real weaponry. In any case, there are lots of other kinds of weapons that are neither firearms nor melee weapons, such as bows and arrows, ...


8

More specifically than being just nouns, nouns that are derived from adjectives by various different suffixes (-ness, -(i)ty, -(t/s)ion, -hood, -(e)ry, etc.) are known as abstract nouns, in that they refer to an entity that is not concrete or, as you yourself said in your comment, are not “a person, place, or thing”. There are also abstract nouns that are ...


8

You can "seed the idea" into someone's head, this is found in print e.g. in this novel. This would match your request that the people then think it their own idea, as who knows where the seed of a plant came from?


7

"Excruciatingly beautiful" describes something so beautiful it hurts. According to the 2nd definition from the FreeDictionary.com, "excruciating" can also mean intense or extreme. If something is so beautiful it causes pain, it could be pain from the sheer intensity of the experience: causing intense suffering; tormenting. intense or extreme: ...


7

Perhaps savant: a learned person, especially a distinguished scientist. In my experience, this word has connotations of almost supernatural expertise.


6

I would call that "a necessary evil." In some cases, it may also be an addiction.



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