I am looking for a phrase or an idiom that means that i have selected the one object from a group or settled on some solution out of many others. Let me provide some examples:

  1. I went to the travel agency and they offered me a list of tours. I thought long and hard over the 2 hours and finally selected the most interesting tour among others proposed.
  2. I asked for a word on ELU and other users kindly provided me with a bunch of words with requested meaning. I thought for a moment and finally selected the only word I really liked.
  3. I developed some C++ library and ran into a problem. I tried many solutions and finally decided which one will work for the situation.

In Russian we usually use the idiom "ostanovitsya na" that means "to stop on something". What is the similar phrase (or idiom) in American and British English?


I finally end up with "end up"! It is as close to Russian "ostanovitsya na" as it can ever be. Another 2 very similar phrases are "to decide on" and "to settle on".

I would like to deeply thank all those who have contributed to the discussion of this question!

  • Your title appears to have "to decide on something" which is quite suitable. I don't particularly understand what you are after here. Mar 16, 2013 at 16:30
  • @coleopterist, as you can see the title contains "to decide something", not "to decide on something". It seems like "to decide on" is the exact idiom I am looking for!
    – ezpresso
    Mar 16, 2013 at 16:51
  • 1
    You should consider that end up with carries no implication of decision on your part. Quite the contrary, it often implies that your preferences and desires played no part in the outcome. "Despite my best efforts to get onto the Research team, I ended up having to take the position in Accounting." If it were me, I'd go with settle on. Mar 16, 2013 at 17:49

6 Answers 6


A word mentioned in the question is suitable: settle (sense 7, “To determine, as something which is exposed to doubt or question; to free from uncertainty or wavering; to make sure, firm, or constant; to establish”). You can say, “I settled upon the fourth alternative”. In my mind, settled upon may indicate slightly more thought about the alternatives than would use of picked or chose. Also consider aforementioned selected and decided on or upon. [Links and definitions: en.wiktionary.org.]

As far as idiom goes, I don't know of one comparable to “ostanovitsya na / to stop on something”. One might say, “I took X home to mama” / “My take-home was X” / “I hooked up with X” to express choosing X with more thought or less. Those are all more figurative than idiomatic but are informal and readily understood.

Edit: ezpresso's comment reminded me I left a link out. End up has a sense “to arrive, esp by a circuitous or lengthy route or process”. Eg: “I ended up with the fifth alternative” or “I ended up using the sixth alternative” or “In the end I took the seventeenth alternative”.

  • 3
    I rather like settle on.
    – tchrist
    Mar 16, 2013 at 17:01
  • @jwpat7, it is possible to interpret "ostanovitsya na / to stop on ..." like "to stop the process of selection (or searching) on ...".
    – ezpresso
    Mar 16, 2013 at 17:04
  • @ezpresso, see edit Mar 16, 2013 at 17:12
  • @jwpat7, thank you very very very much! "End up" is exactly the idiom I have looked for!!!
    – ezpresso
    Mar 16, 2013 at 17:17

I understand your question to be: "What word/phrase means choosing the best out of a large range of options?" I think "to hand-pick" works nicely. To me it elicits the imagery of being in a grocery store looking for apples. You're given many options, but you personally choose only the ones you think are best. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hand-pick


Either picked or chose works just fine for this.

  • 'Decide on' is common and multi-register; 'plump for' is informal. A 'finally' may be added before either to show a lot of deliberation was involved. Mar 16, 2013 at 16:32
  • @EdwinAshworth, yes. Seems like "decide on" is what I was looking for! Thanks!
    – ezpresso
    Mar 16, 2013 at 16:58

You could simply use "finalize". It is quite commonly used and is similar in form to what you are trying to say in the examples.

The usage is that you finalized something or finalized a decision. It should be general enough for your needs.


You "zero in on" a choice(out of several possibilities).


Here is an idiom that means to finally make a difficult decision or take difficult action. "Bite the bullet", It is derived historically from the practice of having a patient clench a bullet in his or her teeth as a way to cope with the extreme pain of a surgical procedure without anesthetic. So when making an emotionally or financially painful decision people often say, "I finally bit the bullet and finally bought a new car. My old car was on its last leg, ready for the scrap yard.

  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. Thank you for your answer. Please consider improving it by adding references. Feb 26, 2018 at 2:17

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