Is there a single word for when you request a single word for some phrase or thought?

Example sentence:

By golly, it's time to make a ____ on EL&U!

Things I've tried:

  • I've searched this site for "single-word request" but I couldn't seem to find anything of interest.

  • SWR is an abbreviation, and other people wouldn't know what it stood for.

  • Singlewordrequest isn't proper English, I believe.

  • 2
    No, there isn't, afaik. I had assumed that's why we call them "single-word-requests" here. On the other hand, if we made up a special word for them, maybe there'd be fewer of them. Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 21:36
  • "A" and "single' are modifiers for the item you want which is "word."
    – Stan
    Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 21:37
  • @Stan: Very clever. But "word" doesn't include the notion of "request". Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 21:39
  • 2
    @JohnLawler: Perhaps we should, then. Or split off a special site for single-word requests. Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 21:39
  • 1
    You know it's called an SWR, silly you. Has been for years. Very much officially so. Not enough for your tastes, eh. That earns you a hammer-wielding Norse god of hallowing, fertility, and oak trees :‑Þ.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 3:58

2 Answers 2


I suggest we call such a thing a

monologos n
A single word request that involves the feeling you get when you can't really think of something interesting to ask but you still want to waste people's time anyway.

  • C'est pas mal! And it isn't even impossible Greek. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 2:50
  • Although it does sound more like a single word without a request...(can't ever make an SWRer happy). Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 2:50
  • And isn't that an improvement?
    – Robusto
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 2:51
  • Yes, but, as the OP, I could not possibly acknowledge that. I always want something else, something more. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 3:14
  • 1
    I'll change my question to be about something else entirely. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 3:16

There is the open-form compound word clothes shopping:

Realistically, before embarking on this journey I thought that quitting clothes shopping might help me clear a few bucks from my credit card. - The Sydney Morning Herald

As English is a productive language, consider the variant ‘word shopping’ to be a ‘single’ (open compound) word synonym to single-word-request.

The parallel to clothes shopping includes

  • having a good idea of the context (person / sentence);
  • not necessarily knowing what it would be beforehand; and
  • knowing a good fit upon seeing it

One might extend the analogy to having someone else produce the item, or paying for it (via rep points), but these are incidental.

The sample sentence, as given, doesn’t lend itself immediately to this term, but you might say:

  • It's time to go word shopping at EL&U!

Admittedly, this is a somewhat cheeky answer. If open compound words are to be considered, single-word request already fits the bill. :)

  • Cheeky, cheeky! While the meaning matches my request, as a SWRer I could not possibly use an "open compound"! For it isn't a single word, and that doesn't fit my conception of language. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 14:23

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