Questions tagged [expression-choice]

Choosing the best phrase FROM A GIVEN SELECTION for a particular context or meaning.

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57
votes
12answers
7k views

What's the English equivalent of the Japanese saying, “A fart ruins 100 days of sermons by the priest (bishop)”?

I was amused by the expression "Paid a penny and only farted" (related by @FumbleFingers), which suggested a similar Japanese saying: 大山鳴動鼠一匹 - "Find only a small mouse coming out after hearing ...
50
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3answers
13k views

Does OP mean “original poster” or “original post”?

In an online forum, OP means "original poster," but can it also mean "original post?" For example, instead of saying To answer the OP's original question... could one instead say To answer ...
41
votes
15answers
29k views

A word for a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh

There is a word for this in Indonesian language: jayus. (Maybe, it is used in Filipino and Malaysian language also.) It is a joke that is so bad, it's funny. It is often mentioned as untranslatable....
31
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12answers
16k views

Shoplifting vs. a word for “someone who orders, eats and sneaks without paying the check”

Shoplifting relates more to the physical possession of goods. A shoplifter may pretend to be a customer or buy some and steal many (or vice-versa). But while at a restaurant such pretense won't ...
27
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9answers
60k views

What is a polite way of talking about a recently-deceased person?

In my language (Arabic), we say things that can be translated to: Mr X, God have mercy on him, was .. Mr X, God puts him in heaven, was. . . . Mr X, God forgive him, was. . . . How does one talk ...
27
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6answers
9k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
21
votes
10answers
494k views

Any other good way of saying “Happy Birthday”?

Quite a few of my friends are having their birthdays in the coming weeks. I feel a little awkward posting plain words like "Happy Birthday" on their Facebook pages. I've decided I should come up with ...
21
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5answers
147k views

“Please advise” — why is this a common turn of phrase for foreign speakers of English?

I was just browsing through StackOverflow just now, and randomly hit on this question, where the question-asker signed off his request with a "please advise." Certain I'd heard this turn of phrase ...
19
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8answers
161k views

When do you use “Cheers” instead of “Thank you” in spoken English?

A lot of time, people say "cheers" instead of "thank you". As I am not a native speaker, I wonder in which case you can use what. It is used a lot for polite gestures, such as holding a door or ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Term for Only “Unbelieved Warner”

I'm looking for a word, phrase, or idiom to describe a person or fictional device. In stories, especially horror and fantasy, there can be a character who is dismissed when they try to tell others ...
16
votes
7answers
41k views

Expression for someone who doesn't like to eat

Is there an expression for a person who eats very little, doesn't like eating, avoids it? I don't mean the medical condition of anorexia, I mean a common preference, like kids who need a lot of ...
16
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10answers
104k views

Alternative expression for “bang for your buck”

I have been hearing the expression "bang for you buck" many times a day and I find myself distracted when I or others use it. In an effort to be an attentive listener, what is a good alternative ...
16
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13answers
178k views

Is there a term for someone who “can see multiple perspectives”?

A colleague of mine is trying to describe herself as "capable of seeing a situation from multiple perspectives" or "able to look at the big picture from various viewpoints". I feel like there must be ...
16
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6answers
48k views

Is there a difference between “way of doing something” and “way to do something”?

Is there a difference between "way of doing something" and "way to do something"? It is on purpose that I did not write "a way of doing something" or "the way of doing something" and "a way to do ...
15
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18answers
2k views

Term for “will consume time and almost certainly yield nothing”

Can anyone point to an eloquent word or term that means "will consume time and almost certainly yield nothing"? Could be used in response to: I'm going to have one of the developers contact Apple ...
15
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5answers
4k views

What is the third option beside 'accept' and 'reject' on a ballot?

Members of Parliament (MPs) in most countries have three options while voting for a law proposal. The third option means neither 'accept' nor 'reject', but recorded for quorum. 'Accept' '...
14
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14answers
2k views

An expression for trying to futilely apply old methods that once worked

We are looking for an expression that captures this idea: When someone tries to adapt an old way of doing something, holding on to the original core of their process, in a futile way, instead of ...
14
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7answers
230k views

Should I say “have a good night” at 5:00 PM?

We're off work at 5:00PM. I've never tried to say "have a good night" at this time of day. In fact, I wouldn't even say it at all unless I'd like to say it to someone who is heading to bed. When I'm ...
14
votes
1answer
88k views

Which expression is correct? “in development” or “under development”?

When talking about a product or project that is still being developed (so it's in an unfinished state at the moment), which expression is the correct one? “in development” or “under development”? For ...
13
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10answers
9k views

Is there a term I can use for a boss's favorite employee?

Over dinner tonight, one of the guests was describing herself as her boss's favorite employee, and asked for a term to describe this. As the only guest who spoke English as a first language, the ...
13
votes
12answers
8k views

Ways of saying “You don't have to be a rocket scientist” [closed]

I'm trying to find different ways of saying that "You don't have to be a rocket scientist", but I can't seem to get any good ideas. I got a variation, "You don't have to be a brain surgeon...," but ...
13
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17answers
3k views

A way to express an overreaction to something positive

I am looking for a word or an expression to describe an overreaction to positive news or positive events. Something that has to do with excessive enthusiasm like when you you are unable to control ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

An appropriate term for the 'contamination' of a language

Italians, for some reason, tend to accept and use foreign terms quite easily. The foreign terms that have entered and are entering common usage are mainly from the English language. Their usage has ...
13
votes
4answers
636k views

How to correctly use the expression “safe travel(s)”?

A colleague of mine recently reached out to me. I asked if he would like to meet up sometime to which he notified me that he would be traveling the remainder of this week. In what context is it okay ...
11
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10answers
5k views

Expression to introduce an immodest statement

Portuguese has the expression "modéstia à parte" (literally: "modesty aside"), which is used to (still rather bluntly) introduce statements where the speaker praises himself. Is there something ...
11
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11answers
5k views

How else can I express the concept of ' just to be on the safe side'

I always use this expression when I want to say that I just want to be prudent about something. Are there other ways to convey the same concept, other idioms or expressions I can use alternatively?
11
votes
7answers
861 views

What is the verb for developing a chip on one's shoulder? [closed]

I want to say that an individual has a chip on their shoulder, but a month ago, they did not. Did they "raise a chip on their shoulder", as might be inferred from the first cited history of the ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Term for the reverse of hijacking a meeting?

When someone says hijacking a meeting, it usually means that someone has made the meeting all about his/her agenda. One time, I was invited to a meeting to talk about "ABC", but they only discussed ...
11
votes
6answers
34k views

Difference between “meant to” and “supposed to”

Those two expressions have close meaning: He is not meant to do this He is not supposed to do this What is the difference between them, and when I should use one or the other?
10
votes
11answers
12k views

Non-religious equivalent expression for “Pray for [Country X]” after a disaster

When a big disaster occurs in a country, you can often see messages saying: Pray for [Country X] Are people really writing this to incite people to ask their God for anything? For instance ...
10
votes
4answers
11k views

“Who is that for?”

Showing a baby bottle to my son I ask him "Who's that for?", obviously waiting for a "That's for me!" answer (which turns out to be just "Me!") But I am not a native speaker and I kind of translate ...
9
votes
8answers
8k views

Term for situation where alternative choice is not really one [duplicate]

What would you call a situation where the current one sucks but you have a 'choice' to an alternative, however the alternative is not really one. Such as, "Sure living in an area under a ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What can we call those ladies?

I am looking for a word or expression to describe those ladies, usually high society ladies, whose main aim in life is to find a good match for marriage and whose main activity is organising lunches ...
9
votes
11answers
16k views

“You get what you deserve nothing more nothing less”

In this world we reside, what we acquire depends on what we can acquire. In other words, if we have the money to, we can buy a house; if we have the necessary educational qualifications to, we can get ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

What does the most common usage of 'Korea' mean in modern-day English-speaking world?

On Meta.Travel.SE, we have a debate whether our 'Korea' tag should be mapped to 'South Korea'. One of the answers - from the moderator who made the synonym mapping - is that common usage of the word '...
9
votes
12answers
3k views

Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any difference between “straighten out” and “sort out”? [closed]

Is there any difference between straighten out and sort out? I already know what they mean, so I'm interested in nuances. I'm going to give a couple of examples, let me know if any sounds unnatural, ...
9
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there a word for something loved by the masses but whose true value is lacking?

Is there a general word for someone or something popular or loved by the masses but that has not been proven to be effectual (like how some would use the term "pop psychology" pejoratively)? Examples ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the English for “allappare”?

This is essentially a translation question and as such off-topic, but please bear with me for a moment. Allappare is an Italian verb that is used to refer to the astringent effect that you may ...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

What would you call that feeling of something crawling on the body

Morgellons is a controversial and poorly understood condition in which unusual thread-like fibers appear under the skin. The patient may feel like something is crawling, biting, or stinging ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the best word or expression that describes the Hindi word “Jootha”? [duplicate]

Jootha is a Hindi word which means that the food, which actually belongs to me has been tasted by someone else, without my permission. In India this is considered as a taboo and states that the food ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Historical and contemporary usage of “don't” for the third singular person

The following extract from M-W Learner's Dictionary comments on the usage of "don't": Don't is occasionally used in American English speech and in historical writing as a contraction of does ...
9
votes
1answer
272 views

What Charles Ingalls was really going to say?

Here is full paragraph: Pa was on top of the walls, stretching the canvas wagon-top over the skeleton roof of saplings. The canvas billowed in the wind, Pa's beard blew wildly and his hair stood up ...
9
votes
3answers
23k views

“Going down the rathole” vs. “Going down the rabbit hole.”

I hear/read the phrase "going down a/the rathole" used as a synonym for the phrase "going down a/the rabbit hole," the later taken from chapter 1 - "Down the Rabbit Hole" ...
8
votes
11answers
30k views

Idiom/expression for changing the subject in a conversation

Is there an idiom/expression in English for changing the subject in a conversation (and if possible, in a sarcastic way)? For example, there is an expression in Turkish: gelelim fasulyenin ...
8
votes
6answers
40k views

What is a word or expression to define that you have reached the limit of your capabilities?

I am referring to the stage where someone reaches his/her capabilities limits, especially professional limits. I am thinking about career advancements as well as the growth in professional life. We ...
7
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the common expression to describe position starting from the last one?

Suppose we have letters: a, b, c, d, e, f ,g. I want to describe the position of letter "e" starting from right hand side, what should I use? "e" is the last third letter. "e" is the third last ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a word for someone who is usually in the minority?

My original question was "Is there a legitimate word for 'a balancer'?" but I think it's a little hard to understand... Let's just say there is a person, and most of the time, he is in the minority. ...
7
votes
3answers
29k views

Is there another expression for “my manager's manager”?

As the title says, is there another expression for "my manager's manager"? For example, in the large company I currently work for, there are 4 managers and the CEO above me. If there is no single ...
7
votes
1answer
65k views

“Take the role” vs. “take over the role” vs. “take on the role”

Is there a significant difference between the three expressions, or can they be used interchangeably? I'm trying to say that a colleague of mine succeeded to another after the latter had quit his job....

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