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Questions tagged [expression-requests]

for questions looking for a specific expression.

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13
votes
14answers
3k views

Are there similar figurative expressions in English to Japanese proverb, “メッキが剥げる – the gilding peels off” to describe to show one’s true color?

When I’m reading U.S. newspapers reporting Presidential campaign almost every day, and watching consistency and inconsistency of the claims of candidates or nominees in their speeches at rallies and ...
2
votes
2answers
361 views

What's the auditory equivalent of seeing at a glance and smelling in a whiff? [closed]

I'm thinking of something like listening/recognizing at a beat/heartbeat.
1
vote
1answer
579 views

Opposite of collocation, set phrase, and so on

Some strings of words are importantly different from other strings. For example, they might be used way more often than synonymous strings which would seem to be equally good choices. Wikipedia ...
1
vote
2answers
912 views

'Could you please share [or xyz task]'—with or without question mark?

Most of the time, a sentence comes with a sense of being an order, not a request; and people have stopped using a question mark at the end of the sentence. For example, your boss (or some other ...
1
vote
3answers
123 views

How do native speakers of English say “To inherit a behavior”? [duplicate]

I was trying to translate a text from Brazilian-Portuguese into english and I got stuck at a slang phrase we have. Here in Brazil, we use the word "puxar" ("to pull" in English) with an additional ...
5
votes
4answers
678 views

A word or idiom for a person asked to use their expertise for banal tasks

It seems a common enough experience for people with some expertise in some area to be frequently called upon by people they come in contact with to use their skill to help with some small thing. Is ...
2
votes
4answers
680 views

A way of saying that “the advantages of a strategy go in two different directions”? [closed]

For example, a Government decides to construct a much-needed bridge. This helps the Government get into good books of people and secure their vote. Secondly, this also gives them some economic benefit....
1
vote
2answers
141 views

Having the best of both worlds (i.e. methods)

I want a phrase for the main title of my academic poster for a general audience. Context: "In microbiology, our proposed [method Z] combines the [advantages] of [established methods X and Y]." Some ...
42
votes
19answers
6k views

Is there any equivalent for this Persian expression “____ is like an unopened watermelon”?

The Persian expression/ simile "____ is like an unopened (=uncut) watermelon" implies that you never know what the given (risky) issue/ choice will turn out to be until you proceed to experience or ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What do you call the tendency to oversimplify an issue?

I have noticed that there is a tendency in many people, and certainly in groups as a whole, to avoid, ignore, or trivialize complex and difficult issues by placing focus on issues that are similar and ...
3
votes
5answers
9k views

Is there an expression describing some thing precious because it's rare?

This is a question similar to A word to describe something that is desired only because it is rare, but I am looking for an expression, a saying, or an idiom use in daily life, not a term or jargon. ...
54
votes
13answers
7k views

English equivalent for the Persian idiom “send someone out in pursuit of black chickpeas”

"To send somebody out in pursuit of some black chickpeas" is a Persian idiom that implies 'to make or ask someone to run an errand so that you be able to have/ buy some time in order to deal with your ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Equivalent idiom for “turning in one's grave” for a living person?

If you do something that would greatly upset a deceased person, it would cause him to "turn in his grave". However, what if the person affected is still alive? Is there an equivalent idiom for this?
27
votes
8answers
6k views

A word for “the shelves of candies or mints next to the checkout desk of a supermarket”

I need a word or a fixed phrase, something short that describes the following: the shelves of candies or mints next to the checkout desk of a supermarket Is there a one-word name for it? I can't ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

Using “in person” in a sentence [duplicate]

Can you use "in person" for inanimate objects, as in "the car looks completely different in person" implying the car is different than the picture?
3
votes
1answer
3k views

An expression for “Lying on your stomach, kicking your legs and feet up in the air”

What is a concise way to describe the following action? Someone lying on their stomach, kicking their legs and feet up into the air behind them, looking sexy. The description should be pretty ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

What was a century called before it was called “century”?

The term century in the more common connotation that refers to a period of 100 years is relatively recent: The Modern English meaning is attested from 1650s, short for century of years (1620s). ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Synonym for “from the trenches” [closed]

The expression "from the trenches" implies a down-to-reality focus as in "a view from the trenches". Is there any other english expression implying the same meaning ?
12
votes
14answers
4k views

Idiom request for describing someone who just makes frustrating or disappointing remarks [duplicate]

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that means someone just makes frustrating or disappointing remarks. Maybe some of you have watched the TV cartoon 'The adventures of Gulliver' in which there ...
3
votes
2answers
171 views

English equivalent to “Titre ronflant” in French

In French, one occasionally describes a senior-level exec as having a "titre ronflant", which is to say someone whose title is clearly senior all while sarcastically denoting that it's basically super-...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Is there a word for something hidden in pants/trousers pocket but its shape is visible?

How do I describe the shape that is visible from the exterior of a pocket? For example, when we put a cell in our pants pocket, we can ‘see’ it is a cell phone. How do I express this in a sentence? ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

To donate something you want to throw away

Suppose that a person buys a packet of sugar. On the way home, the packet falls off his hands and the sugar scatters on the ground. Nobody is expected to gather the sugar again, but that person does ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

Are there any phrases expressing the meaning “won't do/finish something until the last minute of deadline/due time”

Some people prefer to finish their tasks one day or even one hour before the deadline. I wonder how native speakers of English say this. Specifically, how to complete the following sentences: The ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Sleeping with one's eyes open [closed]

I've once heard a person make a reference to another person as sleeping with their eyes open. I wonder if there is another way to take this expression other than literally. Thanks.
2
votes
1answer
105 views

Word/Phrase when you've identified a grand, but sort of irrelevant, injustice/tragedy?

I was trying to tweet about some cosmic injustices and wanted to describe it better than just saying "unduly sad", or "unfair". Any suggestions? Examples of the emotional state I'm trying to ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

Single word/phase for “if they can do it, why can't I?”

Is there a single word/phrase to describe the personality attribute of "If they can do it, why can't I?" nature? I need this for grounded theory analysis of interviews for my postgraduate. The ...
1
vote
0answers
200 views

Ways of saying that “you can get A at a cost of B”

It is impossible to be perfect on everything. Sometimes if we want to do well in A, we cannot do well in B at the same time. I do know the phrase "at the cost/expense of", which can be applied to the ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

Variant of the phrase “broad brush strokes”

I'm looking for a phrase that captures the idea that one is dividing material up crudely. The context is a claim that in discussing a certain issue, we only need to make rather crude divisions (or ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to call students enrolled one year before/after me?

Suppose student A is enrolled in a university in 2015. I wonder if there are any ways for him to call students enrolled in 2014 or 2016. Specifically, I want to complete the following sentences. ...
1
vote
2answers
719 views

What's an expression for “it doesn't matter where you start so long as you end up in the same place”?

Is there an expression for "it doesn't matter where you start so long as you end up in the same place"? The specific context I wish to use this in is in education: saying that it ultimately doesn't ...
13
votes
9answers
4k views

Term for “to have a hidden purpose for being involved in something”?

The hidden purpose can be selfish or not. He or she is involved in something to ensure their purpose is fulfilled. Example : She joined our group to help us. She has no _____. He will only join us ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

A word or phrase roughly meaning “you are the cause of the problem you try to cure”

I've heard it used in a religious contexts along the lines of They invent the problem which they claim to solve. I know it's also common in marketing, where if I try to sell you a pen, I ask you ...
2
votes
2answers
452 views

It works at the mechanic's [duplicate]

In a common experience, an intermittent issue will frustrate someone for a long time, and then when s/he gets frustrated enough to spend the money and hire a professional, the symptoms of the issue ...
24
votes
16answers
6k views

An idiomatic phrase meaning that you are aware of a coming change based on minor signals you've observed over time

I feel like there's a phrase that people sometimes use in order to indicate that they have been aware of an impending change or event. The phrase draws on the metaphor of a soldier placing his ear to ...
5
votes
3answers
829 views

**The** word for the military action of shooting several targets at once

In the Maersk Alabama hijacking, the seals took three shots at once, killing all three pirates simultaneously. I was watching the reproduction and I remember the analyst naming a specific term. What ...
1
vote
2answers
551 views

How to say that “not watching a movie continuously”?

I feel awkward when I am trying to express this. Sometimes when we watch a movie on a computer, we don't watch it from the beginning to the end. In this case, is there a verb or phrase that native ...
5
votes
4answers
852 views

Idiom for expressing feeling of not willing to talk to a person who always replies in a disrespectful manner?

Is there an idiom for expressing the feeling of not willing to talk to a person who always replies in disdain or have such attitude or replies back in a disrespectful manner?
2
votes
5answers
306 views

A word for stripping someone of something hard-earned [closed]

It is like taking away the fame, wealth or influence of a celebrity. The police ____ Alan Turing. Alan Turing was unfortunately ____.
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Idioms to say If there is something needed to be done, then do it today?

My friend try to use idioms/parse to express that "If there is something has to be done, then let's do it right now, not postpone to other day." She was trying to use "One of these days is none of ...
3
votes
4answers
960 views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is showing equivocal behaviors that indicate a feigned reluctance”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that mean "someone is showing a feign reluctance to do/ have something" or "someone pretends to be less interested in something or someone than they really are." ...
47
votes
17answers
8k views

Is there an expression to indicate the strategy of wearing someone down with numerous small irritations?

I would use rope-a-dope, but it's got connotations of pretending to lose that I don't need. I'm trying to describe the behavior of someone who sends twenty detailed emails a day about various projects,...
5
votes
6answers
5k views

Good alternatives to “some of the” (best)?

Are there any good alternatives to "some of the best"? E.g. Some of the best minds, some of the best teams, some of the best companies. I need to write two sentences using the meaning "some of the ...
6
votes
4answers
558 views

Is there an English equivalent of the Portuguese saying “Seven dogs to a bone”?

Is there an English equivalent of the Portuguese saying “Seven dogs to a single bone”? Sorry for not including the detailed meaning of the expression. “Seven dogs to a single bone” is the literal ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

English equivalent to “a small fruit in an elephant's mouth”

In the Indian language of Malayalam, there's a saying "Aana vayil ambazhanga", which literally translates to: A small fruit in an elephant's mouth. It means: Having too small an amount for a ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Word Or Expression For “This is background information you should know first” [closed]

I'm trying to write something at work that's broken into sections. One sub-section is just about background information that aids in understanding the subsequent sections to follow. I could label it "...
1
vote
1answer
23k views

A word for the sentiment: “You're the most beautiful man/woman I've ever seen” (but in reality I've seen others)

It is common and flattering to tell a man/woman You're the most beautiful man/woman I've ever seen. The thing is, this is never true. It's just like calling someone a "best friend". In most cases, ...
5
votes
1answer
550 views

English equivalent for the Persian expression “To keep one's face red with slap”

In Persian we have a saying "صورت را با سیلی سرخ نگه داشتن" which literally translates to: To keep one's face red(warm) with slap It's used in a situation in which a person, if poor or ...
0
votes
1answer
306 views

How to differentiate between decade and century in phrase like “late 1600s”?

If I wanted to say something occurred ~1627-1629, I would say "late 1620s". However if I wanted to say something occurred ~1607-1609, I couldn't say "late 1600s" because that would imply ~1670-1699.
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What are some nice words to describe one's body language when surprised? [closed]

I constantly use the expressions He opened his eyes wide His jaw dropped He gasped in surprise What others words/expressions can be used? EDIT: In this case, I'm looking for surprised in a good ...
30
votes
27answers
26k views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is a habitual liar”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression for describing people who tell lies out of habit (so you cannot trust them at all). I know that these people are called "compulsive liars", but I'm not looking ...