Questions tagged [idiom-requests]

This tag is for questions seeking an idiom that fits a meaning. If you're also seeking a phrase, see the "phrase-requests" tag too.

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Idioms indicating symbiosis rather than conflict

In order to explain a situation in which it's better to compromise and set differences aside, I'm looking for an idiom. In fact, I want to say, despite the huge and critical differences and problems (...
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-2 votes
0 answers
18 views

Expressions for going the relatively long route to complete a small task [closed]

For example getting rid of a pothole by resurfacing the entire road.
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3 votes
4 answers
111 views

What's the English version for the Spanish expression "de perdidos al rio"? [closed]

The expression "de perdidos al rio" is kind of used to refer to the desperate measures one needs to take when there are no more options to solve a situation or something Is there an English ...
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0 votes
4 answers
100 views

Is there a phrase or idiom for a huge task/work/job?

To repair all these houses is (really) a ______. I want a phrase/idiom/expression for the blank above which means a huge task, or huge work. I want the idiom/phrase/expression to mean a task that is ...
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0 votes
1 answer
35 views

What's the idiom for doing something in vain [closed]

I'm looking for an idiom to describe a task where you put in a lot of effort but in vain.
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1 vote
6 answers
133 views

Alternative phrase for "crack the whip"

"Crack the whip" as an idiom to encourage hard work in supervisees is a problematic phrase with racist and oppressive overtones. As others have noted, its origin is from driving horses, but ...
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2 votes
3 answers
108 views

Idiomatic way to say believing you know something but really don't

I'm looking for an idiomatic way to describe a situation where someone is overconfident, e.g. they believe they have good knowledge of something but actually they don't. Background: I am looking for a ...
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0 votes
2 answers
69 views

Friendlier alternative to 'dogpile'

In a programming context, I want to use the term 'dogpile' like 'Let's all dogpile on this latest change, document what bugs exists and fix them'. ie. A group effort of everyone focusing on one ...
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0 answers
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Expression, phrase, or idiom that describes lazy team members/coworkers who work only on the least important and demanding tasks [duplicate]

I'm looking for a expression, idiom, or even proverb that could be used to describe situations like In a work environment where it becomes apparent that coworkers set aside duties that require ...
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2 votes
4 answers
538 views

Is there an expression for ‘bad news’ when meant literally for negative news we get from the media?

We are checking bad news every day. Should we constantly be informed about all that _______ ? I need an idiom or expression for a context like the above.
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  • 2,424
1 vote
1 answer
30 views

looking for idioms that mean to look at something old in a new way [duplicate]

Need an idiom that connotes the idea of seeing something in a way you've never seen it before. Something along the lines of "shining a new light on an old [something]" or "seeing an old ...
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3 votes
2 answers
69 views

Are there any idioms/expressions that communicate the idea of a sort of circular journey, as in this T.S. Eliot quote?

T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding contains the following lines: We must not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we began And to know the place for the first time....
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1 vote
2 answers
37 views

need a short idiom/phrase or word for two people/things that are complete opposites

I am trying to describe two people with opposite personalites and the sentence is structured so that I need the idiom/phrase to act like an adjective. The sentence is "... events of the summer ...
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0 votes
1 answer
44 views

need an idiom or phrase that means that the same event resulted (or results) in contrasting outcomes for 2 different inividuals

The sentence, as it now stands, is: "The bizarre events and offbeat personalities of an acid-fueled summer push two high school lifeguards in opposite directions." The part in italics is the ...
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1 vote
3 answers
102 views

Looking for idiom or phrase similar to "for dummies" [duplicate]

I'm looking for a short commonly used phrase with meaning "very simple, straightforward, without unnecessary details, with basic terminology" in context of explanation of some idea or ...
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1 vote
2 answers
52 views

Taking no action is easier than taking some action

I can choose between two options, A and B, that are about equally beneficial. However, B requires me to take some action, while A will happen by itself if I don't take any action. Therefore, in my ...
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0 votes
3 answers
114 views

need an idiom or phrase that means "you're up early"

I am writing a screenplay and one of the characters picks up the phone and says "you're up early" but I need something to replace it. It doesn't have to be a real idiom or commonly used ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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I need an idiom that means "be cool"/relax [closed]

I just need something that connotes calming down from an exaggerated state. The next line afterwards is "I am cool" so I don't want the preceding line to be "be cool" but I want to ...
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0 votes
3 answers
62 views

I need a word whose meaning is somewhere on the spectrum between 'too scared' and 'too dumb'. Or a phrase/idiom

The sentence (from a screenplay) writes: "Bart, we’re literally here buying you drugs cus you’re not able to buy your own high" I want to replace the words "not able" with ...
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0 votes
0 answers
38 views

Word or phrase (M-W sense) for power fantasy

What's a word or longer phrase that can be used to talk about living out a fantasy of power? Getting high on power? "Power trip" comes to my mind but I think there's another one Do you ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the English equivalent to the proverb "Somebody finds his soup not thick enough, and somebody finds his pearls too small"

What's the equivalent to the Russian proverb "Somebody finds his soup not thick enough, and somebody finds his pearls too small"("Кому суп не густ, кому жемчуг мелок")? It means a ...
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0 votes
3 answers
78 views

English equivalent for the Chinese idiom 执迷不悟, to obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way [duplicate]

This means something along the lines of: To obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way. This could be translated as just being stubborn but I don't think that's as poetic. Is there a ...
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0 votes
4 answers
97 views

Idiom for a person who gets involved in a situation that is completely irrelevant to them?

I am looking for an idiom which can be used in the following scenarios: To refer to a person who is involved in a discussion that does not concern him/her To refer to a person who goes somewhere they ...
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5 votes
4 answers
1k views

What is the idiom related to the word "grace"?

I am searching for a good idiom for the following situation. Consider international politics. There are two poles at this moment:(1) the Western pole; (2) the Non-western pole. Every country is one ...
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2 votes
0 answers
92 views

What is the equivalent of the Russian "Masha-rasteryasha" (Masha who loses things)?

Is there any equivalent for the Russian expression "Маша-растеряша" ("Masha-rasteryasha") in English? Its word-for-word translation is "Masha (a girl's name) who always loses ...
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1 vote
3 answers
46 views

Is there a term for an experience that causes someone to change their beliefs? [duplicate]

I'm wondering if there is a term for an experience or event that causes someone to develop new beliefs or change existing beliefs. Some examples: After a person has negative or positive experiences ...
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1 vote
6 answers
118 views

Idiom for a lengthy argument which obscures the main points

Consider the following related cases: (1) Sometimes one encounters a lengthy academic article (with, say, 60 pages) with so many (possibly nested) structural parts and details that one cannot easily ...
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0 votes
3 answers
50 views

What is a word/phrase that describes someone condemning another person for something that they also do, without realizing their hypocrisy?

I'm thinking of a phrase that describes someone with a holier-than-thou attitude while being unaware (or not addressing) that they are, in fact, no better. For example, a person who vapes criticizing ...
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2 votes
2 answers
578 views

Idiom about not being useful

I am trying to remember an idiom I have heard before but can't remember. It goes something like: They couldn't figure out how to [insert thing here] if they flipped it over to read the instructions. ...
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0 votes
0 answers
55 views

A phrase (or idiom) to show that something holds no value to you [duplicate]

I'm currently translating a novel on my own, and I came across a sentence that seems rather strange in English if I were to translate it word for word. A man says that something is "as important ...
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18 votes
16 answers
5k views

What is a word or phrase that describes something that looks grand from the outside but in actuality, it is very bad on the inside?

I'm looking for a word/idiom/phrase that describes a situation where the front side has been held up for a show/event to function but the back stage that is holding it is a complete chaos/mess and is ...
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3 votes
2 answers
65 views

English equivalent for the Aramaic idiom "eyes so jealous they cannot carry"

That isn't a literal translation, but it's essentially similar. When someone is jealous of you or your success and are resentful about it, in response we say "their eyes cannot carry"; Which ...
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3 votes
2 answers
120 views

English equivalent for the Chinese idiom "to pass off fish eyes for pearls"

Are there any (general) English equivalent for the Chinese idiom 鱼目混珠 (to pass off fish eyes for pearls) which basically means to pretend something fake is real? IE: To try and pretend to be someone ...
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19 votes
9 answers
4k views

What is the English idiomatic equivalent to the Russian “бряцать регалиями” (to “rattle one’s medals”)?

The expression contains two words: бряцать – to rattle регалиями – stems from regalia, but more like medals here The figurative meaning is to show off one’s life experience. I.e., in an argument, ...
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0 votes
1 answer
35 views

Word for arguing X is a problem, while simultaneously causing X

It feels like there should be a word to describe, for example, politicians who proclaim government doesn’t work, then act to ensure that’s true. I know there’s a political read in this example, that’s ...
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0 votes
3 answers
82 views

What is the idiom or phrase for a person who is always busy with various tasks without any benefit/profit?

Suppose, a person executes millions of dollars of government-funded research projects. He is always abnormally busy, and his daily routine is always full to the brim. However, he does these only to ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
69 views

Need a word or idiom or ecological term that describes vicious competition between humans or animals. Something like "reservoir dogs"

I need a phrase that describes an environmental condition or species' behavior that results in struggle for survival amongst groups or individuals. Or just a good idiom for competition. Basically just ...
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0 votes
2 answers
84 views

A girl “all home and church”

I am looking for an a English expression that conveys the idea of the Italian one “tutta casa e chiesa”, literally “all home and church”. The saying is used to describe a girl who prefers to stay at ...
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0 votes
0 answers
27 views

What is an idiom for an expert who confidently gives bad/questionable advice in an unrelated field? [duplicate]

I vaguely remember an idiom that I can't quite grasp about a highly distinguished painter offering unsolicited "expert" advice to another profession even though they are in no way qualified ...
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1 vote
3 answers
191 views

Word for seeing both sides of an argument, part 2

As I have read the dialogue for this question posed by Henrik Erlandsson, and did not see a word that encompassed his desired search, though many tried, I wish to ask again, since it has been 10 years ...
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0 votes
3 answers
82 views

Is there a word for someone who sells false hope to calm nerves?

Rainmaking is a superstitious belief that performing a dance will make rain come. I guess it's somewhat analogous to the term snake oil salesman but, whereas snake oil salesman sell their bill of ...
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0 votes
0 answers
73 views

I am happy for and slightly envious of someone who is the same place I used to be in because I was unhappy when I was there

I'm a trans woman... but I met a guy who is a lot like how I was. This person is who I tried to be while identifying as a male. He simply is that way and perfectly happy the way he is. When I was ...
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14 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is there any idiom for something that is typical of England or of English people?

There is this idiom that says "x is as American as apple pie", which means it is very or typically American. I wonder if there is any similar idiom for something that is typical of England ...
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5 votes
6 answers
211 views

To chop a dog's tail bit by bit

There is a tale about a kind but not wise man who was chopping his dog's tail piece by piece to ease the dog's pain. The moral of this tale is that half-measures will cost more than a single decisive ...
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2 votes
2 answers
144 views

Which saying means to sell a part as the whole?

I'm looking for an English (or foreign saying often used in English) which mean that it is made to believe that part of a thing can achieve what the whole thing only can achieve. Examples : To sell a ...
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28 votes
13 answers
7k views

Is there any idiom meaning "do as you wish, but I warned you"?

Is there any idiom that means "do as you wish, but I warned you, so don't complain about consequences"?
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6 votes
5 answers
621 views

Word or phrase which means purposely playing below your skill level?

I am looking for an idiom or expression which can be used to describe the action of someone deliberately playing below their skill level. For example, a pool or billiards expert missing a few shots on ...
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1 vote
2 answers
151 views

Non-negative idiom for someone arriving the moment you were talking about them?

In several languages, there is a positive idiom or expression which is uttered when someone coincidentally walks in while people were talking about him/her. In some cultures, it is considered to be a ...
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  • 1,438
30 votes
25 answers
7k views

Is there an English idiom for when you must commit to a course of action even if it turns out to be the wrong one?

Kind of like a "might as well go for it" kind of thing, in my language there are idioms that roughly translate to "you must finish everything on your plate, even if it's poison" or ...
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1 vote
3 answers
162 views

Which idiom corresponds to the Hungarian expression translated 'as if they have agreed ahead of time – although we know that they didn't'?

The Hungarian phrase 'mintha összebeszéltek volna' means 'as if they have agreed ahead of time – although we know that they didn't". How would this appear in English? Edit: example. Imagine four ...
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