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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Describe an event that will be held at a time other than its standard one

How to describe an event that is usually held in a specific time-frame but this time and based on the extraordinary conditions should be held at another time? Specifically, FIFA World Cup usually held ...
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5 votes
9 answers
1k views

What is an expression you can use for when you're getting close to the end of a time-sensitive project?

I want to say something like, I am getting down to the chopping block but that means more like, I am deciding who to keep and who not to, it conveys being harshly decisive. That's not quite the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
26 views

Synonyms to "doesn't follow" [closed]

What are other ways to say that someone doesn't follow something, for instance a story that was told?
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0 votes
0 answers
31 views

Name for purposefully bad gifts [duplicate]

Is there a name or phrase for a purposefully bad/evil gift? I can think of white elephant or gag gifts but I don't think either of these quite work. For example, you purposely purchased a CD of an ...
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5 votes
6 answers
1k views

Phrase / idiom for a rising after a temporary comedown

How can one idiomatically or by using a phrase refer to a situation of something rising (e.g. a disease, pandemic, recession) after a temporary comedown?
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-1 votes
1 answer
62 views

Idiom for spending too much time on a single topic? [duplicate]

Is there an idiom (or just an adjective) for spending too much time on a topic? What about saying the same thing over and over again in different ways? Example: "We don't need to keep talking ...
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0 votes
1 answer
46 views

Idiom for making a task unnecessarily complicated [duplicate]

Are there any idioms for making something less easy to understand, or for unnecessarily complicating a straightforward task? My favorites for this scenario: Don't muddy the waters... Let's not boil ...
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  • 101
0 votes
3 answers
57 views

Is there any phrase, expression, or idiom for ‘is not any better’ or ‘is not very much better’?

Due to the authoritarian system, political development in this country is out of the question. Cultural development ————— . I want a phrase for the blank to mean ‘is not any better’ or ‘is not very ...
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  • 2,881
0 votes
4 answers
71 views

What's a good way to say "good preparation improves overall productivity in a long run"?

In Chinese, there is a idiom that can be roughly translated to: Sharpening hatchets is not a waste of time for wood chopping Is there a similar saying in English? If not, how would you express this ...
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0 votes
1 answer
76 views

Alternative idiom for 'get your foot out of your mouth'?

So... "take your foot out of your mouth" is an interesting idiom. It's an admonishment (both a scolding and a recommendation) for when someone says something unintentionally insensitive; ...
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  • 562
-1 votes
1 answer
94 views

Whats the idiom for "you do not discuss your problem with the source of it"?

I am forgetting the idiom thats essentially means that you shouldn't look for solutions from a person who is the cause of your problems. Thanks
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  • 326
1 vote
1 answer
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What will the the idiom or phrase for to cross the river without making feet wet?

Give me a phrase or idiom for the following scenario: A person wants to achieve something but doesn't want to get involved in nasty things. Note: I want a phrase/idiom for the entire scenario, not ...
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0 votes
3 answers
59 views

What is a phrase for “abruptly changing the topic or action?”

There is only one example I can think of, but I am looking for an alternative. Scene is a character deciding that a discussion isn’t going towards the conclusion he is looking for, so he suddenly ...
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3 votes
3 answers
286 views

Idiom for a Scrooge-like person that involved nickel?

I remember my friend used an idiom for a Scrooge-like person that involved the word "nickel" but I can neither recall it nor I can find it anywhere. My wild guess was "nickel picker&...
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0 votes
0 answers
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What is the appropriate word/phrase/idiom to describe this situation?

I got on the bus and stood beside a white lady. She seemed to be uncomfortable. She was busy securing her belongings and [stood like a coiled centipede] as if she was scared I would snatch away her ...
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29 votes
10 answers
5k views

What is the nearest British English equivalent to 'Dumpster Fire'?

Dumpster Fire is an informal term in the US for a chaotic or disastrously mishandled situation. I like it because of the way the term amplifies the meaning: the dumpster is not only full of ...
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0 votes
1 answer
36 views

Expression for a enjoyable moment being taken away before it could be celebrated [duplicate]

For example, being slapped with an unforeseen cost of selling an item making the money earned less enjoyable. An expression for the unexpected cost raining on my parade, or for being too optimistic ...
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0 votes
4 answers
59 views

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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  • 5,266
1 vote
4 answers
123 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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  • 2,881
0 votes
1 answer
40 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
180 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
115 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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  • 121
0 votes
2 answers
82 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 votes
0 answers
35 views

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
547 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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  • 2,881
1 vote
1 answer
34 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
70 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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  • 85
1 vote
2 answers
39 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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  • 85
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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  • 85
1 vote
3 answers
105 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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  • 559
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
117 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
47 views

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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  • 85
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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  • 192
0 votes
3 answers
83 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
103 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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  • 1,458
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
106 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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  • 192
1 vote
3 answers
48 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
119 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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  • 561
0 votes
3 answers
56 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
580 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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  • 123
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
6k 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
66 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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  • 1,279
3 votes
2 answers
146 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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  • 367
0 votes
1 answer
43 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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