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Questions tagged [idiom-requests]

This tag is for questions seeking an idiom that fits a certain meaning. If you are asking more generally about a suitable phrase to use in a particular context, see the "phrase-request" tag. If you are seeking only a single word, see the "single-word-requests" tag.

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Person who says they want to help, but doesn't want to do it when asked [duplicate]

I'm looking for a word that means a person who says that they're here to help, but when the help is asked for they don't really want to do it
Che Robinson's user avatar
11 votes
8 answers
2k views

A phrase that means you are indifferent towards the things you are familiar with?

Locals may not even be as well-travelled in their own country as a tourist who is only there for a fraction of the time. Maybe they see the same tourist attractions from a distance time and time again,...
minseong's user avatar
  • 3,526
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

Phrase or Idiom [duplicate]

What is the phrase or Idiom, if any, that describes two persons who don't move forward because they step from side to side to allow the other to pass as a mark of courtesy?
Ravindra's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
674 views

English equivalent of the Russian idiom "You are confusing sour with yellow"

There is an idiomatic expression in my native language: "You are confusing sour with yellow", which means something like that though lemons are sour and yellow, not every yellow thing is ...
jsx97's user avatar
  • 301
2 votes
6 answers
263 views

What do you call it when someone's really pushing it?

In Iraqi Arabic, when someone is bothering you or hassling you continuously and you reach that level where you can't handle it (like when they begin insulting you), you literally say to them (in ...
E.Groeg's user avatar
  • 1,614
0 votes
2 answers
86 views

someone much too enthusiastic about something that doesn't concern them

A group of people is too interested, enthusiastic, and excited about a basketball tournament taking place in Armenia when they live in the farthest country from Armenia in the world—New Zealand. They ...
user366312's user avatar
15 votes
13 answers
3k views

What idiom could describe bureaucratic inefficiency?

To begin with, the bureaucratic process was extremely time-consuming, and when I inquired about the status of my documents, they gave me the runaround. After incessantly contacting them regarding my ...
hh_sonja's user avatar
  • 301
12 votes
7 answers
4k views

People who frequently travel in planes are called…?

What do you call people who travel in a plane? I know "passenger" is appropriate but that is also true for travelling in taxis, trains, ships, and buses. Also, a passenger suggests someone ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.6k
1 vote
1 answer
107 views

The expression relating to bugs biting each other, causing them to move faster in a swarm

This may extend beyond the scope of this stack exchange. In some notes I am writing for a class, I identify that capitalism always demands growth since everyone is always competing to outdo one other. ...
BigRigz's user avatar
  • 443
0 votes
3 answers
102 views

Idiom to describe that a house has been there for all the history of a family or person

I've been living in the same house ever since my mama birthed me there. From preschool up through high school, you can say _____ I'm pretty sure I've read before poetic phrases along the lines of &...
minseong's user avatar
  • 3,526
0 votes
2 answers
89 views

To gain ground: Synonym

What is the right synonym to describe that a scientific field gained ground? My ideas: The field progressed/made progress The field evolved rapidly The field experienced an upswing Do these convey ...
Sylvia's user avatar
  • 143
0 votes
3 answers
115 views

Idiom/phrase for; something so explosively life changing/profound that it leaves you speechless [duplicate]

I found a few that came kind of close but I'm looking for something tht essentially combines the definitions of Epochal Momentum, Red/Scarlett Letter, & Magnum Opus. But it has a lot more of a ...
user499481's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
101 views

What is the origin of "take one's medicine"? [closed]

I would really like to know where the idiom "take one's medicine" comes from. At first l thought it was another version of taste of their own medicine, but I found that these two have ...
Khayat's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
53 views

looking for a correct/ idiomatic phrase

Context: A recent meeting between Chinese and American Foreign affairs bosses in Munich. Original: 双方就开展人文交流,便利人员往来交换了意见。王毅敦促美方停止无端滋扰盘查中国公民,多做有利于增进两国人民相互了解的事情,并送美方一句古话:“勿以恶小而为之,勿以善小而不为。 During their ...
LetterQuest's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
132 views

Idiom for model organism / prototypical example / "MNIST of X"

I'm looking for idioms or phrases conveying something similar to one of the following: a toy example on which practitioners of X usually test a new method first, as it's expected that if a method ...
Daniel Paleka's user avatar
11 votes
22 answers
4k views

Idiom meaning to give a stern lecture

I'm looking for an idiom that means something like "to give someone a brutal talking to": For example: After Jim failed the first two exams, Prof. X gave Jim ____, which set Jim straight.
Jackson's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
2 answers
105 views

How do you describe someone who pretends to know the answer to their question after it's been answered?

I have a coworker who constantly asks questions, obvious ones and sometimes not so obvious, and always pretends to have known the answer but it accidentally slipped their mind. example Coworker: How ...
user496959's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
99 views

What is a word/ expression for a cut down said with a grin?

When someone is grinning at you while cutting you down. A snide comment is the best I have found. Or cheshire cat grin. There has to be a better word for this common occurrence.
ParisMarina's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
64 views

word or phrase to describe wanting to ask how someone is coping with something difficult but not asking due to respect?

Is there a word or phrase to describe the longing to know how someone is coping with something hard - illness, death etc - but not wanting to pry due to the painful nature of the person who is going ...
erika w's user avatar
  • 11
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Idiomatic expression for "putting off a task until a disaster strikes" [duplicate]

In Russian language there is a proverb "Пока гром не грянет, мужик не перекрестится". Literal translation would be something like this: the peasant will not cross himself before it begins to ...
Vladimir Baranov's user avatar
1 vote
6 answers
565 views

A man of many talents/ the man of many talents

Can I use the article the with the idiom “man of many talents” if I want to emphasise that it refers to just a specific person and not speaking generally? For instance: “You’re the man of many talents”...
Tiziano De Masi's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
363 views

What do you call a person who can "read a room" and adapt socially by doing so?

What word or words could I use to describe being able to read a room and adapt to that social setting by doing so? I have an interview and I'm trying to list strengths. I work in medical offices ...
Erin Johnson's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
112 views

To make people get used to and accept the bad by showing them the worse

I am searching for an idiomatic expression for making people accept and get used to what they normally wouldn't by showing or making them experience a worse one. Edit; when authority wants to increase ...
Ghazwan Al Ahmed's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
215 views

More common terms for "tall poppy syndrome"

I came across this New York Times article: Ms. Hathaway could simply be a victim of what the British call “tall poppy syndrome” — the bloom that pokes above the others is the first to get cut. I ...
Qiulang 邱朗's user avatar
18 votes
13 answers
4k views

Idiom for “pretending to like someone when you actually hate them”

I’m trying to translate a Vietnamese proverb into English, and I couldn’t find an idiom or proverb in English that provides an exact match with my Vietnamese one. The Vietnamese one goes as follows: “...
Lam Luu's user avatar
  • 181
-3 votes
1 answer
211 views

Compound words/phrases that still make sense when their order is swapped [closed]

Thinking of compound words or phrases where the order of the words can be swapped around and still make sense: Examples: Lighthouse - House Light Birdhouse - House BirdRacetrack - Track Race So far ...
Bryan's user avatar
  • 3
1 vote
5 answers
2k views

Idiom for unexpected solution?

Is there an idiom for an unexpected solution? For more specificity, I want to write about how if you're sincere enough, sometimes you can find a solution in unexpected places.
twilightstar's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
133 views

Idiomatic expressions for falsity pt. 3: the guesser falsity - Translation of Spanish: ‘mandar fruta’

Introduction According to correspondence theory, if you say or think something that does not correspond to reality then you have said something that is false. While this is an obvious concept learned ...
tac's user avatar
  • 444
0 votes
2 answers
159 views

Idiomatic expressions for falsity pt. 2: the sophist falsity - Translation of Spanish: ‘versear’ or ‘chamuyar’

Introduction According to correspondence theory, if you say or think something that does not correspond to reality then you have said something that is false. While this is an obvious concept learned ...
tac's user avatar
  • 444
1 vote
4 answers
218 views

Idiomatic expressions for falsity: the misconception falsity - Translation of Spanish: ‘la re flasheé’

Introduction According to correspondence theory, if you say or think something that does not correspond to reality then you have said something that is false. While this is an obvious concept learned ...
tac's user avatar
  • 444
0 votes
4 answers
260 views

How to positively say "one bad apple ruins every other good apple"?

There is an unhappy colleague in our company and I want to talk about this issue in my next meeting. I want to mean "A bad apple ruins good apples" but this sounds so negative. I want to ...
Team B.I's user avatar
  • 123
0 votes
4 answers
498 views

What is the idiom for holding onto something that is hindering you?

It’s a kind of self sabotage but specific to coveting something. Sort of Sisyphean, but also not. Carrying a burden. Imagine holding a sack of potatoes while trying to escape a dangerous situation but ...
Paige's user avatar
  • 1
-2 votes
4 answers
291 views

Is there a word or expression that describes a situation where a person repetitively "comes and goes"?

In Levantine Arabic, the expression "siri miri" (سِرِّي مِرِّي) is used for someone who continually and incessantly comes and goes, or passes by, such as like near your house or just about ...
E.Groeg's user avatar
  • 1,614
10 votes
15 answers
2k views

Idiomatic word/expression for someone ‘who has no feeling for the game’ - Translation of Spanish ‘pechofrío’

I'm having trouble translating the expression pechofrío (pecho frío, ‘cold chest’) from Spanish—specially Argentinian Spanish, I don't know if it's used in other countries. It means: s. masc. Persona ...
tac's user avatar
  • 444
0 votes
8 answers
2k views

What's a proverb or idiom that describes the opposite of "the gift that keeps on giving"? [closed]

I'm looking for an idiom that describes something (or someone) that keeps on harming or taking from others, as opposed to giving or benefiting them. Or something along those lines. Any input is ...
jonnyboi04's user avatar
20 votes
8 answers
3k views

Idiom for when two people agree on an idea for very contrasting reasons

What are some idioms that would describe a scenario where two people agree on an idea- but for very contrasting reasons? Scenario 1: Two classmates support the demolition of an abandoned factory: ...
Cody's user avatar
  • 303
6 votes
10 answers
3k views

Idiom for Spanish ‘no escupas para arriba’ (i.e., ‘be careful with the harm you do, it could come back at you’)

In Spanish, there's the expression ¡no escupas para arriba! (literally ‘don't spit upwards!’), which is used for example in counter-reprimanding or counter-criticizing purposes—although there are many ...
tac's user avatar
  • 444
14 votes
15 answers
3k views

What is a term (or idiom) for someone who enters and exits without a request or order?

In Mesopotamian Arabic, the the idiom "khirri mirri" (خِرِّي مِرِّي) is used for those who haphazardly enter and exit a building like they own the place - Basically "in and out" in ...
E.Groeg's user avatar
  • 1,614
0 votes
2 answers
131 views

English equivalent of the Argentinian idiom "not a single puppet was left with its head on"

I'm looking for an English idiom related to this one, pretty odd, heard in Argentina: "Not a single puppet is left with its head on.", or maybe "To chop off every puppet's head." (...
Seba fff's user avatar
  • 322
14 votes
19 answers
3k views

Idiom for frustrating someone else's plans by taking what the other person wanted in the first place

There's an idiom in Argentina translated roughly as "to sleep someone" (dormir a alguien), which is used when someone frustrates the plans of someone else by taking what the other person ...
Seba fff's user avatar
  • 322
1 vote
4 answers
233 views

What's the term for someone misunderstanding something someone else said so they can argue about the misunderstood version?

Saw this on reddit: A: I'm a gun owner and I think any sort of gun sticker on a vehicle is cringe. -> B: Ditto any sort of camo, esp. grey/urban camo prints, sure go ahead and tell the world you're ...
jcollum's user avatar
  • 824
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Idiom for being watched after your bad actions

There's an idiom in Argentina translated as "To be in the chapel". It means that you'll be closely watched for a period of time to be sure you won't repeat errors, bad actions or behaviors ...
Seba fff's user avatar
  • 322
0 votes
1 answer
80 views

What is the idiom that is often said to mean 'don't be meek'?

There is an idiom that says basically, "Better to go out in a blaze, than burn out like candle." I'm probably totally off, but it's something like that. The point of the cliche is not to ...
Evan Carroll's user avatar
  • 1,408
3 votes
12 answers
1k views

Indispensable, Essential, "Tool of the trade", "Staple item"

I am looking for a term to use as the name of a software project that I am working on. The project is a software tool, and this tool aims to be useful in virtually all software, so I am looking for a ...
Mike Nakis's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
221 views

Converse phrase for "in writing" [closed]

Is there an converse phrase to "in writing", in the sense of completing a task or a calculation in-writing? This should have the sense of "in explicit thought, but not in physical ...
einpoklum's user avatar
  • 3,474
4 votes
5 answers
383 views

What's a phrase that describes a person who keeps making attempts doomed to fail because they don't want their previous work to have been for nothing?

What's a phrase that describes a person who keeps making repeated attempts that they know are doomed to fail because they don't want all of their previous effort to have been for nothing? They feel ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 43
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Synonymous phrase/idiom for "kangaroo court" that communicates a predetermined verdict

I am looking to replace the idiom "kangaroo court" in the following sentence: Class followed its usual script. The professor took center stage, exposing the deep racism, sexism, colonialism ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 151
6 votes
8 answers
4k views

Idiom to describe an insensitive comment

I saw an idiom used on Twitter a while back, but I don't remember what it was. It was used in the context of someone making an unfunny joke about a sensitive topic such as Auschwitz. It was used like ...
290chan's user avatar
  • 79
-1 votes
2 answers
122 views

Word(s) meaning how "high/low resolution", "nested", "shallow/deep" or "derived" ideas/concepts are

I'm looking for a word or pair of words that refer to whether an idea is "high or low resolution" or high and low levels of analysis. I think a few examples are the best way to convey what I'...
sat0ri's user avatar
  • 510
0 votes
2 answers
102 views

Word/term/saying that encapsulates the notion of something being ethically convenient

Lately I've encountered a few situations in discussions where I feel like there may be a word that is either more succinct and/or perhaps more wry than just 'ethically convenient'. An example sentence ...
Lamar Latrell's user avatar

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