Questions tagged [phrase-requests]

This tag is for questions seeking a phrase that fits a meaning. If you're specifically seeking only a single word, see the "single word requests" tag too.

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14 votes
13 answers
4k views

What do you call a person who tends to be assigned to a project when the project is struggling?

In my company, there are a few people that are assigned to a project when the project needs to be "saved". It can be miscommunication with a customer, which needs quick resolution. It can be ...
5 votes
6 answers
1k views

Pending tasks and goals

I am trying to communicate that I wish I could have done something. That "something" would be a ____________ for me. Since I speak Spanish as a first language, I am biased to think of the ...
0 votes
5 answers
131 views

Phrase for a useful or comforting illusion

Looking for an expression or a phrase for a comforting or useful illusion or simulacrum. Something that is widely held, yet seldom scrutinized. Something so common it defies scrutiny. Something ...
1 vote
1 answer
244 views

Is there a better word or phrase to describe a tangible and usable product?

I'm a graphic designer and I'm working on a new website. I want a category for things that you can touch, hold, and use such as booklets/books, car wrap, gift certificates, product packaging, etc. My ...
4 votes
5 answers
19k views

How to wish someone "good luck" without implying that luck is involved?

When you wish someone to succeed, the standard phrase seems to be "Good luck!" For instance, here is a definition borrowed from Merriam-Webster: good luck [idiom]: —used to say that one ...
0 votes
2 answers
207 views

declining reputation, worsening reputation

I am trying to write a two-word phrase. The second word is "reputation." The first word is a modifier; it will signal that a reputation is getting worse. "Worsening reputation" ...
-1 votes
0 answers
25 views

What is another word for scraping off all the food and the itsy bitsy pieces of food onto another plate? [closed]

What is another word for transferring all the food by scraping off all of it onto another plate or container?
3 votes
4 answers
110 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 ...
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

What's an accurate easy-to-understand way of referring to the brown outer part of a fried egg?

The outer brown part. What's a good/easy-to-understand to refer to it?
3 votes
3 answers
512 views

A request for a word similar to 'stumble in speech'

I am looking for a rather formal verb(phrase) to mean "involuntarily inserting a word from one's mother tongue in a speech made in one's foreign language because the person in question is in a very ...
9 votes
16 answers
20k views

Phrase to describe a fix that doesn't address the underlying issue?

I'm looking for a phrase to describe fixing the relatively minor problems of something with addressing a larger underlying problem. One example would be if a house had a bug infestation and someone ...
3 votes
1 answer
80 views

What is the term for belief that economic outcomes are entirely deserved?

What is the name of the ideology that posits everyone's individual financial position (and the societal distribution of economic inequality) is already entirely justified, that is, individually earned ...
0 votes
4 answers
8k views

How to describe the face one makes when feeling sorry for someone?

How to describe the face one makes - like pressing together of lips to form a straight line - when they feel sorry for a person but have no solution to offer? The kind of face that says, "sorry, mate. ...
2 votes
1 answer
48 views

What do you call someone who sets up a small-business but is not the owner?

I'm trying to find a way to communicate my role or position title in this situation. A friend of mine wanted to start a small business using their knitting skills, but they didn't know how to make a ...
0 votes
2 answers
36 views

What is the name for material being transported via machinery?

If you transport material by truck/plane/boat, it is "cargo". Is there a word that describes material that is being transported by machinery in an industrial setting, like in a pipeline / on ...
1 vote
1 answer
42 views

Does there exist a word to describe someone who points out a good thing in a bad situation in a negative way [duplicate]

I’m wanting to know if there exists a word to describe the following situation. Someone who finds a silver lining in something is generally considered a good thing. However, I am looking for a term or ...
0 votes
1 answer
95 views

What is the word to describe the sudden emotional shift from being motivated towards sorrow? [closed]

Here is the moment from a story: For the first time after several years, he laced up his shoes and stepped outside to start his run. However, the run turned to a walk as his thinking turned inward ...
1 vote
2 answers
85 views

What term would be most appropriate for a secluded passage/courtyard?

You could think of this space as landlocked by surrounding buildings, exposed to the environment vertically but having no (intended) connections to paths or streets. The only ways to enter and exit ...
1 vote
1 answer
87 views

Which type of phrase is "Let's go, Brandon"? [closed]

Is there a name for a type of phrase like "Let's go, Brandon"? For some context, NPR: In this case, the phrase isn't actually about supporting a guy named Brandon. Instead, it's a euphemism ...
0 votes
4 answers
214 views

An expression to describe a person who ensures members of a group receive less favourable treatment

Is there a word or phrase that describes when: A single person in a group receives a less favorable treatment compared to other group members. The person's solution is to make sure everyone else also ...
2 votes
2 answers
15k views

Term for Bowing at the End of a Play

I'm looking for the best term (or phrase) to describe the act of bowing to the crowd while onstage at the end of a play or performance. I came by the terms "encore" and "curtain call", but I'm not ...
2 votes
0 answers
3k views

What's a word that describes a person who reminds you of the good things they did for you?

I don't know if such a word exists in the English language. In the Bisaya language of the Visayas region in the Philippines where I belong, there is a verb that describes exactly that. I can't find ...
0 votes
4 answers
99 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 ...
6 votes
9 answers
4k views

The Term for Singing in a Very Sad Way

Imagine a mother who's lost her child recently. She's vocalizing and singing beautiful and tearjerking love songs to herself all the time, because she loves to reminisce about her lovely departed ...
4 votes
5 answers
166 views

What is a word for thinking that there is a word for any concept/idea

This question was prompted by an exchange of comments in another single word request question. Here is the exchange: -What makes people think that English has a one-word for anything they could ...
0 votes
2 answers
55 views

Describe someone/entity who acted carelessly because of success

I need an idiom, phrase, or word that describes someone/entity who acts carelessly based on success. I am trying to write a paper on the US 2008 financial crisis. Quick overview: Banks handed out ...
1 vote
2 answers
11k views

Requesting someone to perform a task without sounding pushy

In writing, I need to request that my doctor perform several tasks for me as soon as reasonably possible. I am almost completely sure they will be willing to perform all these tasks. I don't want to ...
2 votes
5 answers
10k views

What are some colloquial English phrases for 'a child acquiring its parents' characteristics or features'?

I am not sure if the title is clear enough to you, so let me briefly explain what I'm looking for. We sometimes see children who look very much like their father or mother, or even behave typically ...
1 vote
4 answers
24k views

Love in a hating way

Is there a single word (or a two-word phrase at least) that means "love in a hating way (hatefully, execrably)"? There is the term "Love–hate relationship" but it is more of a ...
4 votes
7 answers
13k views

How do you describe a young woman who, while pretty when seen from behind, is ugly when seen from the front?

Is there a term, a phrase or an idiomatic expression to describe a young woman who, while pretty when seen from behind, is ugly, if not repulsive, when seen from the front? After some searches I ...
0 votes
2 answers
75 views

"Lost challenge" clearly showing a reversal of expectations

In a scenario where the conventional thinking that when A competes with B, A would win / get the upper hand, but where last findings in date show that B has the upper hand, I'm trying to phrase this ...
2 votes
3 answers
229 views

Is there any word or phrase for “which was back then”?

The first time I worked with the Internet was about 30 years ago. I was curious enough to care about something which was back then so new and fascinating. I kind of remember that there was a word or ...
3 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is there a proverb/idiom for "To be a lion among sheep rather than a sheep among lions"

My friend said the other day: It makes perfect sense to use the strategy of being a lion among sheep rather than a sheep among lions I have researched this phrase and have found nothing, so I ...
41 votes
15 answers
13k views

Backstabs you constantly in a subtle way

What do call call when someone backstabs you constantly, subtly with you only realizing it after a fixed time because of the subtle nature and you always giving them the benefit of the doubt. The ...
0 votes
1 answer
45 views

"ruled off into squares" — What does that mean?

I don't know what the phrase means in the following context: A procedure that is guaranteed to lead to the desired output in a finite sequence of steps is called an "algorithm" or "...
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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
2k views

What's a term for "useless numbers or data"?

I'm looking for a single word or short phrase that can describe any numbers or statistics that have very little practical value, and are useful only to the extent of "hey look, a number!" Here's an ...
1 vote
1 answer
22 views

An alternative for ‘in whatever way’ in this context

The problem X can be explained in different ways. The problem X, explained in whatever way, has an implication for our situation. The bolder part is meant to mean ‘regardless of how we explain it’. I ...
1 vote
3 answers
166 views

Plain language phrase for a group whose members are not interchangeable

There is a well known part of speech called "adverbs". However, many adverbs are not grammatically interchangeable with each other. From Wikipedia: Adverbs are traditionally regarded as one ...
7 votes
3 answers
280 views

Is there a word or phrase to define several words linked by hyphens, such as in "a sit-back-and-wait-for-it attitude"

some more examples: "And she gave me that aren't-I-just-gorgeous smile." "The I-did-it-my-way approach." "A from-this-day-forward-I-have-no-son scene."
0 votes
2 answers
38 views

Word or phrase for the realisation of belonging to a social group/subculture?

I am researching the impacts of the Roaring Twenties. I feel one of its biggest impacts was impressing into Americans that they were each part of a social group or subculture, however niche. For ...
2 votes
3 answers
914 views

Is there an idiom for "it was just an example"?

Are there any idioms or succinct ways of expressing your resignation when you give an example the other person reacts with: "that's not what I meant". …but your intention was for the example to be ...
4 votes
1 answer
95 views

Term for "a solution that's just barely good enough to stifle better solutions"?

There's an expression that, "Perfect is the enemy of good". What is the opposite of that expression? I'm talking about times when "marginally adequate" is also "the enemy of ...
1 vote
3 answers
93 views

An exclamation for “this is what I was looking for”?

I am looking for an exclamation for a situation like the following: You are disappointed for what there is or you already have, and then you unexpectedly find/discover something that is so different ...
7 votes
5 answers
5k views

English equivalent to the Swedish idiom "A dear child has many names"

In Sweden we have a saying that — literally translated — corresponds to “A dear child has many names” (“Kärt barn har många namn”). The meaning is pretty straightforward: popular things can have a ...
0 votes
3 answers
160 views

Term for Laziness that Backfires [duplicate]

What is the term for when someone is lazy and it backfires and they end up doing more work than they would have if they just hadn't been lazy in the first place?
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 ...
19 votes
10 answers
7k views

Terminology for fake photograph

I think there is a good chance that a new word or phrase has been coined to mean fake photograph. Is there a single word to express it?
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

Describing a person who is smirking or whose lips are pursed

What is a way to describe a person who is smirking or whose lips are pursed? I'm looking for a simple phrase or word that describes a series of conflicting and contradicting emotions being displayed ...

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