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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3
votes
2answers
5k views

Is there a term denoting the writing of words using numbers instead of letters?

Sometimes, more in some languages than in others, a word is spelled using one or more numbers instead of letters. Is there a term for this? The only example I can think of in English is se7en (seven)....
2
votes
2answers
10k views

Idiom to describe something that has little to no effect?

I'm looking for an idiom to describe something that has a negligible effect. The only similar question I found here was: An idiom meaning someone's doing something useless and has no result at ...
51
votes
9answers
576k views

Polite alternatives to “as soon as possible”

I’ve found myself writing the phrase “as soon as possible” just too often. Sometimes I wonder if it sounds a little rude. How can I convey the same meaning in a more polite way but without losing ...
59
votes
12answers
97k views

What is the term for when you become more aware of something?

For example, when you buy a car, you start becoming more aware of cars with a similar make and model. The number of that type of car hasn't increased, but your awareness of it has. Similarly, when ...
42
votes
15answers
8k views

Is there a word for happiness made possible by a tragic situation?

I frequently find myself needing a word to express happiness that acknowledges a tragic or unfortunate circumstance underpinning that happiness. Preferably the word could have both adjective and verb ...
65
votes
22answers
20k views

Is there an idiom or typical expression for an unfunny joke? [closed]

Could you tell me some suitable idioms to express this situation: A guy told you a joke, but it's not funny at all. In Japanese, we say "He slipped" or "His joke was so cold that the air got ...
23
votes
13answers
7k views

request: bragging & boasting but all made up of lies

This is a single word, idiom, phrase, expression request - so basically I'll take anything that fits the bill. Basically I'm trying to translate the Chinese word 吹牛 - which dictionaries will tell you ...
9
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9answers
335k views

Other ways to say “I'm rooting for you?”

What are other ways one can say that have the same meaning as, "I'm rooting for you?"
18
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6answers
9k views

Are there pangrams shorter than ‘the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog’? [closed]

Do you know pangrams shorter than the traditional ‘the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog’ ?
14
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5answers
21k views

Other expressions for “to be the devil's advocate”?

Is there another way or expression to say: He is the devil's advocate I don't quite like this expression, and I don't know if it is a good idea to use it in a religious context.
12
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11answers
62k views

Word meaning crying, but not crying?

You know when you see something touching and moving and you feel like tears are about to come out of your eyes, yet you're able to barely control it; how do you describe this feeling or state? i.e. I ...
11
votes
9answers
25k views

How to describe a guy who is popular with girls?

Perhaps I should make it clear: - He naturally attracts girls. - He doesn't chase girls and have no intention for any relationship. - You just see him often together with girls.
8
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12answers
9k views

A verb meaning “Answering question in a way that doesn't answer it” [duplicate]

Take an example: Me : Where can I find the best pizza in the city? Friend:1000s of people are dying of hunger and all you care about best pizza. In this case he does reply to my question but it ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Idiom for explaining something to someone who clearly knows the topic (probably better than you) [duplicate]

I am looking for an idiom/phrase which would mean that someone is trying to explain something to someone who obviously knows how it's done. It would be like a maths student trying to teach/explain to ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

After seeing how misinformed an article is in a newspaper, you flip the page and continue reading as if the rest can be trusted. What is this called?

I vividly remember reading a Wikipedia article about a named law (e.g. "Betteridge's law of headlines"). It goes something like this: "You read an article about a topic you're very familiar with, and ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Was “the mother of all” a common expression before Saddam Hussein used it?

The popular idiomatic expression the mother of all (something) means: an extreme example of something. Donny's car crash was the mother of all crashes. Hundreds will travel to Stonehenge, the ...
5
votes
6answers
15k views

Short, Politically Correct word for Native Americans [closed]

No more than four syllables, more PC than Indians. EDIT: I arbitrarily chose four syllables because any more seemed like a mouthful. I like to be PC and not have to stumble over 6+ syllables.
3
votes
6answers
79k views

What is a polite substitute for badass (used as a noun)? [closed]

Badass and BAMF are both modern words with approximately the same meaning: "Someone who is awesome to an extreme level, thereby leveraging unquestionable authority." Is there another noun or title ...
3
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
5
votes
7answers
7k views

A better word for 'hot' (spicy)?

I never know how to order food correctly but succinctly the first time. :( Basically: I can't eat hot stuff (i.e. most pepper, similar spices, ...). On the one hand, I don't want to say "Please don'...
4
votes
4answers
17k views

Word/phrase for a feature that could be both good and bad for something

Take this scenario: a tool has a specific feature that could be regarded as an invaluable benefit for. However, this feature, if used in opposite direction may be counterproductive. In other words, ...
3
votes
6answers
6k views

What is gender neutral for fraternity/sorority?

Is there a gender neutral form for "fraternity/sorority"? How about "brotherhood/sisterhood"? Example: As in "If mathematicians were to form a fraternity of scholars, as in yet another alpha beta ...
2
votes
1answer
852 views

Is there a term for coining a phrase for a word that already exists?

Usually a new term emerges and it becomes necessary to add a qualification to an old word for disambiguation. examples: "mono sound" versus "stereo sound" "analog watch" versus "digital ...
38
votes
14answers
7k views

What can be used as formal euphemism of “hack”?

I'm writing a technical document, and I need to convey the fact that we had to find a non-optimal, non-orthodox solution that was adopted as the best available alternative (a hack) to solve an ...
66
votes
4answers
8k views

Is there a term for the type of misleading joke comedians such as Stephen Colbert often use?

The Late Show host, Stephen Colbert (an American talk show host, don't mind that, just think of him as some random guy you don't have to care about) quite often uses a type of joke whereby he ...
61
votes
9answers
9k views

What do you call a minor flaw in a work that makes you realize how perfect/flawless it is otherwise?

For example, I was listening to an audio book the other day and the author mispronounced a word which got the audience laughing. Until that point, I didn't even know that there was an audience and ...
30
votes
21answers
20k views

What's a common phrase that means “To put it simply though not 100% correctly”?

Like when you want to say that you'll tell a short version of something which would alter the accuracy of the original version. I was thinking of "In a nutshell" and "To make a long story short", but ...
37
votes
19answers
11k views

Word for dismissing someone's opinions as racist, liberal, etc, instead of debating back

I'm looking for either a single word or phrase that would describe either someone or the action of dismissing someone's opinions as something "socially unpopular", without giving any reasoning why, ...
33
votes
15answers
30k views

What would you call a person who is self-righteous, brags about her/his moral values and is imposing when it comes to her/his ideas?

I want to describe, in a phrase, a number of traits in a person. I'm looking to describe a self-righteous, pious person who cannot stop bragging about her/his moral values while trying to impose her/...
34
votes
7answers
10k views

An English idiom for “solve a problem that has been solved”?

In Polish, and I believe in a number of other European languages, there is an idiomatic expression which translates to "to force a door which is already open". It is used to describe a situation when ...
22
votes
6answers
19k views

What do you call those divisions of a book bigger than a paragraph but smaller than a chapter?

In printed books, or at least in novels, there are often major breaks within a chapter more important than paragraphs. Often they are separated by a greater amount of whitespace than paragraphs and ...
18
votes
8answers
6k views

Is there an English idiom for Bengali idiom “সবজান্তা গামছাওয়ালা”(wise towelsman)?

In the Bengali language there is an idiom, "sobjanta gamchawala" (wise towelsman), meaning a man whose occupation is merely to sell towels, but claims to know everything and gives valuable advice on ...
48
votes
18answers
12k views

English equivalent for the Persian proverb “The mountain just gave birth to a mouse”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression to describe a well-known person/ organization/ politician/ government whose achievements in a given situation are smaller than what they had claimed or promised ...
14
votes
18answers
159k views

Idiom, word, or expression meaning an easy-to-do task

I am looking for a term, expression, word, or idiom to describe a task as an easy one to do or to go through. What I’d normally say is: Actually it’s not difficult, it’s as easy as drinking a ...
38
votes
15answers
6k views

What is the equivalent of Persian idiom “When the reed blooms”?

In Persian, we say "When the reed blooms" when we want to express that an event: Never happens. (This is only the opinion of the speaker so it's not a fact) It's very unlikely to happen. It's going ...
20
votes
8answers
3k views

Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man”

I'd like to find some gender-neutral equivalents of the phrase Take it like a man I'm not looking only for existing phrases -- any interesting ideas for expressing the sentiment "be tough", ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

What's the term for denying something so as to raise doubt?

Topical example: 'There was a scuffle outside the local pub. There appears to be no connection with religious extremists.' ...but now you're wondering if there was. It's a nasty tactic used to raise ...
12
votes
14answers
4k views

Word or phrase for 'a much hyped discovery which later turns out to be insignificant or of no value'

In the company where I worked before, the team of specialists which handled customer dissatisfaction issues often came up with seemingly brilliant solutions which would initially appear to be key ...
8
votes
16answers
4k views

“Calling a spade a spade”: synonymous expressions?

I'm looking for expressions that are equivalent to "calling a spade a spade." In some environments and verbal contexts, this phrase needs to be avoided -- please take my word for it. Thank ...
7
votes
1answer
39k views

What is the relationship name of my sibling-in-law's sibling to me?

For example: I have a sister named Charlotte. Charlotte is married to Martin. Martin has a brother named William. Martin is my brother-in-law, but what is William to me?
7
votes
10answers
5k views

What would you call a person who is not a student, but takes interest in exploring academic topics?

A person who is not formally enrolled as a student, researcher or faculty in some university or college but who takes interest in exploring academic topics/stuff. For e.g. Such a person could be ...
5
votes
8answers
15k views

Someone who is cunning but depicts themselves as innocent to others [duplicate]

What can you call a person who is cunning but depicts themselves as innocent to others?
20
votes
7answers
3k views

Someone who appears more of an expert than they are [duplicate]

I believe there is a term for a person who uses 'expert sounding' terminology and exudes confidence, even when their actual abilities are significantly short of their 'presentation'. Using 'wine' a ...
15
votes
11answers
10k views

A single word or phrase for something that necessarily causes both harm and benefit?

What is a single word, or phrase, for something that necessarily causes both harm and benefit? For example, a coal-fired power plant will harm human health through air pollution, but will bring ...
9
votes
3answers
11k views

Word for “the entire back part of the body”?

When we lie down, the "back part of the body" is in contact with the bed. It includes the heels, the calves, the backside, the back, and the back of the neck, and the back of the head etc. How do we ...
8
votes
9answers
3k views

Alternatives to the expression “poor man's <noun>”

I'm looking for a more politically correct substitute for the expression "poor man's", meaning an inferior improvised or makeshift substitute. Usage examples: "Guncotton is the poor man's TNT" "Poor ...
6
votes
5answers
7k views

What would be an English equivalent for the Mexican Spanish word tocayo? [duplicate]

In Mexican Spanish (not sure if other Spanish speaking countries use the word too) we call "tocayo" to those people that share the same name as us (but not necessarily the same last name i.e., Juan ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Word or phrase for “one needing to see it to believe it”

What's a word or phrase that could be used to describe a person who needs to see the evidence for a claim in-person before believing it?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Repeating the consonant in many words in a sentence or phrase

In the movie 'V for Vendetta' you have for example (bold part): Evey: Who are you? V. : Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey: ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

English equivalent of the expression “a longer arm than résumé”

I've heard a non-native English speaker use the expression "in this place, having a long arm to scratch someone else's back is more important than having a long résumé", conveying the idea of ...