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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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
663 views

What is it called when using 'you' in place of anyone or yourself in example? [closed]

What is the adjective (or phrase) describing the use of 'you' in place of anyone, everyone, or yourself in passing? Such as the following - ...and you wouldn't dare to eat the last cookie, ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there a word or phrase for when you break a word in a different place to give a different meaning?

I'm thinking similar to a compound word, but you could break the word at a different or multiple places. Granted I cannot think of a real-world example, but I have included two situations where this ...
3
votes
3answers
34k views

Someone who doesn't learn from the mistakes he made [closed]

Is there a word or phrase that means someone who doesn't learn from his mistakes or makes the same mistakes again? It can be a noun or adjective or anything that implies the meaning.
2
votes
7answers
2k views

Derogatory term for inconcise writing

I am looking for a derogatory word or short phrase to describe unconcise texts or the process of their creation, i.e., the text is redundant, overcomplicated and filled with irrelevant details or ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Less-technical synonym for “timestamp”

I've already looked at Is there a word for "a point in time"?, but there doesn't seem to be any answers other than "timestamp". While I agree that it is the most technically accurate ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

Is there an aphorism for doing a self-defeating act?

Is there a witty turn of phrase that indicates one's performing an act that, in its doing, undermines, contravenes, or obviates itself? This question relates to a similar idea, but I have it in my ...
8
votes
15answers
6k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
7k views

A laudatory expression for “an expert in grammar”

All too often, the 19th century scholars who wrote volumes on English grammar are today accused of being pedantic; persnickety; puritanical and prescriptivist poppycock grammarians. In the 21st ...
5
votes
2answers
94k views

A dream come true - is it correct

I was confused by a company slogan I saw, and that made me wonder: Is it correct to write "a dream come true"? If I was the one writing it I would use "a dream comes true" but is the initial form ...
2
votes
4answers
20k views

A word or phrase to describe someone who is obsessed with words?

I want to be able to describe the love for, or obsession with, words. It may also be a condition from other's perspective. It maybe because he is a lunatic who wants to aggrandize his vocabulary, a ...
2
votes
9answers
21k views

Someone who just thinks they know what they're talking about

What is a word or phrase that means a speaker (or writer) is talking about something they know very little about, but they think they know more than they do? An example: If you read diet message ...
2
votes
5answers
10k views

Somebody who is kind, yet hard, but fair

A person who speaks kindly. Sometimes she might be hard, but fair. What is an adjective to describe such person?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Good coming from bad [duplicate]

Someone said a word, or saying, to me that I didn't know the meaning, so I looked it up. I cannot remember what it was, but the meaning was: "Something good comes from something that was bad" For ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Term for a person who conducts practice lessons

Is there a word in English for a person who conducts practice lessons in a university? In Russia, we call these kinds of lessons "семинар", and people who conduct them "семинарист". Unfortunately, ...
0
votes
4answers
19k views

Idiom or phrase associated with a person who blame others for his or her fault?

Is there an idiom or phrase associated with a person who can't do some work or something but he or she blames something or somebody else?
287
votes
41answers
121k views

Is there a phrase that means sleeping with someone without sex?

The phrase "sleeping with someone" often means "having sex." What is the origin of this sexual connotation? Is there a non-sexual equivalent of this phrase to express sleeping with someone without ...
69
votes
12answers
12k views

What's a less offensive substitute for “rep-whores”?

This is a frequently thrown-around term on Internet forums in general and Stack Exchange specifically. Although it conveys a lot of meaning, I'd much prefer a phrase with a less offensive origin. ...
59
votes
21answers
23k views

What is the word for always YES (100%) or always NO (0%), never in-between

For example: 1) In statistics, this attribute will always either be 0% or 100%, never in-between. 2) The boundary is either safe or destroyed, because there is never a state where it is only '...
47
votes
25answers
9k views

Is there a similar English phrase for this Tamil proverb - “Lavish outside home yet starving inside of it”?

In Tamil, a south Indian language, there is a saying which roughly translates into English as: Lavish outside home, starving inside of it. Background : This proverb has a mocking tone and ...
34
votes
15answers
14k views

What's it called when you lose contact with reality when watching a movie?

Sometimes, when I watch a (real good) movie, I feel like the movie "sucks me into the screen". I feel that I am really inside the movie, really watching real persons acting in real situations. I do ...
33
votes
13answers
26k views

Idiom for “just because you give something a different name, it doesn't change what it is”

I'm looking for a way to idiomatically express the sentiment that just because you give something a different name, or precede it with a disclaimer, it doesn't change what it is, e.g.: "I mean this ...
14
votes
5answers
10k views

Is there a word or phrase for walking into a room to get something but then forgetting what you went in there to get?

I'm fairly certain this has happened to all of us at some point: You go into a room to get something, but once you're there, you can't remember what you intended to get. It seems like a specific, ...
43
votes
23answers
28k views

What do you call the facial expression or the state just before bursting into tears?

What do you call this facial expression that forms just before bursting into tears? (Especially when a baby has been treated in a way he/she didn't expect and consider it unfair or feels neglected. Of ...
9
votes
9answers
87k views

Another term/phrase for kill two birds with one stone

What is another phrase for kill two birds with one stone? Or another term that implies similar meaning?
27
votes
9answers
21k views

How do you describe these animals' action/ state before attacking their prey?

Some animals like tigers, lions, cats, etc do this action before attacking their prey suddenly and unexpectedly. In fact they seem waiting insidiously (?) until the appropriate moment for attacking ...
18
votes
15answers
24k views

Is there a word or term to describe when someone focuses on a specific example, rather than the problem at large?

For those who don't play video games, there's a growing trend in the industry called "Microtransactions" - a small fee the player can pay for certain things in game. Usually something small, such as a ...
15
votes
16answers
14k views

Idiom meaning diverting somebody's attention from a topic which you don't want to talk on

Is there an idiom or expression which means diverting somebody's attention with profuse talk about irrelevant things and trying to change a topic which is unpleasant to you or which you just don't ...
12
votes
5answers
132k views

Popular alternatives to “thank you”

The context for my question might be a bit strange. I have stuttering and therefore I have some difficulties pronouncing some words starting with particular phonetics. And I've found that if a ...
8
votes
14answers
4k views

A verb for when we actively extract information from others?

Sometimes, others just inform us about things without us asking them, other times they do not do that even if we ask them. I want a verb for when others do not give us information — whether because ...
58
votes
19answers
15k views

The act of baiting someone into (incorrectly) calling bullshit

Is there a single word, or commonly-used term, to describe the act of baiting another person into calling bullshit, when in fact you're not bullshitting? Conceptually, this either a sub-type, or the ...
50
votes
10answers
7k views

Is there a term which covers ATM cards, credit cards, and debit cards?

I work in accommodation for international travelers, and people can pay with various kinds of cards: In some countries such as USA, credit cards are very common, but debit cards are not so common. In ...
48
votes
12answers
7k views

Term for being unable to see glaring errors after working for some time on a task?

Back in the day, I used to do a lot of CAD drafting. There is a well known phenomena whereby your ability to see mistakes, errors, omissions or plain nonsense in your drawing diminishes sharply ...
38
votes
10answers
22k views

A little brain fart

What is a nicer, less immature saying? I love using 'A Freudian slip', but that is only applicable in certain situations.
28
votes
14answers
4k views

Phrase for observing a rule in a malicious way

I know this phrase, but for some reason it is blocked in my mind. What is the term for observing a rule, but doing so in a way that subverts it? I'm almost certain that malicious is one of the words ...
28
votes
12answers
7k views

Idiom for a person who is above any question

I read somewhere a sentence which said about a political leader that he is the "holy something" whose actions cannot be questioned. The context was to describe that even though this man does bad ...
21
votes
4answers
851 views

Is there a word for words that people are more likely to have read than heard, thus don't know how to pronounce?

As a software guy I find myself using words like "idempotent" and "cache", which I'm very familiar with from technical writings, but have seldom heard being spoken. When I do hear someone using these ...
19
votes
16answers
145k views

Is there a term to describe speech that has a hidden meaning but is not sarcastic?

I want to describe how someone is saying something but hidden behind their words they are blaming the person they are talking to. It's kind of like sarcasm but not quite as strong. With sarcasm the ...
18
votes
23answers
18k views

Suitable saying for “different people like/dislike different things”?

Suppose I have some problem when someone takes an action 'X' on me which I find highly offensive and which makes me feel bad but it may/may not effect other individuals if used on them. A friend of ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

What do you call a Q&A user who posts a question but never checks back?

I have searched for a term that describes users who post questions and then disappear without trace. These users will post and write their questions in a great flurry, sometimes ignoring the basic ...
16
votes
5answers
6k views

Is there a name for how the Irish use so, so?

There is an Irish English structural usage of the word so, that is I think unique to Ireland. Are we going to the cinema, so? Where is the dog, so? The word so is unneeded and seems to mean '...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the term to describe someone who deliberately drives into oncoming traffic?

According to http://www.cracked.com/article_23248_6-foreign-words-so-dark-there-are-no-english-equivalents.html (warning: sarcasm), there is no English equivalent for "Geisterfahrer", or someone who ...
10
votes
3answers
76k views

What's a the word for people who make fun of themselves?

I don't mean people with low self esteem. But there are people who feel happy at being able to make other people laugh at their own expense. I remember someone telling me there is a word for them, I ...
9
votes
10answers
15k views

How to describe useless conversation?

Is there a word or concise English expression for the kind of discussion that is heated, perhaps a bit contentious or pretentious, but ultimately off-topic, vague, or too abstract to be useful? A ...
8
votes
11answers
7k views

What do you call a generic person?

Is there a term for a person who by local standards is normal in his/her behaviour? I mean a person who tends to like the same sports, same teams, same music, and same hobbies. Because in El Salvador ...
5
votes
10answers
1k views

Is there any equivalent for 'amorous affairs' that is very informal?

I'm looking for a way of saying “having amorous affairs”. Ideally it should indicate a married man fooling around with younger women, and the expression should be informal, humorous, in low register ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Word for person always after what he does not have and not cherishing what he has [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Term for “constantly unsatisfied soul” Is there a word for a person who is always after what he does not have and does not cherish what he has? If not, any idiom ...
40
votes
6answers
9k views

Term for Gift that Turns out to be a Burden

What is the English term for when someone thinks they are doing something nice for you but it ends up making things worse. EX: Someone buys you an elephant -- nice gesture and cool! But now you have ...
21
votes
15answers
142k views

What is a term for someone who doesn't know what they haven't experienced?

I'm struggling to find a word or short term for a person or group of people who do not experience jealousy/remorse/etc. due to a lack of something. For example, people from the middle ages could not ...