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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4
votes
10answers
2k views

How to describe a person in a situation in which he does not completely know what he is doing?

How can we describe a person doing or communicating something without (really) knowing what he is doing or talking about? This could be either because of some indisposition like for example ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“hidden” intentions [closed]

I just really want to ask the other ways of saying "having hidden intentions". The word that I've been looking for is something which is synonymous with the "hidden" used in this context. The word is ...
3
votes
8answers
41k views

A man who keeps his word

I'm looking for an appropriate word to describe someone who is a man of his word. Trustworthy springs to mind but doesn't seem appropriate, as it doesn't imply an honorable connotation associated ...
3
votes
5answers
216 views

More formal word for the chronic state of being in a snit [duplicate]

This question relates to my previous question: More formal word for "know-it-all" I would like to describe the general attitude of a particular witness, in my closing argument. This will ...
3
votes
4answers
5k views

Word for a male that prefers female companions (no slang such as “pimp”)

I am looking for a word describing a man who has a lot of female friends, and who prefers female friends. I was "Wikipedia surfing" (going through Wikipedia pages and clicking on links found within ...
3
votes
3answers
696 views

Is there a synonym for “day” that can go with “at night”, “at dusk”, “at dawn”? [closed]

I need a word (ideally) or phrase that means "daytime" that can be used in a sentence "the event happened at dawn/dusk/night/day" "The event happened at day", and "The event happened at daytime" don'...
2
votes
5answers
80 views

Is there a term for solving a sub-sub problem of a problem so far removed from the main problem the link is not clear?

In some situations, trying to solve a problem uncovers another problem. Attempts to fix that uncover yet another. A few more rounds and one can be doing something seemingly completely unrelated to the ...
2
votes
2answers
301 views

Pejorative Nickname Reference

Is there a single word or very short phrase to describe the act of contemptuously referring to someone by using a diminutive "nickname", with which that person is not normally associated? For example,...
2
votes
2answers
411 views

A single word or phrase when someone pretends to be so close to you [closed]

I know that I came from a country where inventing words or phrase for something is common. I always hear this phrase when they say it: you're so feeling close to denote that someone pretends to be ...
2
votes
2answers
116 views

How to make that elegant and succinct: “Live for the moments that make life worth living”

My friend wants to get a tattoo in English. He's very specific about what he wants it to express, but for both of us English is a foreign language and we're not quite sure how to say that using a ...
2
votes
3answers
217 views

Appropriate word for “intermediate approach”

In a paper, I need to mention something meaning "intermediate approaches" and looking for a suitable word or phrase for that. For example: Approach 1 is ... Approach 2 is ... (Approaches 1 and 2 ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

Is there a better name for this than “emphatic and”?

In semi-poetic writing, I have had occasion to deviate from the standard prose list practice (interpose commas or semicolons between items, with an "and" preceding the final item), by utilizing a ...
1
vote
6answers
4k views

Something that is impossible but has happened [closed]

I would like to know if anyone knows the word for something that should be impossible but has happened. An example is the Big Bang Theory. It shouldn't have been possible but something happened for us ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

A word or short phrase for 'better in every way'?

When we're comparing two or more things, there are times when we have to weigh the advantages or disadvantages of each one. There are other times when one of the things is better for every way in ...
1
vote
2answers
505 views

A word for 'independent episodes'

When we have a series of episodes where every single episode depends on and develops from the previous, we may call that a sequel, or maybe a continuum. Now let us say that we have a collection of ...
1
vote
4answers
6k views

Word/phrase for the activity of hiding mistakes

What word/phrase can I use to describe the activity of hiding a stupid mistake/incident, such as quickly cleaning up tea spilled by accident before anyone could notice?
1
vote
5answers
881 views

How should I refer to people who have had something shared with them?

In the application I am developing, I'd like to refer to people who have had something shared with them (link, photo etc.) but I couldn't figure out what word or phrase to use.
1
vote
4answers
909 views

Order of universal and existential quantifier

In mathematics we use the universal and existential quantifiers (represented symbolically by ∀ and ∃, respectively) to make our lives easier. We can also use them in English. From a logical standpoint,...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Phrase to refer to community of people who come together to exchange knowledge [closed]

I need a two word phrase to refer to a community of people (academia + non-academia) who come together to share/exchange their knowledge/ideas openly on topics of their interests/ specializations. I ...
1
vote
5answers
14k views

A verb phrase that describes someone that doesn't pay their debt

ie. Knowing that they have an unpaid debt, yet doesn't care. I suppose "he is renouncing his debt" would be fine, but it doesn't seem to flow well. "he is abandoning his debt" doesn't sound too good ...
0
votes
2answers
497 views

Word/phrase that can be used to say that a particular word doesn't describe something

John says he's swimming, when he is treading water. By definition, swimming involves voluntary movement of the body. What word or phrase can we use to tell John that he can't be swimming because he'...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What could be the correct idiom for expressing that someone is baking up false allegations without evidence?

Are "barking up the wrong bush" or "sailing on the wings of imagination" close?
0
votes
0answers
38 views

What would you call a person dumps his work on you [duplicate]

What would you call a person who systematically dumps his work on you in a bid to evade responsibilities (with a work philosophy that when you don't learn or do it, you are never given the ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Idiom for “what is apparent may not be the truth” [closed]

Is there an idiom or phrase for "what is apparent may not be the truth" The use context is: You may see XYZ in zooming off in a Ferrari. But that is only because s/he works in the dealership as a ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this sentence a valid construction? [duplicate]

I received this in my email. Please be reminded in accordance with the below email. Is something wrong with this sentence?
-1
votes
1answer
337 views

Word for 'Lacking a subject'

The poet Medbh McGuckian often lacks subjects in her sentences, for example: "From behind the moon boys' graves \ bleed endlessly" ~ From Love Affair with Firearms She doesn't ever define the ...
-1
votes
3answers
86k views

A word or phrase for “someone who learns from their mistakes” [closed]

What would be a word or short phrase for "someone who learns from their mistakes"? I thought of insightful, but am not satisfied with it.
-1
votes
3answers
15k views

Words for “a bit sad” and “a bit happy”?

Are there words or other phrases for "a bit sad" and "a bit happy"? Thank you! Edit: I'm sorry for the confusion. I wanted at least two words: one for "a bit sad" and one for "a bit happy". Thanks ...
-4
votes
2answers
14k views

Alternative idioms to “to put the whole matter into a nutshell”?

I need some alternatives to introduce summarization on the final paragraph of non-technical chapters or longer blog articles. Known terms like summary often sound a bit technical to me...
117
votes
6answers
17k views

How to say “It's not rocket science” before rockets existed

Prior to the invention of rockets, was there a phrase equivalent to: "it's not rocket science"? If so, what was it? Here I am looking for a phrase that makes a comparison with a difficult job/task, ...
95
votes
13answers
12k views

Is there English counterpart(s) to Japanese old saying, “Present salt to your enemy.”?

We have a popular Japanese saying, “敵に塩を送る” — literally, “present (supply) salt to one's enemy”, meaning ‘play fair and square, not taking advantage of the weak point of your rival.’ It’s different ...
61
votes
20answers
18k views

Phrase for a small, legitimate fix for part of a system so broken the fix is unimportant [duplicate]

Looking for a phrase/metaphor describing a situation where a proposed solution, though valid, is targeted for one of many problems in an entity plagued by so many problems as to render the individual ...
54
votes
11answers
14k views

What is this method of joking about a morbid situation called?

What word or phrase could be used to describe a joke about something serious or bad? It isn't meant as humor in the typical sense, but as sort of a brave, different flavor of humor between two friends....
22
votes
8answers
29k views

Alternative to “We'll just have to agree to disagree”

Is there a polite alternative to "We'll just have to agree to disagree" that can be used as an exit strategy from a relatively friendly debate when a person feels they've said all they have to say and ...
65
votes
8answers
12k views

What is it called when you search for something on the internet and end up looking for other and it goes in endless meander? [duplicate]

What am I doing when I search for something on the internet and the search provides for some other interesting stuff apart from what I was looking for and I end up opening an infinite number of ...
77
votes
23answers
22k views

How to degender “separate the men from the boys”?

How can one degender the phrase "separate the men from the boys"? Examples of how this phrase has traditionally been used: Math teacher: "The ability to do proofs of this type is what separates ...
52
votes
20answers
18k views

What is the wife of a henpecked husband called? [closed]

henpecked [hen-pekt] adjective 1. browbeaten, bullied, or intimidated by one's wife, girlfriend, etc.: a henpecked husband who never dared to contradict his wife. What is the wife of a henpecked ...
33
votes
18answers
14k views

Is there a word for being so polite as to appear insincere?

I'm looking for a term in English to describe being so polite that one appears to be insincere.
29
votes
27answers
25k views

Idiom or expression that would imply “someone is a habitual liar”

I'm looking for an idiom or expression for describing people who tell lies out of habit (so you cannot trust them at all). I know that these people are called "compulsive liars", but I'm not looking ...
10
votes
7answers
38k views

Is there a word for fake kindness or hospitality?

Is there a word for faking kindness/hospitality to sound more tactful and decent than you really are (which could be categorized as some sort of hypocrisy)? For example, saying: Pay us a visit ...
30
votes
8answers
8k views

An idiom meaning “sticking fingers in your ears does not change the fact”

I am looking for an idiom which means sticking fingers in your ears does not change the fact; the fact remains so, even if you don't listen to the one who is mentioning it.
27
votes
19answers
25k views

A verb that means “to prove someone is guilty of a crime”

Preface: I don't think there is a single-word (verb) that expresses the concept I am asking for, in which case I'd settle for the least ambiguous and most common phrase or idiom that describes the ...
20
votes
12answers
47k views

What's the opposite for “steep learning curve”?

[Inspired by the What is meant by "steep learning curve"? question] Is there a phrase similar to steep learning curve (i.e. [some-word] learning curve) describing something that is easy to ...
46
votes
11answers
9k views

Equivalent English phrase for “don't roll around where you've fallen”

In my language, we have a phrase which roughly translates to "don't roll around where you've fallen". It indicates that a person has said or done something stupid. Then when someone points this out, ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

English equivalent to “a small fruit in an elephant's mouth”

In the Indian language of Malayalam, there's a saying "Aana vayil ambazhanga", which literally translates to: A small fruit in an elephant's mouth. It means: Having too small an amount for a ...
27
votes
15answers
4k views

What is the term describing the condition of being oversaturated with information?

This is how I feel: too much random information online, very hard to find what you are really interested in, being annoyed by having to sift through the random photos and poorly written pieces, or ...
27
votes
10answers
8k views

An idiom for a stupid action which is beneficial in the end, or for the person who performed said action

My friend works for an investment firm, and his colleague mistakenly double-submitted a long bid for stock on a very risky day. The entire firm was on edge the whole day, watching the stock price. In ...
24
votes
11answers
5k views

Expression for losing something that you never really had

A friend keeps whining about "losing n reputation points" on Stack Exchange. My instinctive interpretation is that some of the votes he had earned were reversed due to vote fraud. What he really ...
20
votes
11answers
4k views

Phrase to mean one is described by his name [duplicate]

I found in some other languages such as Chinese an interesting idiom which describes some people; for example, when you see a person is named "Smart" and he/she is really smart, one would say: "a name ...
18
votes
7answers
5k views

Generic form of “first world problems”

The term "first world problems" refers to a petty thing complained about by someone living in the upper or middle class. Is there are word or phrase that means problems or complaints about things ...