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Questions tagged [single-word-requests]

This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. To ensure that your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word.  INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE demonstrating how the word would be used.  Click on "Info" or "View Tag" and "Learn more ..." for more information. Please use the "phrase-requests" tag instead if you seek more than just a single word.

428
votes
18answers
100k views

Which word begins with “y” and looks like an axe in this picture?

My 1-year kid has a plastic ball that is decorated with all 26 letters from the English alphabet and besides each letter is an image. I suppose the images are of words in English that begin with each ...
251
votes
10answers
75k views

Is there a word or phrase for the feeling you get after looking at a word for too long?

Sometimes after looking at a word for a while, I become convinced that it can't possibly be spelled correctly. Even after looking it up, sounding it out, and realizing that there's simply no other ...
148
votes
12answers
26k views

What do you call a disk with a hole in the middle?

Compact Discs, washers and Aerobie frisbees are all disks with a hole in the middle. Is there a word (either mathematical or not) to describe this shape? I mean the specific case of a round hole in a ...
106
votes
9answers
10k views

Is there a word for a person with only one head?

Reading this article by the fantastic Douglas Adams I came across this interesting quote: ‘[I]nteractivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal ...
102
votes
3answers
29k views

What is the word for “the smell of rain”?

I've always noticed that sometimes rain can have a pretty distinct smell. Do we have a word describing the smell of rain? How can we describe the smell of rain? "The rain smelt like..." "The rain ...
96
votes
21answers
16k views

How to say that food is hot (temperature) without the listener thinking that I mean “spicy”?

There is an excellent discussion of spicy vs. hot here: Difference between "spicy" and "hot" However, having read the previous question, I did not see any answer that tells how to ...
88
votes
7answers
20k views

Is there a gender neutral equivalent of “manspreading”?

Who knew that the term manspreading is considered deeply sexist? I didn't A nameless user proposed to delete the term from an answer of mine. His explanation was “remove misandry”. I had written ...
86
votes
14answers
21k views

Is there really no English equivalent to German's “Fachidiot”?

There was the following paragraph in the article that came under the title, “GOP and the rise of Anti-knowledge” written by Mike Lofgren in Consortiumnews.com (October 29, 2015): “English ...
83
votes
24answers
87k views

What is a word for making something seem not as bad as it actually is?

Some examples: Instead of admitting that I'm an alcoholic, I just say I had one too many drinks. Instead of the bank admitting that it has lots of loans that are in arrears and are likely to default, ...
81
votes
3answers
49k views

Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?

I find it handy when talking about my sons and daughters I can just say my children. It's nice to say nieces instead of sibling's daughters. I wonder if there is a similar term for nieces and nephews ...
80
votes
28answers
94k views

Idiom or word for a very crowded place

There is a popular idiom in Russian for describing a really crowded place: "(there's) no room for an apple to fall" ("яблоку негде упасть"). I struggle to think of anything similar in English, and ...
79
votes
25answers
29k views

What is deliberately using complex sentences to confuse people called?

I'm wondering if there's a word, phrase, or idiom to describe the action of deliberately confusing people by using complex sentences. For example, some politicians will throw out some big words and ...
78
votes
17answers
21k views

Is there a word for “air can pass through it”?

If light can pass through an object, or if you can see through it, it is transparent. Is there a similar word for "air can pass through", or you can breathe through an object? This adjective would be ...
75
votes
14answers
29k views

Word for fake religious people

Is there any word for calling people who pretend to be religious in the religious group they’re in? I mean, the people who lost their belief but can’t say they’re not religious anymore because people ...
70
votes
12answers
14k views

Derogatory word, describing person (a pupil) who memorizes instead of learning?

Apologies if I am asking something that is well known, but I am not a native English speaker, and I could not find an answer so far. In my native language, there exists a (derogatory) word for pupils,...
70
votes
14answers
33k views

Is there a polite alternative to “No thanks, I'm full”?

English is not my native language, but when I was studying in the US, I was always trying to find an alternative to I'm full! I felt that it was a very improper way to express that I have eaten ...
69
votes
3answers
26k views

What is the error called when two letters are mistakenly swapped?

Generally this may be called typo but when particularly two letters of a word are mistakenly swapped, what is this error called? Some examples: teh > the fromat > format comptuer > computer
68
votes
18answers
19k views

Is there a word for someone who really has their act together

Is there a word for someone who really has their act together? Someone who has their time well-managed, is focused, works out, has ambitions, eats right. Not necessarily success, but there's a kind of ...
67
votes
12answers
17k views

What is a word similar to “amateur” yet having a strong connotation of someone who likes something?

The etymology of "amateur", according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, is: 1784, "one who has a taste for (something)," from French amateur "lover of," from Latin amatorem (nominative amator) "...
66
votes
24answers
14k views

Is there a word for a non-geek?

I am looking for a term which clearly defines somebody as a non-geek, without being derogatory. The best example I have seen is muggle, but it needs context to be understood, as in "You don't meet ...
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 ...
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 ...
65
votes
15answers
22k views

What is worse than “mediocre”?

What is worse than mediocre? Is it bad, or is there a level between mediocre and being pure bad? Is mediocre slightly better than bad, and bad better than pathetic? I want to use this in my prose ...
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 ...
64
votes
22answers
30k views

The company I work at has this thing we have to say every morning. What is it called?

The company I work at (a US branch of a Japanese firm) has a thing we have to say every morning. We stand up and each take turns reading a line from the poster on the wall. It goes like this: ...
64
votes
5answers
7k views

Help, the “onus” is on me! What do you call whatever it is I'm supposed to do with it?

We all know the phrase: "The onus of proof is on you" or "The onus is on you to do some thing or the other." Ok, so the onus was put on me and I have done that thing or the other. Now, with respect ...
64
votes
9answers
99k views

Equivalent of “both” when referring to three or more items?

What would be the correct word to use when referring to three or more items, in the same manner as the word both? For example, using two words, with the word both: "There are several ...
61
votes
20answers
16k views

What is the name of a small unluxurious restaurant?

Is there a name for this kind of restaurant? Searching Google, I can't find any synonym of restaurant. I've tried to search for images of unluxurious restaurant, small restaurant or mundane restaurant,...
60
votes
11answers
10k views

If a ship sinks, what does an airship do?

We were having a discussion at work about airships (zeppelins, blimps, etc.) and someone spoke about them sinking when they crash. Someone else said they can't sink because they're not descending ...
60
votes
11answers
75k views

“Man” is to “womanizer” as “woman” is to what?

What's the feminine version of womanizer?
60
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the first part of a joke called?

How does one refer to the first part of a joke? The follow up is often referred to as a punchline but I'm unsure how to refer to the first part. Is it a 'joke' or does a 'joke' include the punchline?
60
votes
11answers
3k views

Is there an English phrase for an inability to actually *leave* already?

There is a Hungarian expression, küszöbgörcs, which literally means "threshold-cramp", and is used to describe that long conversation you have in the entryway, with all the guests awkwardly holding ...
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 '...
58
votes
11answers
15k views

Is there a general word or phrase to describe the things you do after getting up, such as face-washing?

I'm looking for a more general word or phrase to describe the things like face-washing, tooth-brushing and gargling together. The word or phrase is to these things as doing sports is to playing ...
57
votes
13answers
10k views

A skill that you have, but has little to no benefit for you

Most of us have these little things we are able to do, that are a little different or special. Maybe it is something we mostly use in laid-back social situations, to break the ice and get a laugh. ...
57
votes
19answers
14k 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 ...
57
votes
11answers
10k views

You “show” someone a picture. You “---” someone a song?

In Maltese, we have a verb meaning "to show" corresponding to "to see/to look", and we have a different verb corresponding to "to hear/to listen": inti tara stampa (you look at a picture.) ---- ...
56
votes
14answers
18k views

“To camouflage” is to sight as “to ____” is to sound

I am looking for a word that describes disguising or hiding sound with other sound. Much in the same way that camouflage acts in hiding visual objects. I ______ our conversation with loud music to ...
56
votes
10answers
12k views

“Position” is to “space” as what word is to “time”?

Is there an English word that is the temporal equivalent to "position"? As position can be described as "where you are", I can think of "when you are" as the temporal meaning. Information on how ...
56
votes
3answers
3k views

Name of the cut-outs in the side of a printed dictionary at each letter

Paper dictionaries often have cut-outs in the pages that make it easier to turn to (words beginning with) each letter. Here's a picture: I know there's a name for these things but I can't remember ...
56
votes
2answers
3k views

What word denotes a belief that apparently inanimate objects actually express a malicious, autonomous will?

I came across this word a few years ago, but can't find it now. I do not mean deodand, animism, pathetic fallacy, scapegoating, anthropomorphism, or personification (Word for attaching blame to ...
55
votes
8answers
17k views

What is a “prize” for last place called?

I'm having one of those moments where I can't think of the word. In some contests where prizes are awarded, there are prizes for first, second, and third place. Then, there is a "____" prize given ...
55
votes
19answers
138k views

Is there a word to describe someone who tends to disagree with others only to upset them?

What's the word to describe someone who acts arrogantly and always disagrees with others unreasonably in order to upset people around him/her? [I'm not looking for adjectives like unpleasant, ...
54
votes
24answers
9k views

Image is to pixelated as a song is to ___?

The closest I could think of is "low quality" but that is not as specific as I'd like, it could also mean that the music is bad. Example: I like this song, but you should really get the CD. This ...
54
votes
18answers
10k views

What is less harsh than “brainwashing”?

The word brainwashing, which has existed in English since circa 1950, may have had its origins in the Chinese Communist Revolution of 1948. It involved the use of extreme methods, the process known as ...
54
votes
11answers
13k 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....
54
votes
14answers
80k views

What do you call a person who started something that is later followed by everyone?

What do you call a person who started something that is later followed by everyone? For example, someone started to stay late at night till 8 p.m. and later everyone started to stay till 8 p.m..
54
votes
10answers
102k views

You quench your thirst. What do you do with your hunger?

What is the equivalent of "quench" when speaking of hunger? Is it appropriate to say you quenched your hunger?
54
votes
8answers
9k views

“To science the sh*t out of something”

In The Martian movie, Matt Damon (Watney), when left stranded on Mars with very limited resources to survive, says: Mark Watney: In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, I'm ...
54
votes
10answers
55k views

What is the opposite of Optimal?

Obviously something can be sub-optimal or poor, minimal, bad or terrible... But is there a word that means the exact opposite, the antonym, of optimal?