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166 votes

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

Rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic — Wiktionary To do something pointless or insignificant that will soon be overtaken by events, or that contributes nothing to the solution of a ...
NVZ's user avatar
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89 votes

Why is "You’ve brought a knife to a gun fight" considered to be a mixed metaphor?

It's not a 'mixed-metaphor'. The knife/gun example doesn't fit the definition. I believe the author is simply mistaken. A mixed metaphor, as defined by the Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Curent English (...
Walter Bellhaven's user avatar
75 votes
Accepted

Why is "You’ve brought a knife to a gun fight" considered to be a mixed metaphor?

To understand the mixed metaphor in this case, I believe you need to expand the scope of the article you are interested in (emphasis mine): If anything, you are underthinking this, perhaps ...
Wasabi's user avatar
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52 votes

What does "darkest Africa" refer to?

In a general sense, “darkest” is used to refer to places which are hard to reach and about which little is known: Darkest Africa/South America etc. (old-fashioned) the parts of Africa etc about which ...
user 66974's user avatar
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44 votes

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

In software development, this is sometimes colloquially referred to a "turd polishing". Here's a definition from Urban Dictionary you might find appropriate to your situation: An engineering term ...
Mark Micallef's user avatar
42 votes
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An idiomatic phrase meaning that you are aware of a coming change based on minor signals you've observed over time

The (hand)writing is on the wall dictionary.com a premonition, portent, or clear indication, especially of failure or disaster: The company had ignored the handwriting on the wall and was plunged ...
vynsane's user avatar
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42 votes
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You have the watches, but we have the time

Several sources I've checked attribute this quote to an Afghan proverb. The meaning of the second part is clear: time is on our side. But what does the "watches" in the first part refer to? ...
walen's user avatar
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34 votes
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What's the meaning of "wooden loaf", the famous expression used by Gandhi to define the Independence of India?

This is not a one off, nor is the meaning so simple. But it looks like Gandhi himself clarified what he meant when he said it. The London Review has different wording, with ladoos, an Indian pastry: ...
Laurel's user avatar
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29 votes

An idiomatic phrase meaning that you are aware of a coming change based on minor signals you've observed over time

You often hear people say "There is something in the air". Sometimes, there has been something in the air. It is an allusion to a dog sniffing the air, detecting the smell of something far away.
Chenmunka's user avatar
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29 votes

Antonym for "thimbleful"

A possibility is truckful. It starts with a T, and it has a similarity in its ending sound (though not fully rhyming). informal a very large amount of something Example: I had a thimble of ...
hatchet - done with SOverflow's user avatar
26 votes
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Meaning of "with a hose-pipe on him"

A hose pipe would be connected to a bilge pump to allow sea water to be removed from the bilges of a ship and ejected into the sea. Since ships' hulls were (and still are) not water-tight, this had to ...
Mick's user avatar
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26 votes

Antonym for "thimbleful"

"I had a thimble of patience and the task required a tun." tun (plural tuns) A large cask; an oblong vessel bulging in the middle, like a pipe or puncheon, and girt with hoops; a wine cask....
Russell Borogove's user avatar
23 votes

What does "darkest Africa" refer to?

The meaning of "dark" is generally "unilluminated" either intentionally, as per 11a below, or by misfortune, as per 13 below: OED: 11.a. Hidden from view or knowledge; concealed; ...
Greybeard's user avatar
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22 votes

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

putting a bandaid on a broken leg Emphasizes that the effort is well-intentioned but ill-conceived, as requested by original poster. eg: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/general-books/...
Ben Aveling's user avatar
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19 votes

An idiomatic phrase meaning that you are aware of a coming change based on minor signals you've observed over time

Assuming OP specifically wants an expression relating to hearing ground tremors, the most relevant idiomatic expression I can think of is... picked up rumblings That's an estimated 126 written ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
17 votes

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

Buying a new saddle for a dead horse. I really like the titanic answer, in IT we tend to use more the dead horse metaphor for this kind of problems. Well, the original is Flogging, which in modern ...
mirba's user avatar
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17 votes

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

Papering over the cracks — Cambridge to hide problems, especially arguments between people, in order to make a situation seem better than it really is "She tried to paper over the cracks, ...
teedyay's user avatar
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15 votes

An idiomatic phrase meaning that you are aware of a coming change based on minor signals you've observed over time

You can say you are keeping your ear to the ground meaning you are alert for signs of change, but I think it would be somewhat strained to say "I am aware because I'd been keeping my ear to the ground....
Phil Sweet's user avatar
15 votes

Alternative metaphor to ‘Blank Canvas’

"Tabula rasa" is almost an exact translation of "blank canvas" and has a similar meaning. However, it might not fit the rest of what you want. (For example, it doesn't mean "...
MarcInManhattan's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What is meant by "mushroom grandeur" in this context?

A little more context from your source:     “What do you think of that?” asked his expressive little eyes, when something in “mushroom” grandeur or crude style passed by. Bad form he could not endure,...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
13 votes
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Word for when something makes something else seems smaller in a relative manner

Based on the title of the question (which uses the word "smaller") I would have suggested dwarf: dwarf (verb): Cause to seem small or insignificant in comparison. (from [https://www.merriam-webster....
Syntax Junkie's user avatar
13 votes

What does "plaster everywhere" mean here?

It is a reference to the practice of "plastering" (gluing/taping) signs, posters, notices, etc, onto walls, fences, and the like. Years ago this would have been done for, eg, advertising a ...
Hot Licks's user avatar
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13 votes
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American English Slang Phrase for "see you in court"?

The song is "I Shot Ya (Remix)" by LL Cool J featuring Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe, and Foxy Brown. I be the one to represent the streets If you ever test my heat, then I'ma test my heat ...
jimm101's user avatar
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12 votes

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

How about "bailing out the ocean"? Implies that what you're doing is a good fix for a small problem, but won't work as the actual issues it too big. I have a mental image of water rushing through ...
Benubird's user avatar
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12 votes

Antonym for "thimbleful"

"... large quantity or amount in a way that it would sound as an antonym for "thimble". Preferably a word that rhymes with it or start with "t". As in: I had a thimble of ...
Rob's user avatar
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12 votes

Word for when something makes something else seems smaller in a relative manner

The general question is answered by the metaphorical sense of eclipse. eclipse verb (IMPORTANCE) [ T often passive ] ... (2) to make another person or thing seem much less important, ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
11 votes

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

A band-aid solution. From the Cambridge English Dictionary: a temporary solution that does not deal with the cause of a problem From the Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage, intended for minor ...
HemiPoweredDrone's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Word for a certain metaphor

Disoriented may be the word you're looking for: (adj.) confused as to time or place; out of touch (Dictionary.com)
Govind Parmar's user avatar
11 votes

Why is "You’ve brought a knife to a gun fight" considered to be a mixed metaphor?

It's not a mixed metaphor, but the intent is to proclaim it as a possibly inappropriate or exaggerated one. The speaker is responding to claims of inappropriate interactions and failure to take hints ...
WhatRoughBeast's user avatar

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