Doug Warren
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Word for damage that isn't serious, mostly visual and not hindering the function of the thing
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159 votes

Such damage is sometimes referred to as "cosmetic". Oxforddictionaries.com defines this sense of the word as "affecting only the appearance of something rather than its substance".

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What is a "prize" for last place called?
133 votes

Merriam-Webster defines "booby prize" as "a prize that is given as a joke to the person who finishes last in a competition".

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Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?
63 votes

No, "their" is used quite correctly here, as a possessive. It simply modifies "air". To simplify the phrasing by removing some words, it basically says: Their inoffensive... air ...

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Is there a non-medical name for the curve where index finger and thumb meet?
57 votes

Perhaps you are referring to the web of the thumb. This sense of the word "web" is defined by Merriam-Webster as a tissue or membrane of an animal or plant; especially : that uniting fingers or ...

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Handwriting is to illegible as drawing is to what?
55 votes

You might say that the drawing is "indecipherable", which is defined by Merriam-Webster as "impossible to read or understand : not decipherable".

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Idiom used to express something that brings about one's destruction in a very precise and effective way?
44 votes

The fictional mineral "kryptonite" is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as (in science fiction) an alien mineral with the property of depriving Superman of his powers This word is often used in ...

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Appropriate word for "refloating" a space vessel?
Accepted answer
36 votes

Consider recommission, which is defined (somewhat obviously) by oxforddictionaries.com as "commission again". This sense of "commission", in turn, is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as Bring (...

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What is the opposite of heritage?
36 votes

I like Chris's suggestion, "legacy", but another synonym that fits might be "bequest", which is defined in simple terms by Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary as the property or money that you ...

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How to describe a person who has done well in every task except one, but he has done extremely bad in that 'one' task
27 votes

One might say he has "a blind spot", which in this sense is defined by Merriam-Webster as " an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination".

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is it possible to provide a single word for describing an item that would need to be replaced over time
23 votes

You might try "consumable", which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as "a commodity that is intended to be used up relatively quickly". That site offers this as a usage example: ...[this brand'...

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What is the opposite of decoupled (computer science)
22 votes

I've only ever heard "tightly coupled", used as a criticism of systems like this, usually to justify the integration of some "dependency injection" framework.

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A word for the moment when you realise technology has outpaced you
20 votes

Consider "future shock", which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as A state of distress or disorientation due to rapid social or technological change.

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"It is worth mentioning" versus "it is worth to mention"
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20 votes

The first example, "it is worth mentioning that", is acceptable. The second, "it is worth to mention that", is incorrect. One might correct it by saying: It is worth it to mention that... Though ...

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Word for making a basic mistake in your field of expertise?
18 votes

Consider "lapse", which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as A brief or temporary failure of concentration, memory, or judgement This perhaps applies best to the "surgeon who cuts himself ...

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Suggested alternatives for "nice-to-have" as a noun
17 votes

I think the word "option" fits nicely in place of "nice-to-have". This sense of "option" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "an item that is offered in addition to or in place of standard equipment".

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Word or phrase for "it won't change anything, but we'll protest anyways"
16 votes

Protests in which no immediate concessions are expected are sometimes described as symbolic. This sense of the word is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as "significant purely in terms of what is ...

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Name for someone whose interest might be to discredit one's results by trying to find hypothetical mistakes?
16 votes

"Nit-picking" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "minute and usually unjustified criticism". From this comes "nitpicker", someone who engages in nit-picking.

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A word that fits the concept of "only do something once, and only when it is needed"
Accepted answer
15 votes

If you want to impress the yokels with a real computery-sciencey word, try "idempotent". An idempotent process is one that you can run over and over again, but it will only change things the first ...

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Is there one word that describes the attribute of being either disposable or reusable?
14 votes

Consider "durability", which is defined by Merriam-Webster as staying strong and in good condition over a long period of time Indeed, consumer goods that are meant to be reused over a relatively ...

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What is a word for a person who uses resources to the maximum?
14 votes

"Thrify", "frugal", and even "economical", while good answers to this question, unfortunately have come to carry negative connotations, in that they're often seen as euphemisms for "cheap", "stingy", ...

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Word for "void of people"
14 votes

I like Bookeater's suggestion of "deserted", but if you want an alternative, I'd suggest "vacant", which is defined by Merriam-Webster as "not filled, used, or lived in".

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Word for a non-mainstream belief accepted as fact by a sub-culture?
12 votes

The word "ethos" is defined by Merriam-Webster as the guiding beliefs of a person, group, or organization

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Saying meaning "Don't speak unless you can improve silence"
12 votes

There's this fairly famous saying: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." A quick internet search indicates that this saying has been attributed to Mark ...

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Word for a given situation
11 votes

I would call this the "Bear-Sneaker Stratagem". "Stratagem" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a trick or plan for deceiving an enemy or for achieving a goal". If you want a less military-sounding ...

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Better word for 'believe' or 'think'
11 votes

If you want to use something more specific to the business world, you could try "to project", which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as "[to] estimate or forecast (something) on the basis of ...

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How does "hard" come to mean "close"?
Accepted answer
10 votes

It is not the word "hard" but the word "by" that means "close to", as evidenced by this excerpt from etymonline.com: by (prep.) - Old English be- (unstressed) or bi (stressed) "near, in, by, ...

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You keep your trap shut and I'll keep your trap open
9 votes

"Keep your trap shut" is a colloquial expression meaning "don't talk". In this case the "trap" in question is the client's mouth. This is likely an invocation of lawyers' frequent advice for their ...

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Idiom criticizing a person who has unsolved problems but tries to give someone advice about them
8 votes

One common saying (or retort, really) that might be roughly equivalent is: If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? It's difficult to find a reference for this in the usual sources, but a web ...

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One word for an excuse given to make the excuse-giver not look stupid
Accepted answer
8 votes

It's not one word, but I would call such an excuse "face-saving", which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as "preserving one’s reputation, credibility, or dignity".

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Idiom or phrase about a situation in which a person has little hope
8 votes

More poetically, there's "between Scylla and Charybdis". This is a reference to a passage in The Odyssey in which the ship had to traverse a narrow strait between a whirlpool and the lair of a ...

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