Questions tagged [phrase-request]

This tag is for questions seeking a phrase that fits a meaning. If you are looking for a word, or don't care, see the "word-request" tag too.

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56
votes
17answers
17k views

What do you call the act of drinking a whole bottle of, say, water in one go?

What do you call the act of drinking a whole bottle of, say, water in one go? It doesn't have to be water.
46
votes
10answers
13k views

“Ice cold” vs. “___ hot” in a professional context?

Suppose I just had Iced Coffee with hot chocolate cake and I want to describe it to others. I can use "I had an ice cold coffee" but then I'm stuck with the second part. None of the things I can ...
45
votes
10answers
24k views

Better way to say “No bulls--t”

I'm the person who like concise, and don't like the literature style stuffing in lots of irrelevant information to distract you from the main idea. So when I saw a book called "No bullshit Java", I ...
43
votes
6answers
9k views

Does the English language have a word explaining a song in your head that you can't stop singing?

Sometimes after listening to a popular song you can't stop repeating it in your head. Is there any term for this in English? You can't say the same in Russian using one word.
39
votes
12answers
67k views

Possible responses to “thank you”

Is "you are welcome" more polite than "no problem"? What is the general proper reply to a thank-you?
38
votes
10answers
6k views

Does “unbuild” in “Unbuild your Legos before putting them back into the box” sound natural?

How could I change this sentence in order for it to sound more natural and easier to be understood by a toddler? I've been using 'unassailable' or 'take them apart' but both sound strange.
37
votes
6answers
28k views

What's a polite way of asking “who are you?” on the phone?

Say, you're working in a company. The phone rings and you pick it up. On the other line, someone wants to speak to one of your co-workers. You want to tell your co-worker who this person is. I think ...
36
votes
14answers
6k views

What do you call this way of stacking rectangular objects on each other?

Sometimes we stack rectangular object like books, paper slips, bricks, video cassettes, etc in a way that one is put in a landscape orientation and the other in a portrait orientation. What is ...
33
votes
14answers
9k views

Is there an English equivalent for the Italian saying “It's another pair of sleeves”?

In a meeting an Italian told a puzzled English audience: "It's another pair of sleeves". It's an Italian way of saying: "it's another thing", or "this new argument is something different or off topic"...
31
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I negate or confirm a question tersely using negation?

From a logical point of view, the answer no negates the negation, and yes confirms it. But how would a native speaker react when s/he asked "Don't you love me any more?" and got yes or no as answer? ...
29
votes
8answers
110k views

How do native speakers say 'the light bulb has stopped working'

Lets say, I want to tell my roommate that one of the lightbulbs has stopped working, I usually say The light bulb is gone or broken down. I did some search related to these expression and it ...
28
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the document called that parents have to sign so their underage children can take part in something?

When you're a kid and you want to go to some event or a school excursion you have to bring a document signed by your parents saying that they've given their permission. What is this document usually ...
28
votes
5answers
10k views

What do we call the gesture of hitting each other's fists gently?

We all know shaking hands or a handshake. There, we 'shake hands'. There's one more gesture I do. I gently punch other's fist. Something like this - What do we call this gesture as a noun? ...
27
votes
2answers
3k views

Terms to refer uniquely to each of the grandparents

In Swedish, there are different words to refer to grandparents which explain whether they are on your mother's side or your father's side. The words are (and literally translate to) Mormor - ...
27
votes
2answers
245k views

“Thank you in advance” - how to replace?

When writing emails, I often ended it with "thank you in advance". Even more, I used to have it in my signature for a certain time (mea culpa). However, recently I've been told that it is not ...
26
votes
16answers
7k views

What's the polite way to say “I need to urinate”?

What's the polite way in the UK to say "I need to urinate" (both for men and for women)? Or maybe there's no problem with that sentence? N.b. I'm asking about situations in which I know where it's ...
24
votes
15answers
5k views

Specific word to describe someone who is so good that isn't even considered in say a classification

When someone says "He's the best", or "he is definitely first". But there is someone else who is better and when some other subject considers him/her and asks "what about -name-?", is replied with ...
24
votes
11answers
18k views

What is this type of road called in English?

I’m looking for a word or a phrase for describing this kind of road which usually is constructed in the mountain areas, but not only: image a representative sample from Google images, query = ...
22
votes
5answers
5k views

What do we call these 'squeezed' papers?

In my mother tongue, there is a word for it, and it is a noun. The action is observed when you think the paper is waste. You squeeze it, and it loses its texture/avatar. Then, it is no more straight ...
22
votes
9answers
16k views

Phrases that express “afraid of wife” in English

Are there any English idioms that are used to describe a man being afraid of wife? In Chinese there are lots of ways to express it, formal ways, condescending, or colorful. Please describe the ...
22
votes
9answers
8k views

What do you call or how do you describe this in English? overcooking the food? What do you call the black stuff?

In Persian, we say that (literal translation) the food has taken the bottom :D What do you say when you want to say that the food in the pot was overcooked and something like the picture above ...
22
votes
8answers
5k views

Is “tin foil” for “aluminium foil” deprecated?

In my native language, the stuff is called "aluminium foil". In English, I always heard people use the phrase "tin foil" for that. I adopted that phrase thinking that despite the foil being made of ...
22
votes
4answers
232k views

Can you reply “you too” to wishes such as “Good luck”?

Suppose someone is saying to you: I wish you Merry Christmas! or Good luck! Is it meaningful to reply "You too"? Or should you respond "Same to you"?
21
votes
8answers
10k views

How do I invite a friend “on my expense”?

I ask my friend to come over to my place and I want him to eat pizza on my expense. Is it correct to say like this: Come over to my place bro! I will eat you a pizza. or Come over to my home ...
21
votes
13answers
9k views

Slang word for working overtime without being paid

I am looking for a slang word to describe the situation, where you are voluntarily working overtime at your job, but without getting paid. E.g. if you stay late at your work because you would like to ...
20
votes
2answers
26k views

What's a word for something you do, but you don't like to mention it?

For instance, a business man might be cold and hard in his demeanor, but really enjoys watching childish cartoons. Or an exercise buff might also really enjoy deep fried chicken. It also might be a ...
17
votes
6answers
7k views

Is there a specific term to describe time 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 etc

I was talking to my friend the other day about the airport bus timings, I was supposed to say Buses are due at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 etc. (pattern like this the whole day between say 5 am to 11 ...
17
votes
6answers
7k views

How to distinguish between American Indians and Indian Indians in native English (language) parlance?

How to distinguish between American Indians and Indian Indians in native English (language) parlance? Can I say Indian Indian to say Indian from Asia compared to the Native Americans?
17
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the saying to use when someone has long worked for an accident to happen?

What is the English saying/phrase to use when someone has long worked for something bad to happen to him? For example he was so long involved in risky activities, or he was treating other people ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Idiom for blaming a bad act on the devil

Some people believe the Devil could inspire wrong-doings. I'm looking for a common expression where you can blame on the Devil such an action you have done. Implicit in the meaning is that we don't ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

“Physician's writing” - “to scribble like a chicken with claw”

Is there any phrase for describing when someone writes extremally illegibly? In Poland it's called "physician's script", or there's an idiom "pisać jak kura pazurem", which literally means "to ...
16
votes
9answers
110k views

What's a preferred alternative to the phrase 'do the needful'?

In India, this is used zillions of times every day especially while referring someone some task or to do favor. Mr. Singh, I'm sending my cousin who is interested in learning guitar. As you have ...
15
votes
10answers
7k views

He is honest (9 out of 10). How to construct a phrase in which a person's honesty is scored on a scale?

I'd like to describe a person that he is a honest person and add how honest he is but couldn't figure out. How can I say this? He is honest on the scale of 9 out of 10. Is this correct? Or is ...
15
votes
8answers
5k views

A word or a phrase for “riding a bicycle on only one wheel”

What do we call it when someone rides a bicycle or a motorcycle and suddenly stands on only one wheel (usually on the back wheel) for a short period?
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you convey the effect of a poor phone connection?

Recently, I was talking on a phone which had a faulty connection, as a result of which I was only able to hear the person's voice in patches. Something like "......I think.........may.......jaguar.......
15
votes
2answers
920 views

How to express that instructions (i.e. a recipe) should be followed precisely?

Suppose I'm giving a recipe (let's say, for a special cake) to a friend. I'd like to make sure he follows the recipe precisely down to the last minute detail. Is there an idiom that I could use to ...
15
votes
5answers
89k views

How to politely ask someone to repeat what they said after they've already repeated it once?

If you do not clearly hear what another person said, you can say "Excuse me" or "Pardon me" to ask them to repeat it politely. But if you still don't get it, what should you say to ask them to repeat ...
15
votes
3answers
55k views

Personal circumstances?

A friend of mine asked me once what he could say if he was asked about a colleague or a friend not being able to attend a meeting or a party because of, for example, confidential health or family ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Phrasal verb for carbonated drinks exploding out of the can after being shaken?

What's the phrasal verb for carbonated drinks exploding out of the can after being shaken? "Exploded out" doesn't sound right, because it doesn't sound idiomatic. I also checked pop off, but it seems ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

How do we say “within a kilometer radius spherically”?

How do we say "within a kilometer radius spherically"? When we say radius, we think of a circle, so how do you specify that you're thinking of a sphere when you say "within a kilometer radius"?
14
votes
4answers
2k views

A term for glass half wall

What is this thing called ? Is it just a ‘Glass Half-wall’ or does it have another name? And what if it was outdoors ?
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “what the hell” considered offensive?

Is "what the hell" used as just an expression, or is it considered offensive? In what situations is it "okay" to use it? If it is offensive, is there a more "polite" alternative which expresses the ...
14
votes
2answers
922 views

Saying for distracting someone with other activity?

There's a Polish saying jak pies je to nie szczeka, which (literally translated) means "when dog is eating, it is not barking." What is the English saying with the same meaning, used to mean that if ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Can we say “bed of disease”

In Persian we have a phrase, whose translation would be "in the bed of disease". It means when you are ill and resting in bed. Can we use the same in English? What are equivalent phrases?
13
votes
6answers
23k views

How would a native say “just looking around”

You are walking around in a shopping mall or some sort of store, even though you might buy something, you don't have anything specific in mind and you are walking around the store, to have a look. If ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

I was forbidden to make such requests

I was forbidden to make such requests. I feel that this is not English. But how can I express that somebody said that I am not authorized for this action?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What do we call the process of cutting pencils down to expose more lead?

We call the following a pencil cutter. But what do we do with it? Do we cut the pencil? Cutting the pencil sounds odd to me, like it means actually we are cutting the pencil into pieces which is not ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What is this cute pose called in English?

What do you call this cute pose that usually young babies adopt?
12
votes
8answers
6k views

What is an idiomatic way to tell someone to put their hands on someone's eyes in order to not let them see?

I would like to know how do you say this action in common spoken English. Suppose that someone puts their hand on someone's eyes in order not to let them see. So, someone is ordering someone else ...
12
votes
4answers
7k views

Someone who invites other people to another religion

I was wondering if you could let me know how shall I describe someone who tries to convert people to another religion. The only word I know is "missionary" who attempts to invite people to a specific ...