Get to know the most popular business idioms which you can use at your workplace.
Meaning: Twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week
Example: My friend is an assistant and she has to be available 24/7.
A tough break
Meaning: bad luck, something unfortunate takes place
Example: It was a tough break for the team when Jennifer quit.
Ahead of the curve
Meaning: ahead of trends or current thinking
Example: The new product is really ahead of the curve, our engineers considered the industry forecasts and thought everything through.
Meaning: As soon as possible, quickly.
Example: John, the boss wants to see you ASAP in his office, you’d better get going.
Meaning: at risk
Example: There is too much at stake to give up on this project.
Back to square one
Meaning: to start something over.
Example: When our initial plan didn’t work out we had to go back to square one.
Back to the drawing board
Meaning: also mean to start something over
Example: We had to go back to the drawing board, when we found out that the prototype got bad reviews.
Meaning: an approximation, inexact number
Example: We don’t have the exact data, but the ballpark number would be 100 000 magazines sold.
Behind someone’s back
Meaning: to do something without someone’s knowledge
Example: Sue went behind my back and told the manager that I wasn’t finished with the project.
Meaning: the entire perspective of a situation
Example: Daniel focuses on the details and just doesn’t see the big picture.
Meaning: someone who works physically rather than mentally or in an office, like in construction, manufacturing, maintenance etc.
Example: My friend enjoys working at a construction site, he is proud to be a blue collar worker.
By the book
Meaning: in accordance with the company policy
Example: John’s company often gets audited and he wants to make sure everything is done by the book.
Meaning: divided equally
Example: We should split the tasks fifty-fifty and we will manage to do the faster.
Example: So what is our game plan for the Friday negotiations?
Example: A cure for cancer would be a ground breaking invention
In a nut shell
Meaning: to put it briefly, in the fewest word possible
Example: In a nutshell the meeting went great and that company is going to be our new client.
Meaning: something with low probability of success
Example: Winning this tender bid was a long shot, but still it was worth pursuing.
Nine to five
Meaning: refers to a job during normal working hours
Example: I was tired of my nine to five job so I started my own business.
Meaning: an obvious and easy to make decision
Example: Choosing Tom for our team was a no brainer, he is dedicated and hardworking.
Off the top of one’s head
Meaning: to say something without much consideration
Example: If I was to answer off the top of my head I would say that we need to invest more in this project.
On the same page
Meaning: to be in agreement about something, to have the same amount of knowledge on a given subject.
Example: I went over my notes with Flynn, I wanted to check if we were on the same page.
On top of something
Meaning: to control the situation, keep well informed about something
Example: You have to stay on top of this project, if you want it to be finished on time.
Meaning: casual conversation about unimportant topics
Example: I hate making small talk in the elevator on my way to work, I’d much rather get focused for the day.
To call it a day
Meaning: making the decision to stop working for the day
Example: Ok team, we’ve been at this for 12 hours; we should call it a day.
To get back into the swing of things
Meaning: getting used to doing something after you had a break from it.
Example: It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays.
To go the extra mile
Meaning: do more than expected
Example: I like it when my employees go the extra mile and show their dedication to the job.
To go through the roof
Meaning: to increase very quickly
Example: Our numbers went through the roof over night!
To have a lot on one’s plate
Meaning: to have a lot to do or a lot of things to deal with
Example: I couldn’t help Jane with her assignment because I have too much on my plate right now.
To have an ace up one’s sleeve
Meaning: to have an advantage
Example: I should have known John had an ace up his sleeve when he came into these negotiations.
To pull one’s weight
Meaning: to do your share of the task
Example: It’s nice to see everyone pulling their weight in this project.
To pull the plug on something
Meaning: to end something, stop something from continuing
Example: The magazine’s board pulled the plug on my story because too much politics was involved.
To see eye to eye
Meaning: to agree with someone
Example: I don’t see eye to eye with each and every one of my team members, but I respect them.
To think big
Meaning: to plan ambitiously, on a grand scale
Example: I believe we should think big in this case and open three new locations.
To touch base
Meaning: to talk to someone
Example: Greg, can we touch base after the meeting? I’d like to talk something over with you.
Meaning: someone working in an office or mentally rather than physically like a manager, bank clerk or a secretary.
Example: White collar jobs tend to be more stressful the blue collar jobs.
Meaning: someone who agrees to everything their boss says
Example: We are not looking for a yes man for the new position, but someone with their own idea and dedication.
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