English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Business - Work
|ace up your sleeve||If you have an
ace up your sleeve, you have something
in reserve with which you can gain an
Our new product is an ace up our sleeve.
|hold all the aces||A person who
holds all the aces is in a very strong
position because they have more advantages
than anyone else.
Given the high unemployment rates today, employers hold all the aces.
|ambulance chaser||A lawyer who finds
work by persuading people injured in
accidents to claim money from the person who
caused the accident is called an
Peterson and Scott are well-known ambulance chasers - that's how they make their money!
|back to the salt mines||Saying that you have to go back to
the sale mines is a humorous way of
talking about returning to work, usually
with some reluctance.
We get two days off at Christmas and then it's back to the salt mines!
|bait and switch||This term refers to a deceptive
commercial practice of advertising
a low-priced item to attract customers, then telling them that the product is out of stock and persuading them to buy a more expensive article.
This store is famous for its bait and switch tactics.
|in the black||To say that a person or organisation is in the black means that they are financially sound, have a positive balance on their account and that they owe no money.|
|black market||The black
market refers to the illegal buying and
selling of goods or currencies.
Be careful of what you buy on the black market - it's not always good quality.
|blamestorming||A discussion among a group of people who
try to determine who
or what is to blame for a particular mistake, failure or wrongdoing, is called 'blamestorming'.
A blamestorming session took place following the unfavourable reviews in the press.
|blank cheque||If you give someone a blank cheque,
you authorize them to do what they think is
best in a difficult situation.
Tom was given a blank cheque and told to negotiate the best deal possible.
|blue chip company||This term refers to a company with a
solid reputation for the quality of its
products and the stability of its growth and
It's usually safe to invest in a blue chip company.
|above board||If a situation or business is described
as above board, it is open, honest
There are not secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board.
|boil the ocean||To “boil the ocean” means
to waste time on a task or project that is unnecessary,
not worth doing or impossible to achieve.
“I expect you to do the job well but don’t try to boil the ocean!”
|get down to brass tacks||When people get down to brass tacks,
they start to discuss the essential aspects
of a problem or situation.
The situation was so serious that after a few polite exchanges they quickly got down to brass tacks.
|break your back||If you work extremely hard, or put a lot
of effort into achieving something, you
break your back to do it.
If you want the job done well, you should accept to pay more. He's not going to break his back for such a low price!
|bricks and mortar / bricks and clicks||An established trading company
(office/shop) is referred to as a
'Click companies' refer to internet-based operations.
Companies which do both are called 'bricks and clicks'.
Click businesses are usually more flexible than brick-and-mortar operations.
Alphabetical lists :