English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Employment - Jobs
|above and beyond the call of duty||If a person does
something which is
above and beyond the call of duty, they
show a greater degree of courage or effort
than is usually required or expected in
The fire-fighter received a medal for his action which went above and beyond the call of duty.
This term refers to people who do important
work but have no contact with the public.
Back-room boys don't always receive the credit they deserve for their work.
|brain drain||The departure of highly qualified people (scientists, engineers, etc.) for other countries, where they have better opportunities and usually better pay, is called the brain drain.|
|busman's holiday||A busman's holiday is when you
spend your spare time or your holidays doing
the same sort of activity as you do in your
My husband is a chef, so for him time off with the family is often a busman's holiday!
|cream of the crop||This expression refers to the best
people or things in a particular group.
As usual, the cream of the crop of this year's graduates were offered the best jobs.
|dead wood||The term dead wood refers to
people or things which are no longer
considered useful or necessary.
The new manager wants to reduce costs by cutting out the dead wood.
|on the dole||A person who receives financial
assistance from the government when they are
unemployed is on the dole.
Their father is on the dole so the family is living on a tight budget.
|dream ticket||If you refer to two people as a
dream ticket, you think they would work
well together and be successful.
Two world champions teaming up for the children's fund-raising project would be a dream ticket.
|duty bound||If you are duty bound to do
something, you are required to do it
as part of your obligations.
Teachers are duty bound to report a pupil's absence from school.
|earn while you learn||This expression refers to the
possibility of earning a salary while in
Become an apprentice and get paid while in training. Earn while you learn!
|firing line||Someone who is in the firing line
is in a position to be criticized because of
their responsibilities or the position they
The managing director of the bank is in the firing line since the fraud was discovered.
|get the axe||If someone gets the axe, they
lose their job.
When a company is restructured, the senior staff are often the first to get the axe.
|golden handcuffs||The term golden handcuffs refers to a large sum of money or a generous financial arrangement granted to an executive as an incentive to stay in their job, or to ensure long-term cooperation after their departure.|
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