English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Money - Finance - Wealth
This expression refers to a quick
approximate calculation done informally, as
on the back of an envelope.
I don't need the exact amount. Just give me a back-of-the-envelope calculation.
If someone gives a
ballpark figure, they give an
approximate number or a rough estimate of
the cost of something.
I don't know exactly how much it will cost, but a ballpark figure would be around $100 000.
|bet your bottom dollar||
If you bet your bottom dollar on
something, you are absolutely certain of it.
Jack is very punctual. You can bet your bottom dollar he'll be here at 9 o'clock on the dot.
|tighten your belt||If you need to
tighten your belt, you must spend your
money carefully because there is less
Another bill? I'll have to tighten my belt this month!
|born with a silver spoon in your mouth||A person who is
born with a silver spoon in their mouth
is born into a very rich family.
She never has to worry about money; she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
|on the breadline||People who live
on the breadline have a very low income
or barely enough money to survive.
Due to the recent crisis, there are more people on the breadline than
|burn your fingers||If you burn your fingers (or
get your fingers burnt), you suffer
financially as a result of foolish
Jack got his fingers burnt playing on the stock market.
|cash cow||A product or
service which is a regular source of income
for a company is called a cash cow.
His latest invention turned out to be a real cash cow.
|cash in your chips||If you cash in
your chips, you sell something,
especially shares, either because you need
the money or because you think the value is
going to fall.
Andy cashed in his chips as soon as business started to slow down.
|chicken feed||An amount of money considered small or
unimportant is called
I got a job during the holidays but the pay was chicken feed.
|other side of the coin||When you want to mention a different or
contradictory aspect of a situation, you
refer to the other side of the coin.
The house is lovely and spacious, but the other side of the coin is that it is far from shops and schools.
|cost an arm and a leg||If something
costs an arm and a leg, it is very
The house cost us an arm and a leg, but we have no regrets.
|cost the earth||If something
costs the earth, it is very expensive
She wears designer clothes that must cost the earth!
|at all costs||If you are
determined to obtain or achieve something
at all costs, you want it
regardless of the expense, effort or
The journalist was determined at all costs to get a report from the war zone.
|cut one's losses||If you end or withdraw from something
that is already failing, in order to reduce
the loss of money, time or effort invested
you cut your losses.
The project is heading for failure. Let's cut our losses before it's too late.
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