10 Business Idioms you might want to know

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Today I’m going to share some Idioms, which are commonly used in the corporate world but you may not be familiar with. If you already know all the idioms on this list, you can smile, congratulate yourself, and look forward to my next tip 🙂 The usage of some of these idioms is more prominent in the US.

According to Wikipedia, an idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be determined by the literal definition of the phrase itself, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use. Idioms don’t usually cross language boundaries. In some cases, when an idiom is translated into another language, the meaning of the idiom is changed or does not make any sense as it once did in another language. Idioms are probably the hardest thing for a person to learn in the process of learning a new language. This is because most people grow up using idioms as if their true meanings actually make sense.


10 Business Idioms you might want to know


1. Ballpark figure: A ballpark figure is a rough or approximate number (guesstimate) to give a general idea of something, like a rough estimate for a cost, etc.

2. Bite the bullet: To make a difficult or painful decision; to take a difficult step. Example: When demand was down, companies had to bite the bullet and cut jobs. Origin: This idiom comes from the military. During the Civil War in the United States, doctors sometimes ran out of whiskey for killing the pain. A bullet would be put in the wounded soldier’s mouth during surgery. He would “bite the bullet” to distract him from the pain and keep him quiet so the doctor could do his work in peace.

3. Blow the whistle: If somebody blows the whistle on a plan, they report it to the authorities.

4. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s: To be very careful; to pay attention to details. Example: When preparing financial statements, accuracy is very important. Be sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

5. 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.

6. Heads will roll: If heads will roll, people will be punished or sacked for something that has gone wrong.

7. Lip service:  If you pay lip service to an idea or cause, you give verbal support or approval but fail to actually do anything. “In spite of promising equal pay for women, the management is suspected of  paying lip service to the promotion of women’s rights.”

8. Moot point: If something’s a moot point, there’s some disagreement about it: a debatable point. In the U.S., this expression usually means that there is no point in debating something, because it just doesn’t matter. An example: If you are arguing over whether to go the beach or to the park, but you find out the car won’t start and you can’t go anywhere, then the destination is said to be a moot point.

9. Pull rank: A person of higher position or in authority pulls rank, he or she exercises his/her authority, generally ending any discussion and ignoring other people’s views.

10. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing: This expression means that communication within a group or organization is so bad that people don’t know what the others are doing.

Do not limit your knowledge to a handful of idioms. I’m suggesting a wonderful website that has more than 3,500 commonly used English idioms from around the world. Bookmark this site and refer to it as often as possible. Use idioms to spice up your communication, but make sure you don’t sound like ‘Smart Alec’ !



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