Useful Idioms for the World of Business: Part 2

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English is one of the most-used languages in the business world, and if you don’t know what an idiom means you can quickly lose track of the conversation and lose out on opportunities. Here are some popular idioms and what they mean to help get your business ahead of the rest!

Click here for part 1 of our list of business idioms.

  1. to explain something in a nutshell – to explain something in a few words
  2. to get (back) into the swing of things – to get used to/to return to a routine or activity
  3. to get down to business – to stop stalling and begin matters more seriously
  4. to get the pink slip – to get fired
  5. to get/have a foot the door – to gain/have a way in or introduction to a company, organisation, or profession.
  6. to go back to square one/the drawing board – to acknowledge that an idea has been unsuccessful and that you will need to come up with a new one
  7. to go broke – to run out of money/to become bankrupt
  8. to go the extra mile – to put in extra effort
  9. to have the upper hand – to have advantage/control in a situation
  10. to have your hands tied – to have no control over a situation/to have no power to help
  11. to have your work cut out – to be faced with a long or difficult task
  12. to hit the nail on the head – to find exactly the right answer
  13. to keep your ear to the ground – to keep well informed on happenings and trends
  14. to keep your eye on the ball – to remain focussed on your target
  15. to learn the ropes – to learn how to do something/to learn how a place runs
  16. to lose ground – to lose an advantage/to fall behind
  17. to play hardball – to behave in a competitive and merciless way
  18. to put something at stake/to be at stake – to put something at risk/to be at risk
  19. to raise the bar – to set higher standards/expectations
  20. to read between the lines – to infer something that wasn’t directly communicated
  21. to rock the boat – to disrupt an existing situation with the intention of causing problems
  22. to sever ties – to unceremoniously end a relationship
  23. to shoot something down – to reject an idea
  24. to start/get off on the wrong foot – to start something in a negative way
  25. to think outside the box – to think of creative and unconventional solutions
  26. to throw in the towel – to quit
  27. to touch base – to briefly renew contact with someone to check that they are all right/show that you are all right
  28. to twist someone’s arm – to persuade someone to do something they don’t want to do
  29. under the table – done in secret (usually used in reference to illegal deals)
  30. up in the air – undecided

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?

08 Mar 2016
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One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

Terrie Penrose-Toms, Casterton College