15 Most Common Business Idioms You Should Know
business idioms

15 Most Common Business Idioms You Should Know

There are many idioms used in the business World.  If you don’t understand these expressions, it’s easy to get lost in a conversation.  Below is a table of 15 most common idioms used at work.

List of Most Common Business Idioms

No. Idioms Explanation
1 Yes man A person who always agrees with his boss.

E.g. ‘Being a yes man keeps me out of trouble, and it might even lead to a promotion!”

2 Call it a day To quit work and go home; to say that a day’s work has been completed.

E.g. “I’m tired. Let’s call it a day.”

The boss was mad because Bill called it a day at noon.”

3 Hit the nail on the head To identify something exactly; to arrive at exactly the right answer.

E.g. “He hit the nail on the head when he said the problem was the thermostat”

4 Grey area (UK) / Gray area (US) Means something that is not clearly defined and needs careful judgement.

E.g. “It exists in a grey area between legal and illegal.”

“It’s a grey area isn’t it?” (Meaning the speaker is talking about an unsure concept).

5 Get the ball rolling To begin; to start some action; to set in motion.

E.g. We really need to get the ball rolling on this project. The deadline is in October, and it’s already September.

6 Back to the Drawing Board Means that a previously established plan isn’t working and that it is time to re-plan.

E.g. “My job interview went horribly! I have to go back to the drawing board.”

7 Thumbs Up Shows that someone or something is good, especially when it comes to a performance or action with good results.

E.g. “That’s good. You deserve a big thumbs up for such a great presentation!”

8 Big picture Means the overall perspective or objective, not the fine detail.

E.g. “Although we all have all specific tasks to do, our leader makes sure we don’t lose sight of the big picture.”

9 On the ball To be Alert, active, or attentive; on top of things.

e.g. “If I had been more on the ball I would have asked when he called me.”

10 On the same page  In broad agreement, or sharing a common general understanding or knowledge

E.g. “I want to make sure we’re all on the same page with this new project.”

11 Ground-breaking Means innovative, different than other things of its type.

E.g. “This product is certainly a ground-breaking technology.”

12 Read between the lines To infer a meaning that is not stated explicitly

e.g. “If you read between the lines a little, you will realize that he has deeper motives”

13 Put the cart before the horse To put things in the wrong order or with the wrong priorities; to put something inconsequential as more important than something more essential.

E.g. “There’s no point trying to write the report when you haven’t got a clear idea of what to write. You don’t want to put the cart before the horse.”

14 See someone’s point Means that you understand their reason for having a certain opinion, or for feeling a certain way.

E.g. “Yes, I see your point. Let me double-check that and get back with you.”

15 Get down to work To get serious and focus on what you need to do to accomplish a challenging goal

E.g. “You know what, Harry? You just need to get down to work!”


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Author: Sophia
Category: Business, Editor Picks, English, Speaking Lessons, Vocabulary
Date: April 13, 2016