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Business Idioms

Average: 3 (22 votes)

Whether we like it or not, the English speaking workplace is overflowing with idioms.

Are you trying to "climb the corporate ladder" (to advance in your career )? Is the "rat race" (the struggle for success, especially in career or business) making you crazy? If your project is in trouble, who'll "bail you out" (to help someone out of a difficult situation)? Will you "pass the buck" (to pass the blame to someone else) if your project fails?

7 Business Idioms

Yes man - someone who agrees with everything their boss or leader says in order to please them
Compare apples to oranges - to examine the similarities of things that are completely different (usually used to explain that two things cannot be compared)
Jump the gun - to do something too soon, especially without thinking carefully about it
Down to the wire - until the very last moment that it is possible to do something
Pull the plug - to stop something from continuing
Brownie points - to get praise or approval for something you have done
Bite the bullet - to do or accept something difficult or unpleasant

Fill in the blanks below with an appropriate idiom:

  • 1. Larry will never tell his boss how he really feels about this project. He’s just a ___.

  • 2. I told Mary to cancel Saturday’s party because I had a business meeting scheduled, but I ___ because the day after I talked to her, the meeting was cancelled.

  • 3. The proposal is due in three hours! You’re really working ___, aren’t you?

  • 4. I guess Jenny’s not going to make it into work today. Looks like I’ll have to ___ and do the presentation for her, even though I don’t know much about it.

  • 5. There’s not enough money for the project, so the boss is ___.

  • 6. Martha scored ___ with her team leader when she offered to stay late and finish the project.

  • 7. When the economy began to worsen, many executives ___ and took a pay cut.

  • 8. Mark really ___ when he accused Larry of stealing his marketing ideas! It turns out that Larry proposed that advertising campaign over a month ago.

  • 9. When the boss found out that the project was R40 million over budget, he ___ and fired the project manager.

  • 10. Our end of the year report is due at 4:00 pm today. I was out sick all week with the flu, so now I’m really going to have to work ___.