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20 Useful Business Idioms and Phrases with Meaning & Examples

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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. Learn 20 Business Idioms and Phrases that are commonly used in English.

Common Business Idioms and Phrases

Business Idioms List

Here is the list of commonly used business idioms and phrases in English:

  • Get one’s foot in the door
  • On a shoestring
  • Jump through hoops
  • Eager beaver
  • Hold the Fort
  • Golden handshake
  • Walking papers
  • Cash cow
  • Bet your bottom dollar
  • Get the ball rolling
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Get the bugs out
  • Think outside the box
  • Hit the ground running
  • All hands on deck
  • Touch base
  • In the black
  • On the ball
  • Shooting the breeze
  • Know the ropes

Idioms about Business with Meaning & Examples

Here is the list of business idioms and phrases with their meaning and examples in English:

1. Get one’s foot in the door

  • Meaning: To get an opening or promising opportunity; to start working at a low level, hoping to progress
  • Example: An internship might not sound very interesting, but it’s a great way to get your foot in the door at this company.

2. On a shoestring

  • Meaning: With very little money; on a very tight budget
  • Example: We lived on a shoestring for years before I got a good-paying job. John traveled to Florida on a shoestring.

3. Jump through hoops

  • Meaning: To do a lot of difficult things before you are allowed to have or do something you want
  • Example: The boss expects the entire staff to jump through hoops for him.

4. Eager beaver

  • Meaning: An enthusiastic person who works very hard
  • Example: Give that big project to the new girl, she’s a real eager beaver.

5. Hold the Fort

  • Meaning: To have the responsibility for something or care of somebody while other people are away or out
  • Example: You should open the store at eight o’clock and hold the fort until I get there at ten.

6. Golden handshake

  • Meaning: A large sum of money that is given to somebody when they leave their job, or to persuade them to leave their job
  • Example: The company’s vice president received a $700,000 golden handshake after being pressured to leave his position.

7. Walking papers

  • Meaning: The letter or notice dismissing somebody from a job
  • Example: The boss gave Jame his walking papers for arriving to work late yet again.

8. Cash cow

  • Meaning: The part of a business that always makes a profit and that provides money for the rest of the business
  • Example: When Danniel purchased stock in that software company 10 years ago, he never expected it to become such a cash cow.

9. Bet your bottom dollar

  • Meaning: Bet all one has on something
  • Example: I would bet my bottom dollar that the accounting manager will be late again today.

10. Get the ball rolling

  • Meaning: Let’s start
  • Example: I got the ball rolling, but no one helped me with the project.

11. Low hanging fruit

  • Meaning: It’s easy to do
  • Example: People who always want to be the first to buy something, they’re low-hanging fruit for this product.

12. Get the bugs out

  • Meaning: Find the mistakes or prevent problems
  • Example: I got the bug out of my system and came back and worked hard to build my career..

13. Think outside the box

  • Meaning: Think of creative, unconventional solutions instead of common ones
  • Example: OK, team, we really need to think outside the box if we’re going to impress the CEO!

14. Hit the ground running

  • Meaning: We need to start the project well
  • Example: We need to hit the ground running with this project.

15. All hands on deck

  • Meaning: Everyone is working extra hard to finish this
  • Example: All hands on deck! We’ve got to roll out this tarp before the rain starts. Now let’s go!

16. Touch base

  • Meaning: Let’s speak again next week
  • Example: John and I touched base on this question yesterday, and we are in agreement.

17. In the black

  • Meaning: Become profitable opposed to being “in the red”
  • Example: I wish my accounts were in the black. Sally moved the company into the black.

18. On the ball

  • Meaning: To be alert and aware
  • Example: My new personal assistant is working out well. He’s really on the ball.

19. Shooting the breeze

  • Meaning: Talking casually without purpose
  • Example: We spent the entire afternoon just shooting the breeze.

20. Know the ropes

  • Meaning: Have knowledge of
  • Example: Don’t worry about Sara’s taking over that reporter’s job-she already knows the ropes.

Commonly Used Business Idioms and Phrases | Image

Here is the list of business idioms and phrases with ESL images. 

Business Idioms and Phrases


Tuesday 11th of May 2021