20 Business Idioms and Phrases That Are Commonly Used

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...


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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.

Commonly Used Business Idioms and Phrases

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

Business Idioms and Phrases


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