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15 Common Business Idioms & Phrases You Need to Know

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In the corporate world, there are several idioms and phrases you are likely to encounter every day. And unfortunately, it's easy to become lost in a discussion if you don't know these idioms. 

Don't worry, as this article lists 15 widely-used business idioms and phrases, so you can speak English like a native! 

Here are business idioms and phrases in English, along with their definitions and examples: 


1. "KNOW THE ROPES"

Definition: Become well-versed in a topic or a process

Example: It's been only a week since the start of her employment, yet Sara already knows the ropes at work. 


2. "GET THE BALL ROLLING"

Definition: Get things started 

Example: I got the ball rolling, but no one offered to assist me with the project.


3. "ON A SHOESTRING" 

Definition: On a limited budget

Definition: Before I acquired a good-paying job, we lived on a shoestring for years. 


4. "GET ONE’S FOOT IN THE DOOR"

Definition: To find an opening or a potential chance; to begin working at a low level with the hopes of moving up

Example: An internship may not seem exciting, but it's a terrific opportunity to get your foot in the door at this organization.


5. "THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX"

Definition: Think of unique resolutions instead of common ones

Example: If we want to impress the CEO, we'll have to think outside the box!


6. "WORK OUT THE BUGS"

Definition: Find the errors or mistakes to avoid problems 

Example: I worked the bugs out of my strategy, so now we can implement it.


7. "TOUCH BASE"

Definition: Discussed or spoke about a topic

Example: John and I need to touch base tomorrow on this issue. 


OLC


8. "HOLD THE FORT"

Definition: To be in charge of something or someone while others are away 

Example: You should open the store at 8:00 a.m. and hold the fort until I arrive at 10:00 a.m.


9. "JUMP THROUGH HOOPS"

Definition: To go through a series of challenging tasks before being granted the permission to have or accomplish anything you desire

Example: The boss expects the whole team to jump through hoops for him.


10. "CASH COW"

Definition: The part of a business that creates the most considerable profit 

Example: Daniel never imagined a software company becoming such a cash cow when he bought shares ten years ago.


11. "EAGER BEAVER"

Definition: A passionate person who works extremely hard 

Example: The boss gave that critical assignment to the new employee because she's an eager beaver.


12. "ON THE BALL"

Definition: To be aware

Example: My new executive assistant is performing admirably. He's always on the ball


13. "SHOOT THE BREEZE" 

Definition: To chat casually 

Example: The whole meeting yesterday wasn’t very focused. All we did was shoot the breeze


14. "GOLDEN HANDSHAKE"

Definition: A significant quantity of money paid to someone when they leave their work, or to induce them to quit their employment

Example: After being forced to leave his job, the company's vice president received a $900,000 golden handshake.


15. "WALKING PAPERS" 

Definition: A letter or notice of termination 

Example: James was given walking papers for being late to work again.


We hope you enjoyed learning these idioms and their meanings. Which ones have you already heard in your office? One of the best ways to learn about American slang is to break down common idioms with a slang expert. 

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