Wednesday, March 10, 2010

English idioms relating to BUSINESS - WORK

Have an ace up your sleeve.

If you have an ace up your sleeve, it means that you have something in reserve with which you can gain an advantage.

Hold all the aces

A person who holds all the aces is in a very strong position because they have more advantages than anyone else. "Given the high unemployment figures in some countries, employers hold all the aces."

Ambulance chaser

This terms refers to a lawyer who finds work by persuading people injured in accidents to claim money from the person who caused the accident. "Peterson & Scott are well-known ambulance chasers - that's how they make their money!"

Bait and switch

This term refers to a deceptive commercial practice of advertising a low-priced item to attract customers, then telling them that the product is out of stock and persuading them to buy a more expensive article. "This store is famous for its bait and switch tactics."


A discussion among a group of people, who try to determine who or what is to blame for a particular mistake, failure or wrongdoing, is called 'blamestorming'. "A blamestorming session took place following the unfavourable reviews in the press."

A blank cheque

If you give someone a blank cheque, you authorize them to do what they think is best in a difficult situation. "Tom was given a blank cheque and told to negotiate the best deal possible."

Blue chip company

This term refers to a company with a solid reputation for the quality of its products and the stability of its growth and earnings. "It's usually safe to invest in a blue-chip company.

Above board

If a situation or business is described as above board, it is open, honest and legal. "There are no secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board."

Get down to brass tacks

People who get down to brass tacks start to discuss and deal with the practical details of something "It was decided to get down to brass tacks and discuss the cost of the project."

Get the show on the road

If you manage to put a plan or idea into action, you get the show on the road. "OK! We've got all we need, so let's get the show on the road!"

Bricks and mortar/ bricks and clicks

An established trading company (office/shop) is referred to as a 'brick-and-mortar' business. 'Click companies' refer to Internet-based operations. Companies which do both are called 'bricks and clicks'. "Click businesses are usually more flexible than brick-and-mortar operations."

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