Most common business idioms list

by | Last updated Jan 20, 2024 | English Learning

 Common business idioms for this article. If you’re aiming for professional growth in English, give it a read!

I’ve collected ten commonly used business idioms for this article. You might be familiar with some, whether from American films and TV shows or from your workplace experience.

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Eager beaver

A phrase employed to characterize an individual who is extremely diligent or passionately committed to a task.

  •         His father wasn’t an eager beaver, so he had to work hard from an early age.

Wear many hats

To bear numerous responsibilities. This expression can also signify the amalgamation of duties or the execution of a diverse range of tasks.

For instance, within a small company, numerous employees shoulder multiple responsibilities and engage in various tasks.

  •         Our company is small so the employees need to be flexible and understand that they need to wear many hats.

 Given the pink slip

To be terminated from employment. When an individual is fired, it is expressed as being “given the pink slip.”

  •         They gave him the pink slip. He wasn’t doing his job very well.
  •         Martin got the pink slip. His project failed.

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians

This expression conveys the idea that there is an excess of bosses or supervisors and a shortage of individuals to carry out the actual work.

  •         There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians in this agency.

Down the drain

This phrase alludes to something that has been squandered. Similar expressions in English include throwing money, time, or effort to the wind.

  •         His years of research went down the drain when the company went bankrupt.

Keep one’s head above water

This expression is employed in the context of navigating a challenging financial situation that is teetering on the brink of collapse. “Keeping one’s head above water” signifies the effort to sustain the operation of a business.

  •         Our business is bad. I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to keep our heads above water.

Cutting edge

This phrase is utilized to depict the latest, most advanced stage of development in a particular field, particularly in reference to technology, medicine, science, and so on.

  •         The company is at the cutting edge of aeronautics.

 A dead duck

This expression pertains to a poorly conceived plan or event that is destined to fail, rendering it unworthy of discussion.

  •         Your plan is a dead duck. It won’t work!

 Sell ice to Eskimos

In English, this phrase signifies persuading someone to act contrary to their own interests or to purchase something they don’t actually require.

  •         Billy is a great salesman. He can sell ice to Eskimos.

What business-related idioms are you familiar with? Share your responses in the comments!

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