In Science By Elena

Business idioms. 20 idioms from the business world in the English language

Idioms in English — very interesting and at the same time a complex topic to study. And as English idioms is saturated, they should pay particular attention.

What is an idiom? This stable expression peculiar to a specific language, the value of which is not determined by the value of certain words in its composition. For example, «put foot in it» — to be trapped, to sit in the overshoe, plunge. Do not try to translate individual words, just memorize the correct value of the whole idiom as the indivisible unit.

Start small. For example, the 20 business idioms greatly enrich your speech, and pictures will help to remember their meanings.

Idioms Meaning Translation Example
Dead wood
People or things that are no longer useful or productive; the employees that are losing a company money. Ballast, something useless, useless. We need to cut out the dead wood ASAP (as soon as possible).
Put / stick your oar in
To involve yourself in a discussion or a situation when other people do not want you to. Insert five cents; interfere, meddle (in conversation). You should not have stuck your oar in when we were arguing with our colleagues.
Bean counter
A person, such as an accountant or financial officer, who is concerned with quantification. Accountant, bookkeeper, man driving conditions. Today two bean counters are here to help us with our taxes.
Rat race
A fierce struggle for success, especially in one’s career or business. The frenzied pursuit of wealth, competition is fierce. I am fed up with / about the rat race.
One who does menial work; a drudge. Errand boy, «Bring hither» (the person who performs any work at the office for a small fee (buy office supplies, runs Cartridge …)). The dogsbody was half an hour late today.
Sushy job
An easy, comfortable job. Cushy job of work, «tёplenkoe place.» She lost such a cushy job.
Get the boot
To be dismissed. Being laid off. I guess you got the boot after that painful incident.
A Mickey Mouse job
A job done incorrectly in an extremely poor manner using the simplest, easiest, cheapest and fastest way possible. Hack, frivolous hastily done job. It’s a Mickey Mouse job — you ought to be ashamed.
Lip service
Hypocritical respect. Lip-service, empty words. Although he paid lip service to their views, he was enrolled.
Any product you have just purchased and it’s no good. (Probably leaving a bad or bitter taste in your mouth like a lemon). Junk, has poor product (often used in relation to low-quality older machines). We bought that new car but it turned out to be a lemon.
Cash cow
A product or investment that steadily continues to be profitable. Reliable source of money, a cash cow. Any independent entrepreneur longs for a cash cow product.
Ideas hamster
A person with a creative, inventive mind who is constantly churning out new ideas. Idea’s generator. Why do not we ask our ideas hamster? He knows how to help us hit upon an idea.
Basket case
A company or a person who is in such bad condition that they are beyond help. Anyone or anything that is in poor, run-down condition; a weak, feeble man. After the third business meeting I was practically a basket case.
Stress Puppy
A person who thrives on stress, yet constantly complains about it. Person, thriving in stressful situations. She must be the only stress puppy in the company.
Seagull Manager
Someone who is brought to in a company to deal with a problem or make changes, achieves nothing, annoys everyone and then leaves. Type of manager who swoops, noise and flies away, leaving behind devastation and chaos. She was irritated at being taught by a seagull manager.
Empty suit
Someone who is high up in a company due to unfair hiring practices, such as nepotism, and does not really do anything for the company, someone who is not particularly good at their job. An employee who does not perform important work, can not cope with it and settled on patronage. It’s about time we told our chief about her inefficient execution — she’s just an empty suit.
An idler. Man equivocate, evade work duties, net, lazy, hack. These goldbrickers must be dismissed for laziness.
Happy camper
A person who is pleased with the situation in which s / he finds him / herself. Often used ironically or in understatement, especially in the negative. Enough people are pleased (ironic.). The employees given some overwork were not a bunch of happy campers.
1). Waste of money, brain and time.
2). A strange (weird, odd, unusual) person.
1). «Dummy» (the program, not worth the cost of money, brains and time).
2) A strange man, a strange personality.
1). Turn off the WOMBAT.
2) He is thought to be a wombat.
Mover and shaker
A powerful person who initiates events and influences people. The first person, an influential person. It’s important to hang out with the movers and shakers of the business world.

Improve your knowledge of the language, using the idioms through which your speech will be colorful, exciting and closest to the speech of educated speakers.

Match the above mentioned business idioms on the left with their meanings on the right.

1. Lemon a). One that is burdensome or superfluous.
2. Goldbricker b). To add one’s comments or opinion, even if unwanted or unasked for.
3. Mickey Mouse job c). A bookkeeper.
4. A happy camper d). An exhausting, usually competitive routine.
5. Ideas hamster e). A drudge.
6. Lip service f). A well-paid and easy job.
7. Wombat g). To be discharged.
8. Mover and shaker h). A slapdash job.
9. Get the boot i). Trash, junk.
10. Empty suit j). A steady dependable source of funds or income.
eleven. Cash cow k). A person who is employed as a source of new ideas.
12. Stress puppy l). If someone describes a country or organization as a …, they mean that its economy or finances are in a seriously bad state.
13. Dead wood m). An expression of agreement, unsupported by real action.
14. Put / stick your oar in n). A person who appears to thrive on being stressed, yet whines about it.
15. Seagull manager o). Someone who makes themselves out to be much more able or important than they really are.
16. Dogsbody p). A comfortable, contented person.
17. Bean counter q). A shirker.
18. Basket case r). A term used to describe a management style of interacting with employees only when a problem arises, making hasty decisions about things they have little understanding of, then leaving others to deal with the mess they leave behind.
19. Rat race s). Waste of money, brain and time.
20. Cushy job t). One who wields power and influence in a sphere of activity.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
i). q). h). p). k). m). s). t). g). o).
eleven. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.
j). n). a). b). r). e). c). l). d). f).

I invite you to visit my blog about the English language — English Voyage.



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