26 Idioms You Can Use At Work

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In this Facebook Live session, Amnah shares 26 idioms that you can use at work! Watch the replay here.

Or listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

These are the idioms shared in the session:

1. against the clock

trying very hard to finish something before a particular time

Lina is working against the clock to meet the deadline.

2. build bridges

to help two people, groups, or countries who have disagreed to have a more friendly relationship

She played a key role in building bridges between senior management and low-level managers.

3. call it a day/night

to decide that you have finished doing something

After spending five hours on the report, Din was ready to call it a day.

4. do the trick

to do what is needed in order to achieve something

Her remedy certainly did the trick.

5. every cloud has a silver lining

used for saying that there is usually a good aspect of a bad situation

Though he had lost his job, he realised that every cloud has a silver lining, as now he could focus his attention on his side business.

6. face the music

to accept punishment or criticism for something you have done wrong

If you don’t complete the project on time, you will have to face the music when the boss asks for a status report.

7. get the picture

to understand something, especially something that someone tells you indirectly

‘He can be difficult, if you know what I mean.’

‘OK, I get the picture.’

8. have a lot on your plate

to have a lot of/enough/too many things to worry about or deal with

Being a single mother with three kids and a full-time job, she’s got a lot on her plate.

9. in a nutshell

used for saying that you are going to express something in a simple direct way

To put it in a nutshell, we lost the case.

10. join the club

used for telling someone that you understand an unpleasant situation they are in, because you are in the same situation

‘There is so much to do. I feel completely overwhelmed.’

Join the club.’

11. keep an eye on

to look after someone or something

Will you keep an eye on things here until I get back?

12. like clockwork

happening or working correctly, with no problems or delays

The launch event went ahead like clockwork.

13. matter of time

used for saying that something will certainly happen

It’s only a matter of time before he finds it now.

14. nine-to-five

a nine-to-five job is a normal office job, in which you usually work from nine o’clock until five o’clock

She left her nine-to-five job to start her own business.

15. one of a kind

used for saying that someone or something is completely different from other people or things

My engagement ring was handcrafted so it’s one of a kind.

16. pipe dream

something you wish for that can never really happen

His plan for starting his own business was just a pipe dream.

17. quick fix

something that can be done quickly in order to solve a problem or repair something that is broken though it may not last long

Investors will need to be patient and not expect any quick fixes.

18. race against time

a situation in which someone must do or finish something very quickly because they only have a limited amount of time to do it

With only two days before the competition, they find themselves in a race against time.

19. sell like hotcakes

to be sold quickly and in large quantities

The tickets are selling like hotcakes.

20. tall order

something very difficult that someone expects you to do

To score four goals in one game is a tall order, even for him.

21. under pressure

 in a state of stress or anxiety because of having too much to do OR being made to feel forced to do something

They both work well under pressure.

The mayor is under pressure to resign.

22. vanish into thin air

to disappear completely in a way that is mysterious

The papers seem to have vanished into thin air.

23. walk on eggs/eggshells

to be very careful how you behave around someone because you might easily make them angry or upset

We’re all walking on eggshells around her since her cat died.

24. X marks the spot

a phrase to show the exact location

I showed her the tree and told her; ‘X marks the spot’.

25. you name it

used after a list for saying that most other things of the same type are also possible or available

The camp offers horse riding, tennis, water sports, you name it.

26. zero-sum game

 a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it

You will have to accept defeat because this is a zero-sum game and I am going to win no matter what.

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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