15 Business Idioms Commonly used in the American Workplace

August 4, 2016
4 August 2016,
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Business idioms or Business Jargon is a critical component of workplace communications in the US. If you an English learner or an International student just starting work in the US, you will probably be confused on many of these expressions.  Business idioms are challenging because they depend heavily on culture, history, sports such as baseball and football etc so if you are new to America, you will not find it easy to understand some of these idioms.

At Spoken English Practice, we encourage students to expand their knowledge of Business idioms through practice and application, not memorization. We want students to practice real Conversational English with Native English speakers. This is the ONLY method they learn remember things like Business Idioms in the long term.

 15 Business Idioms Commonly used in the American Workplace

Talk shop

How it is used:

Ann and Chris were talking shop, even in the middle of the wedding ceremony.

What it means:

Talk shop means talk business

 

Rocket science

How it is used:

Building an iPhone app isn’t exactly rocket science these days

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why our sales have gone down

What it means:

Rocket science refers to something that is very complicated to understand.

 

The ball is on your court

How it is used:

We have finished testing and everything is working. The ball is in your court now!

What it means:

You have to do something now or it is your decision now.

 

The floor is all yours

How it is used:

“The floor is all yours” Mark said finishing his last slide. It was time for John to present his slides.

What it means:

You are now the speaker

 

Get the ball rolling

How it is used:

My boss wants me to get the ball rolling on the new press release.

What it means:

To get started

 

Improve Spoken English Naturally

Up to speed

How it is used:

Are you up to speed with a new FDA regulations?

Can you please bring to up to speed on the project?

What it means:

familiar with the latest updates/information

 

On the back burner

How it is used:

We had to put that project on the back burner due to the lack of resources

 

What it means:

To give low priority/importance to something

 

Back to the drawing board

How it is used:

The prototype did not work as expected, so we had to go back to the drawing board

What it means:

To go back to the start/come up with a new idea

Learn the ropes

How it is used:

It should not take you long to learn the ropes

What it means:

To learn something new

To be on the same wave length

How it is used:

Great! We are exactly on the same wave length.

What it means:

To be thinking the same thing

 

Throw him under the bus

How it is used:

Susan felt as if she was getting thrown under the bus for the mistake her boss made

What it means:

To sacrifice another person for your own safety

Long haul

How it is used:

Getting the project approved is likely to be a long haul

What it means:

Difficult task that takes a long time

 

Burn the mid night oil

How it is used:

Gary felt he was burning mid night oil on a project that was never going to happen

What it means:

Working over time/working more than he should

Bottleneck

How it is used:

The shortage of engineers is the greatest bottleneck for the growth of our country

What it means:

Something that slows down the rest of the process

To be swamped

How it is used:

I have been swamped with work due to the new client.

What it means:

Very busy/overwhelmed due to having more work