Let’s begin our A-Z Business idioms list Let’s. Take a look at some of the most common business idioms and expressions used in English in alphabetical order with picture examples.


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a big fish in a small pond

meaning – someone who is important in a small area
example – Joe was a big fish in a small pond, when he went to uni, that all changed.

Business idioms and expressions - a big fish in a small pond

a close call

meaning – a narrow escape from danger/disaster
example – It was a close call, but we got to the gate a minute before it closed.

business idioms - a close call

a drop in the ocean

meaning – A small amount compared to what is required
example – My signature is only a drop in the ocean. The campaign needs 100,000.

business expressions - a drop in the ocean

A for effort

meaning – someone has tried hard even though they might not have succeeded
example – I’ll give you an A for effort but cook the pasta a little more next time.

Business idioms and expressions - A for effort

a game changer

meaning – something that has a huge impact on a situation in a good way
example – My new air fryer is a game changer. I can use it for everything.

A-Z Business Idioms List - a game changer meaning

a game plan

meaning – a strategy for reaching a goal
example – My new restaurant isn’t making a profit, I need a new game plan.

a safe bet

meaning – certain to happen/win/succeed, confidence can be placed in the outcome
example – Getting an engineering degree is a safe bet, it’s a good profession.

business idiom - a safe bet

a two-horse race

meaning – a competition where there are only two teams/candidates with a chance of winning
example – The election is turning into a two-horse race.

business idiom - a two-horse race

above average

meaning – better than normal
example – The film wasn’t even above average, it was below average in my opinion.

business idioms - above average

above board

meaning – legal, honest
example – I’ve got a new business opportunity. It’s all above board, would you like to know more?

Business idioms and expressions - above board

across the board

meaning – including everything and everyone in a particular group
example – New punctuality rules apply across the board. If your late, your wages will be docked.

business phrases - across the board

add fuel to the fire/flames

meaning – do/say something to make a bad situation even worse
example – The burglar added fuel to the flames by resisting arrest.

business sayings in English- add fuel to the fire/flames

add insult to injury

meaning – something happens to make a bad situation worse
example – I had to work bank holiday Monday. To add insult to injury, I didn’t get paid time and a half.

business idioms - add insult to injury

against all odds

meaning – something happens although it seemed very likely to fail
example – Against all odds, he made a full recovery.

business phrases - against all odds

ahead of the game

meaning – gain/maintain an advantage over your competitors
example – The Japanese are always ahead of the game when it comes to technology.

business idioms - ahead of the game

ahead of the pack

meaning – in front of/more successful than your competitors
example – In tomorrow’s meeting, we’ll discuss some new ideas. We need to stay ahead of the pack.

business expressions in English - ahead of the pack

all done and dusted

meaning – completely finished
example – I’ll have the report all done and dusted and on your desk by the end of the day.

business sayings in English - all done and dusted

all ears

meaning – ready and eager to listen
example – I’ve got a proposition for you, when you’re all ears, I’ll begin.

business expressions in English - all ears

all hands on deck

meaning – everyone is needed to help
example – The order has to be finished by Monday so it’s all hands on deck to complete it.

business sayings - all hands on deck

another bite of the cherry

meaning – another chance/opportunity to do something
example – You don’t often get another bite of the cherry. Don’t mess up this time.

Business idioms and expressions - another bite of the cherry

appeal to someone’s better nature

meaning – ask for mercy/sympathy
example – I spoke to your dad and appealed to his better nature. He’s agreed to let you go to the concert.

business expressions in English- asleep at the wheel

asleep at the wheel

meaning – not paying attention to one’s work/responsibilities
example – We missed the deadline because you were asleep at the wheel.

Business idioms and expressions list - asleep at the wheel

at sea

meaning – confused about something
example – We’re at sea about whether to stay in our house or buy a bigger one.

business idioms - at sea meaning

at sixes and sevens

meaning – confused/disordered
example – The country is at sixes and sevens. No one knows what state it will be in next year.

Business idioms and expressions - at sixes and sevens meaning

at stake

meaning – at risk of being lost/stolen/damaged etc.
example – More than 3,000 jobs are at stake if the airline goes into liquidation.

business sayings in English - at stake

at the drop of a hat

meaning – do something without hesitation/immediately
example – If Hannah becomes single, I’d ask her out at the drop of a hat.

Business idioms and expressions list - at the drop of a hat

at this stage in the game

meaning – the current point in a situation/process
example – I can’t say anything at this stage in the game. All will be revealed in a few weeks.

business phrases list- at this stage in the game