Let’s take a look at some of the most common business idioms and expressions used in English in alphabetical order. This page contains the idioms from A – C with picture examples.

Don’t forget to click on the links at the bottom for the rest.

business idioms and expressions beginning with D

Let’s kick this huge list off with common business idioms and expressions beginning with ‘D’.

  • debt-ridden – owe lots of money, have lots of debt
    There are lots of debt-ridden countries in the world.
  • deep pockets – have lots of money
    We can’t spend too much on advertising. We’re a new business with not very deep pockets.
  • diamond in the rough – top quality but needs a polish/refinement
    I went to a gig last night; the singer was a diamond in the rough.
  • do a roaring trade – sell lots of goods very quickly
    Our cheese stall did a roaring trade at the summer fete. We sold out within two hours.
  • dog-eat-dog world – ruthless unethical behaviour used to become successful in the working world
    Being a banker is a dog-eat-dog world. I’m thinking of quitting for the simple life.
  • donkey work – the hard/boring work
    Once all the donkey work is out of the way, we can relax a bit.
  • downtime – periods of time when production/machinery/equipment is stopped
    If we buy two brand new machines, we’ll reduce downtime by 17%.
  • draw a line under – agree not to discuss/think about a particular issue and forget about it
    I wish Mike and Lilly would draw a line under their silly feud.
  • draw first blood – the first person to score/succeed/attack
    The greens have drawn first blood, this is going to be one hell of a match.
  • drive a hard bargain – be good at negotiating for one’s own gain
    Don’t pay more than £400. That shop has a reputation for driving a hard bargain.
  • drop someone a line – contact someone by phone or writing
    Alex said drop him a line if you want to do something this weekend.
  • drop the ball – make a mistake, neglect someone/something
    I dropped the ball! The buyer pulled out last minute, I’m in big trouble.
  • dummy run – a practice/trial before the real thing
    We did a dummy run, but it didn’t work.
business idiom - debt-ridden
business idiom - deep pockets
business idiom - diamond in the rough meaning
business idioms in English - do a roaring trade
business idiom list - dog eat dog world
business idioms in English - donkey work
business idioms and expressions - downtime meaning
business idiom - draw a line under meaning
business idioms in English- draw first blood
business idioms list - drive a hard bargain
business idioms and expressions - drop someone a line
drop the ball meaning and example
business idioms and expressions - dummy run

business idioms and expressions beginning with E

  • eager beaver – a keen/enthusiastic person
    The new trainee is an eager beaver, she has volunteered for lots of projects already.
  • easy come, easy go – not bothered about losing something (especially money)
    My girlfriend dumped me, easy come, easy go
  • elbow grease – hard physical work
    It looks like you put a lot of elbow grease into cleaning the kitchen.
  • elephant in the room – a controversial issue that is obvious but ignored
    When are we going to talk about the elephant in the room? Our growing debt.
  • etched/set in stone – permanent/fixed/can’t be changed
    The contract isn’t set in stone, we can still make some tweaks.
business idiom in English - eager beaver meaning
business idiom - easy come, easy go
business idiom - elbow grease
business idioms and expressions list- elephant in the room
business idiom - etched-set in stone meaning

business idioms and expressions beginning with F

  • face value – the value indicated or accept what someone says without questioning
    Don’t take what Eric says at face value, he lies a lot
  • feather one’s nest – get a lot of money out of something
    She only wants the job to feather her nest. She doesn’t care about the children.
  • fifty-fifty – divide something equally
    Any profits we make will be divided fifty-fifty between me and mark.
  • fighting chance – a small possibility of success after a struggle
    I want to give my marriage a fighting chance, so I’ve agreed to stop drinking.
  • figure someone/something out – solve a problem/try to understand
    I can’t figure out the new kid, there is something strange about him.
  • fill someone in – inform someone of the most up to date information/details
    Karen filled me in on everything you discussed at the meeting.
  • fine-tune – make small adjustments for optimum performance/efficiency
    I need to fine-tune my best man’s speech.
  • fly by the seat of one’s pants – use common sense/judgement/instinct instead of following a strict plan
    My cousin has no plans for the future. He just flies by the seat of his pants.
  • fly off the shelves – sell very quickly
    I need to be up early to go and buy the new FIFA game. It’ll fly off the shelves.
  • for a song – very cheap
    I wasn’t going to have a holiday this year, but I found one for a song online.
  • free rein – freedom to do or say whatever you like
    I’m cooking for my friends tonight, I’ve got free rein of the kitchen.
  • free ride – reap the benefits without putting in any effort
    My neighbour doesn’t work, he likes a free ride off the state.
  • from day one – from the very beginning I was strict with my children from day one.
    They have turned into lovely young men.
  • from the ground up – from the beginning to completion
    The dog ate my coursework, I need to do it again from the ground up.
  • front-runner – a leading contestant/team in a competition
    Roger Federer is one of the front runners in Wimbledon this year.
  • funny business – dishonest/naughty behaviour
    The accounts don’t add up. I think there’s been some funny business going on.
business expressions - face value meaning
business expressions list - feather one’s nest
business idiom - fifty-fifty
business idiom - fighting chance
business idiom - figure someone/something out
business idiom - fill someone in
business idiom list - fine-tune
business idiom - fly by the seat of one’s pants
business expressions in English - fly off the shelves
business idiom - for a song
business idioms and expressions - free rein
business idiom - free ride
business expressions - from day one
business expressions - from the ground up
corporate idioms - front-runner
business idiom - funny business

business expressions beginning with G

  • gain ground – make progress, become more popular/widely known
    Wilkins is gaining ground over Newman. He might be able to overtake him on the final lap.
  • get down to business – start doing something with seriousness and determination
    Let’s have a quick coffee break, then we’ll get down to business.
  • get fired – be dismissed from your job
    Did you hear about Katie? She got fired for stealing.
  • get into the swing of things – become accustomed to/comfortable with something
    I’ve been in my new job for a few weeks now. I’m just starting to get into the swing of things.
  • get one’s hands dirty – do hard/manual work or something illegal
    Karl will help you dig the hole, he loves getting his hands dirty.
  • get something off the ground – start operating/functioning
    We need to get this project off the ground ASAP.
  • get the boot/get given the boot – get fired from your job
    If you don’t stop mucking around and do some work, you’ll get the boot.
  • get the sack – be dismissed from your job
    If you continue to be late, you’ll get the sack.
  • get the show on the road – begin/start doing something
    I’ll grab my coat and we can get the show on the road.
  • get the wrong end of the stick – misunderstand something
    Holly has got the wrong end of the stick. It’s not a date, just two friends having coffee.
  • get to grips with something – comprehend, understand the situation, start to deal with a problem
    I’ve blitzed the bathroom, now I’ll get to grips with the kitchen.
  • get/give the lowdown – hear/tell someone the most important truthful facts
    I heard Pete and Marge are getting divorced, get the lowdown when you see him at the footie.
  • get/set the ball rolling – start a process
    I want to sell my house. I’ll call the estate agent and get the ball rolling tomorrow.
  • give someone a heads up – warn someone of impending difficulty/danger
    Can you give Leon a heads up if the fuel gets below 20%?
  • give someone a run for their money – almost as good as the opposition
    My 3-year-old twins are giving me a run for my money.
  • give someone the boot – fire/dismiss someone from their job
    Someone has been stealing from me. When I find out who, I’ll give them the boot.
  • give something one’s best shot – try your best
    He gave it his best shot, but unfortunately, he didn’t get the job.
  • give the green light – permit/allow
    The council have given the green light for a new school to be built.
  • go belly up – go spectacularly wrong
    My new business venture went belly up in the first 6 months. I’m back working in a factory.
  • go down the drain – fail, disappear, be destroyed
    My marriage went down the drain a long time ago.
  • go for broke – put all your effort/resources into one thing in the hope of great success
    Rangers are going for broke in the final 15 minutes. They desperately need a draw
  • go full circle – return to the original situation/circumstance where you first started
    Terry’s career is going full circle. He’s about to start managing his first ever club again.
  • go out of business – a company stops trading and closes
    If you continue to give out free products, I’ll go out of business.
  • go overboard – be too excessive/extreme
    You’ve bought 16 bottles of wine for 5 people? You always go overboard.
  • go round in circles – do something for a long time without progressing
    I can’t find a solution, I’m just going round in circles.
  • go round the houses – a very long complicated way of reaching a conclusion
    I hate Mr. Oxley’s classes. He always goes round the houses and makes it difficult.
  • go the extra mile – make an extra effort to achieve something
    Lauren is a good nurse. She always goes the extra mile to make patients feel at ease.
  • go through the roof – prices/figures get extremely high or suddenly get mad/angry/excited
    Petrol prices have gone through the roof recently. I need a car with a smaller engine.
  • going places – a person who is likely to become successful
    Henry has so many business ideas. He’s going places.
  • golden handshake – a large sum of money given to someone retiring/being made redundant
    My dad got a very generous golden handshake. He is going to buy a house in Spain.
  • golden opportunity – a perfect chance, an ideal moment
    House prices are really low. It’s a golden opportunity to get on the property ladder.
  • grass roots – ordinary people in society/an organisation
    To get a real opinion, we need to ask the grass roots.
  • grease one’s palm – pay someone in exchange for information, favours, influence etc.
    I greased the waiter’s hand, and he gave us the best table.
  • grey area – not clearly defined, unclear
    We’re not sure who is meant to be doing the ordering, it’s a grey area.
  • ground-breaking – innovative, new, original
    Ground-breaking research means we have cures for many diseases.
business idiom - gain ground
corporate idioms/business idiom - get down to business meaning
business idioms in English - get fired
business idioms in English - get into the swing of things meaning
business idiom - get one’s hands dirty
business idioms in English - get something off the ground meaning
business idioms list - get the ball rolling meaning
business idiom - get the boot meaning
business idioms list - get the lowdown
common business idioms - get the sack
common business idioms - get the show on the road meaning
business idioms in English - get the wrong end of the stick meaning
business idiom - get to grips with something
business idiom - give someone a heads up
common business idioms - give someone a run for their money
business idiom - give someone the boot meaning
business idioms in English - give something one’s best shot
business idiom - give the green light
business idiom - go belly up meaning
common business idioms - go down the drain meaning
business idioms in English - go for broke meaning
business idiom - go full circle
business idioms in English - go out of business
business idiom - go overboard meaning
business idiom - go round in circles
business idiom - go round the houses
business idioms in English - go the extra mile
common business idiom - go through a rough patch
business idioms and expressions - go through the roof
business idiom - going places
business idioms in English - golden handshake
business idioms list - golden opportunity
business expressions in English - grass roots meaning
business idiom - grease one’s palm
business idiom - grey area
business idioms list - ground-breaking