Business Idioms

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					                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

across the board
- including everyone or everything
The computer company decided to give the workers an across-the-board increase in
their salary.

at a loss
- at less than the cost, at a financial loss
Everything was on sale but at a loss so the prices were very low.

bail a company out
- to help or rescue a company that has financial problems
The government bailed out the bank in order to maintain stability in the economy.

ball park figure/estimate
- a rough estimate or figure
The contractor gave us a ball park figure for the cost of repairing the new building.

bang for the buck
- value for the money spent
We were able to get much bang for our buck when we advertised on the Internet.

banker's hours
- short work hours (similar to when a bank is open)
My sister's husband owns his own company and works banker's hours most days.

bankroll someone
- to supply someone with money, to finance someone
The movie actor bankrolled his son while the son was producing his first movie.

bean counter
- an accountant
We asked the bean counters to look at the figures in the new budget.

big cheese/gun/wheel
- an important person, a leader
The new director was a big wheel in his previous company but he is not so important

- an important person, a leader
Some of the bigwigs of our company came to visit our factory.

bottom drops/falls out of (something)
- a collapse occurs and prices fall below an earlier low price
When the bottom fell out of the coffee market many companies had to stop doing

bottom line
- the total, the final figure on a balance sheet, the results (of a business)
After we examined the bottom line of the company we decided not to invest in it.
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

bottom line
- the central issue of a discussion, the main point
My friend wants to open a restaurant but the bottom line is that if we do not do more
research I do not want to invest any money.

bottom out
- to reach the lowest or worst point
The value of the stock has begun to bottom out and it should soon begin to increase in

bounce a check
- to write a check in which you do not have enough money in your bank account
The young man bounced a check when he tried to pay his rent.

boys in the backroom
- a group of men making decisions behind the scenes
The boys in the backroom told us that the factory will close next year.

break even
- to have expenses equal to profits
After only three months the company was able to break even and begin to make a profit.

budget crunch/squeeze
- a situation where there is not enough money in the budget
There is a severe budget squeeze at our company and we must stop wasting money.

buy a stake in (something)
- to buy part ownership of a company or other enterprise
The large bank is planning to buy a stake in the small stock trading company.

buy off (someone)
- to use a gift or money to divert someone from their duty or purpose (similar to a bribe
and sometimes illegal)
The land developer tried to buy off the politician but he was not successful.

buy out (someone or something)
- to buy the ownership or a majority share of something
The large company decided to buy out the small textile company.

buy (something) on credit
- to buy something without paying cash
My friend had no money so he decided to buy some furniture on credit.

by a long shot
- by a big difference
The soap company beat out the bids of the other companies by a long shot.

a calculated risk
- an action that may fail but has a good chance to succeed
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

The company took a calculated risk when they put the new computer screen on the

call a meeting to order
- to start a meeting
Our supervisor called the meeting to order when everyone arrived in the conference

captain of industry
- a top corporation officer
The president of our company was a captain of industry and when he retired he was
appointed to many government boards.

carry a motion
- to support or win acceptance for a motion/proposal/idea in a meeting
I was able to carry a motion to cancel the activities for next week.

carry over figures/numbers/costs
- to transfer a figure/number/cost from one column or time to another
Our company has financial problems and we must carry over last year's losses to this

carry over (something)
- to save or postpone something for another time
The department store will carry over their sale until after the national holiday.

carry the day
- to win complete support
The manager's new idea carried the day and everyone supported him with enthusiasm.

carry through with (something)
- to put something into action, to do something
The steel company carried through with their plan to restructure operations.

close out (something)
- to sell the whole of something, to sell all the goods
The company decided to close out the store and sell the remaining stock very cheap.

close the books
- to stop taking orders, to end a bookkeeping period
The company will close the books at the end of December.

close up shop
- to stop doing business (for a variety of reasons - not only financial reasons)
The university bookstore had to close up shop when their rent was increased.

come down in price
- to lower the price of one's product, to become cheaper
We were forced to come down in price in order to sell our target number of cars for the
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

company man
- a person who always works hard and agrees with his employers or company
My father was a company man and he always put in an extra effort for his company.

crunch numbers
- to do mathematical calculations
Our accountant loves to crunch numbers and he is one of the top managers in our

cut a deal
- to make a business arrangement or contract
I was able to cut a deal with the contractor and we paid very little for our new kitchen.

cut back
- to use fewer or less of something
The company has been cutting back on entertainment expenses recently.

cut off (someone or something)
- to interrupt or stop someone or something
The speech by our manager was cut off when the electricity went off in the building.

cut one's losses
- to do something in order to stop losing additional money or time etc.
We should sell the old machinery soon and try to cut our losses.

deliver the goods
- to succeed in doing a good job of something
The new manager is not very popular but he is able to deliver the goods.

draw up a contract
- to make/draft a contract
The lawyer spent several hours drawing up a new contract.

face value (of something)
- the official value or worth of something
Although the face value of the postage stamp was very low it sold at the auction for
much money.

fill the bill
- to be just what is needed
The new machine should fill the bill for what we need to finish the job.

float (someone) a loan
- to loan someone money
I asked the bank to float me a loan so that I could buy a new car.

gain ground
- to go forward, to make progress
Our company is gaining ground in its attempt to be the best in the industry.
                               BUSINESS IDIOMS

get a break
- to get an opportunity or good deal
We were able to get a break on the price of the paint and we saved much money.

get a raise
- to get an increase in one's salary
My sister works hard and she recently got a raise in her new job.

get into the swing of it/things
- to become familiar with an activity or situation so that you can start doing it well or
enjoying it.
I was just getting into the swing of things when they transferred me to another
department. I hadn't worked in an office for a few years and it took me a while to get
back into the swing of it.

get off the ground
- to make a successful beginning
We were unable to get the new product off the ground but we will try again next year.

go belly up
- to go out of business because of financial problems
The small computer company went belly up several months ago.

go through with (something)
- to do something as planned or as agreed, to finish something
We will not go through with our plans to build the new product until we solve several

a hard sell
- a way of selling something that is very aggressive and uses much pressure
The car salesman gave us a hard sell so we went to another car dealer.

have a stake in (something)
- to have part ownership of a company or other business
The large oil company has a stake in the new oil exploration company.

have one's finger in the pie
- to be involved in something, to receive money for something
The new manager has his finger in the pie of many small businesses.

have the floor
- to have permission to speak in a meeting
The president had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting.

Heads up
- Look up because something may hit you. Information or notification, especially in
 Gave me the heads-up on the new security measures.

heads will roll
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

- someone will be punished
Heads will roll when our boss learns about the money that we have lost.

hold a meeting
- to conduct a meeting
We plan to hold a meeting next week to discuss the problems with our new product.

in black and white
- in writing
The company refused to deal with the customer's complaints until they were in black and

in short supply
- to not have enough of something, to be less than the amount or number needed
Experienced computer programmers are in short supply in our company.

in the black
- to be successful, to be making money, to be profitable
The new company has been in the black for many years now.

in the long run
- over a long period of time
The company has been losing money recently but in the long run they should make a

in the loop
- to be involved or to take part in a job or in information sharing with one's colleagues
I began to work in the evenings and I was no longer in the loop at our company.

in the red
- to be losing money, to be unprofitable
The company has been in the red since the price of oil began to rise rapidly.

in the works
- to be in preparation, to be in the process of being planned or developed
The camera company has a new camera in the works but nobody knows about it.

in the black
- successful or making money
The new company has been in the black for over a year now.

jack up
- make a price higher
The steel companies decided to jack up the price of steel at the beginning of the year.

- money paid illegally for favourable treatment
The construction company was taken to court for giving kickbacks to the local politicians.
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

mean business
- be serious
Our boss means business when he tells everyone to try and work harder.

More Haste, Less Speed
- The faster you try to do something, the more likely you are to make mistakes that make
you take longer than it would had you planned it.

- an accountant, someone who works with numbers
Our president is a good number-cruncher and understands about the finances of our

on hand
- in one's possession, ready
We didn't have any supplies on hand and were unable to finish the job.

on the block
- for sale
As soon as they purchased the company they began to put some of the equipment on
the block.

pay off
- make a profit, be successful
The furniture manufacturer was unable to pay off their loan and had to go out of

piece/slice of the action
- a share in the activity or the profits of something
The inventor wanted a large piece of the action of the profits from the new computer that
he had invented.

red ink
- debt (red ink on a financial statement)
The automobile company has been drowning in red ink since the US dollar began to

saddled with debt
- burdened with debt
Our sister company is saddled with a great amount of debt and should be sold as soon
as possible.

sell like hotcakes
- sell very quickly
The children's toys were selling like hotcakes at the end of the year.

Sell out
- sell all of a product
Every year at least one company sells out all of their products which frustrates many
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

Strike while the iron is hot
- take advantage of an opportunity
We decided to strike while the iron was hot and began to market the product around the
time of the Olympics.

Sweetheart deal
- a deal made between friends so that both may make a big profit
We were able to make a sweetheart deal with our landlord and got the rent greatly

take a nosedive
- collapse, fail, decrease in value
The stock market took a nosedive when the earnings of the oil company began to

take over
- take control or possession of something, take charge or responsibility
The government decided to take over the bank after it declared bankruptcy.
take public
- sell shares in a company to the general public
We decided it was necessary to take our company public in order to raise money to
expand our facilities.

take stock
- count the items of merchandise or supplies in stock, take inventory
The department store closes down for 3 days every March in order to take stock.

throw cold water on
- discourage, forbid
The managers threw cold water on the plans to close down the factory for one week in

throw money at something
- try to solve a problem by spending money on it
The president of our company is willing to throw a lot of money at the problem in the
hope of solving it.

tight spot
- a difficult situation
The computer manufacturing company has been in a tight spot since the shortage of
computer chips appeared.

turn over
- to buy and then sell something to customers
The turn-over at that discount store is very rapid.

work out
- plan, develop
I spent the weekend trying to work out the budget estimates for next year.
                              BUSINESS IDIOMS

write off
- remove from a business record, cancel a debt
It was impossible for the bank to collect the money so they were forced to write off the

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