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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to business and work  
from:  'corner the market'   to:  'drastic times call for drastic measures'

  • corner the market
    • If a company dominates an area of business, and leaves no room for competition, it is said to have cornered the market.
      "By importing large quantities and selling at low prices, they have cornered the market."

  • creative accounting
    • The term 'creative accounting' refers to the presentation of a company's results in a way that, although generally legal, glosses over the problems and makes the results appear better than they are.
      "It was suggested that some creative accounting might help to attract investors."

  • cut and dried
    • If you refer to a situation, problem or solution as cut and dried, you mean that it is clear and straightforward with no likely complications.
      "When the new manager arrived, he didn't find the situation as cut and dried as he had expected."

  • cutting edge
    • The expression 'cutting edge' refers to the newest, most advanced stage in the development of something.
      "The company is at the cutting edge of aeronautics."

  • dead wood
    • The term 'dead wood' refers to people or things which are no longer considered useful or necessary.
      "The new manager wants to reduce costs by cutting out the dead wood."

  • a dealbreaker
    • Something that is important enough to prevent agreement being reached is called a dealbreaker.
      "We liked the house and the area, but the small garden was a dealbreaker for us."

  • a done deal
    • This expression is used to refer to an agreement or decision which has been reached on a certain matter.
      "We're still considering several proposals, so it's not a done deal yet."

  • a shady deal
    • A suspicious, dishonest or illegal arrangement or transaction is known as a shady deal.
      "The two sons were always involved in their father's shady deals."

  • a square deal
    • A fair and honest transaction, agreement or arrangement is called a square deal.
      "We always get a square deal with that supplier."

  • it's/that's a deal/you've got a deal
    • When you’ve reached agreement with someone you can say it's a deal, that's a deal or you've got a deal!
      "What if I offered you 80$ for both of them?" "You've got a deal!"

  • a deal with the devil
    • A risky arrangement with a person of bad reputation is called a deal with the devil.
      "Jack ran up so much debt that he made a deal with the devil."

  • sweeten the deal
    • When you sweeten the deal, you make an offer or arrangement more attractive by adding an extra benefit, usually financial.
      "The company sweetened the deal with a pension plan to get him to accept the job."

  • a sweetheart deal
    • The term sweetheart deal is used to refer to an abnormally lucrative arrangement between two parties.
      "Opponents say the contract was awarded to the builder as part of a sweetheart deal, and is therefore illegal."

  • do the spadework
    • Someone who does the spadework does the preparatory work or the preliminary research.
      "Although I did all the spadework, my name was never mentioned."

  • dog and pony show
    • A dog and pony show  is a marketing event or presentation which has plenty of style but not much content, and is essentielly designed to promote sales.
      "Our investors are well-informed businessmen who don't need a dog and pony show to impress them."

  • dog eat dog
    • 'Dog eats dog' refers to intense competition and rivalry in pursuit of one's own interests, with no concern for morality.
      "The business world is tough today. There's a general dog-eat-dog attitude."

  • in the doldrums
    • To say that a person, a business or the economy in general is in the doldrums means that the situation is gloomy and that nothing new is happening.
      "Despite the recent measures, the economy is in the doldrums."

  • a done deal
    • 'A done deal' refers to an agreement or decision which has been reached on a certain matter.
      "We're still considering several proposals, so it's not a done deal yet."

  • done and dusted
    • When a project, task or activity is done and dusted, it is completely finished or ready.
      "I've nearly finished preparing the presentation. When it's all done and dusted I'll be able to relax."

  • donkey work
    • The expression 'donkey work' is used to describe the hard, tedious or repetitive parts of a job, or the less interesting work.
      "It's not fair. I do the donkey work and my boss gets the credit!"

  • doom and gloom
    • A general atmosphere of pessimism, and a feeling that the situation is not going to improve, is referred to as doom and gloom.
      "Fortunately it's not doom and gloom for all businesses, in spite of the economic situation."

  • down the drain
    • To say that money, time or energy has gone down the drainmeans that it has been wasted or lost.
      "His years of research went down the drain when the company went bankrupt."

  • drastic times call for drastic measures
    • This expression means that when faced with a difficult situation, it is sometimes necessary to take actions which in normal circumstances would appear extreme.
      After Johnny's third accident, his father confiscated his car, saying: "drastic times call for drastic measures!"

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