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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


BUSINESS - WORK, page 6

Idioms
from:   'all hands on deck'   to:  'licence to print money'


  • all hands on deck
    • When there is a need for all hands on deck, everyone must help, especially if there's a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.
      "As the opening day approached, it was all hands on deck to have everything ready in time."

  • have one's hands tied
    • If a person has their hands tied, something such as an agreement or a rule is preventing them from doing what they would like to do.
      "Mark deserves to earn more, but the manager's hands are tied by the recent salary agreement."

  • (a) hive of activity / beehive
    • A place where there are lots of things happening, and everyone is very busy, is called a hive of activity.
      "When I went to offer help, the kitchen was already a hive of activity."

  • hold the fort
    • When you hold the fort, you look after a place or a business in the absence of the person who is normally in charge.
      "Rosie, could you hold the fort please while I go to the post office?"

  • (a) household name/word
    • When the name of something becomes very familiar because it is so often used, it is called a household name or household word.
      "The product was so successful that its name became a household word in no time."

  • iron(s) in the fire
    • If you have a few, or many, irons in the fire, you are involved in several projects at the same time.
      "The travel agency is not his only venture - he's got more than one iron in the fire."

  • hit the ground running
    • If someone hits the ground running, they are ready and eager to start immediately on a new activity.
      "He intends to hit the ground running when he starts his new job."

  • jump on the bandwagon
    • If a person or organisation jumps on the bandwagon, they decide to do something when it is already successful or fashionable.
      "When organic food became popular, certain stores were quick to jump on the bandwagon and promote it."

  • keep your head above water
    • To keep one's head above water means to try to survive by staying out of debt, for example a small business.
      "Business has been slow, but we've managed to keep our head above water."

  • knuckle down
    • If someone knuckles down to something, they start to work on it seriously.
      "If you want to succeed, you'll have to knuckle down to some serious work."

  • (a) lame duck
    • A person or organisation in difficulty and unable to manage without help is called a lame duck.
      "Some banks have become lame ducks recently."

  • the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing
    • To say that 'the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing' means that within a group or organisation, communication is so bad that one person doesn't know what another person is doing.

  • (a) licence to print money
    • This expression refers to an officially authorised activity which enables people to make a lot of money without much effort.
      "The contract to supply computers to schools was a licence to print money!"

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