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from: 'pick up steam'   to:  'shape up or ship out'

  • pick up steam
    • If a project or process picks up steam, it starts to develop or become more active.
      "The campaign started slowly but picked up steamafter Christmas."

  • (a) piece of the action
    • When someone wants a piece of the action, they want to participate in what other people are doing and benefit from it.
      "The songwriter thought the show would be a success so he wanted a piece of the action."

  • in the pipeline
    • If something is in the pipeline, it is currently in progress or being organised.
      "A new version is in the pipeline at the moment."

  • play the market
    • If you play the market, you buy stocks and shares in the hope of making a profit when you sell them.
      "It's always tempting to play the market, but it's more risky at the present time."

  • pull your weight
    • To say that somebody pulls their weight means that they do their fair share of the work.
      "It's great working with Sandra. She always pulls her weight."

  • put your shoulder to the wheel
    • If you put your shoulder to the wheel, you start putting a lot of effort into a difficult task.
      "We'll have to put our shoulders to the wheel to deliver the goods on time"

  • rat race
    • Continuous stressful competition in modern society for success, power or money, especially in business, is called the rat race.
      "Emily is sick and tired of the rat race. She's going to leave her job in a big company and work freelance."

  • red tape
    • The term red tape refers to official rules and bureaucratic paperwork that prevent things from being done quickly.
      "If there wasn't so much red tape, the company would be up and running already."

  • (do a) roaring trade
    • If you do a roaring trade, your business is very successful.
      "Cosmetic surgeons are doing a roaring trade these days."

  • roll up your sleeves
    • When you roll up your sleeves, you get ready for hard work.
      "The house was in a mess after the party so we had to roll up our sleeves and start cleaning."

  • learn the ropes
    • If you learn the ropes, you learn how to do a particular job correctly.
      "He's a smart kid. It won't take him long to learn the ropes."

  • seal of approval
    • If a project or contract receives a seal of approval, it receives formal support or approval from higher authorities.
      "We can't conclude the deal without the director's seal of approval."

  • seal the deal
    • When you seal the deal you reach a final agreement and make it official.
      "The two parties are meeting tomorrow to seal the deal."

  • second a motion
    • During a meeting, if you second a motion, you formally agree with a proposal.
      "She seconded the motion to introduce flexible working hours."

  • sell ice to Eskimos
    • This expression is used to describe a person who has the ability to persuade someone to accept something totally unnecessary or useless.
      "It's not surprising Harry was named 'salesman of the year'. He could sell ice to Eskimos!"

  • send up a trial balloon
    • If you test something such as an idea, a project or a product, to see how people respond to it, you send up a trial balloon.
      "The idea seemed excellent but when they sent up a trial balloon the reaction was very negative."

  • separate the sheep from the goats
    • If you separate the sheep from the goats, you examine a group of people and decide which are suitable and which are not.
      "Examining job applications is the first stage in separating the sheep from the goats."

  • set the stage for something
    • If you set the stage for an event or a development, you create conditions that allow it to happen.
      "The agreement set the stage for their future working relationship."

  • shape up or ship out
    • If you tell someone to shape up or ship out, you are warning them that if they do not improve, they will have to leave their job.
      "When Tom started neglecting the customers, he was told to shape up or ship out."

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