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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 

Idioms: Negotiations, Bargaining, Transactions
from: 'over board'   to:  'a square deal'

  • above board
    • If business negotiations are described as above board, they are open, honest and legal.
      "There are no secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board."

  • have an ace up your sleeve
    • If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something in reserve with which you can gain an advantage.
      "I'm well prepared for the negotiations. I've got an ace up my sleeve."

  • hold all the aces
    • A person or company who holds all the aces is in a very strong position because they have more advantages than anyone else.
      "With low production costs and excellent transport facilities, they seem to be holding all the aces."

  • back to square one
    • To say that someone is back to square one means that they have not succeeded in what they were trying to do, so they have to start again.
      "When they refused the terms of the contract, it was back to square one for the negotiators."

  • (have your) back to the wall
    • If you have your back to the wall, you are in serious difficulty.
      "With his back to the wall, the supplier had to accept the deal."

  • beggars can't be choosers
    • This expression means that you should not reject an offer if it is the only possibility you have. You have to be satisfied with what you get because you have no choice.
      "They let me sleep on their sofa. I would have preferred a bed but beggars can't be choosers!'

  • bend over backwards
    • If you bend over backwards, you try very hard to do something, especially to please somebody.
      "The director bent over backwards to try and persuade them to accept our proposal."

  • bide your time
    • If you bide your time, you wait for a good opportunity to do something.
      "He's not hesitating, he's just biding his time, waiting for the price to drop."

  • black market
    • The black market  refers to the illegal buying and selling of goods or currencies.
      "Be careful of what you buy on the black market - it's not always good quality."

  • blank cheque
    • If you give someone a blank cheque, you authorize them to do what they think is best in a difficult situation.
      "Tom was given a blank cheque and told to negotiate the best deal possible."

  • miss the boat
    • If you miss the boat, you fail to take advantage of an opportunity because you don't act quickly enough.
      "I managed to get my order through before the end of the special offer - but I nearly missed the boat!"

  • bone of contention
    • A bone of contention is a matter or subject about which there is a lot of disagreement.
      "The salaries have been agreed on, but opening on Sundays is still a bone of contention."

  • bring nothing to the table
    • If you participate in negotiations and bring nothing to the table, you have nothing of interest to offer the other side.
      "We'll never reach an agreement if we bring nothing to the table."

  • break every rule in the book
    • If you behave in a completely unacceptable way, you break every rule in the book.
      "Our competitors obtained the contract by breaking every rule in the book."

  • 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!"

  • clinch a deal
    • In a business relationship, if you clinch a deal, you reach agreement on a proposal or offer.
      "Paul's final argument enabled us to clinch the deal."

  • 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 agreement or arrangement is called a square deal.
      "We always get a square deal with that supplier."

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