Business English/Slang

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A Ambulance chaser: An unskilled and unethical lawyer. B Ball park: A baseball term: To estimate how close something is to an accurate number. If something is in the ball park it is close enough to be acceptable. Basement Betty: A woman that runs a business from her home. Belt tightening: To reduce expenses. To save money. Bite the bullet: To make a difficult decision. (a) Bitter pill to swallow: To receive bad news. To hear something you don’t want to hear. Bottom line: The truth behind what is being said. Being honest even if other people do not want to hear it. Brownie points: Receiving credit for a good deed or giving a compliment. C Cash cow: A product or service that creates a lot of money without much investment. (to) cash in: To make money from or to benefit from financial or social investment. (to) Climb the corporate ladder: To get promoted. To move upwards in the organization. Crunch time A short period of time when there is a lot of work to do and a lot of responsibility. D Didn’t go over well: When a plan or activity did not happen as planned and was not successful. (a) Dog eat dog world: A mean and tough world where people only help themselves. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s: Check your work. Pay attention to the details. Down to the wire: Working to the last minute. To finish just before the deadline. (to) Drum up business: To find new customers. (to) Face the music: To admit there is a problem. To prepare for disciplinary action. E Egg on the face: When something embarrassing happens to a person. When a person looks foolish. Elevator pitch: A very short speech that explains yourself or your product in less than ten seconds. F Fast track: To speed up a project. To give something a higher priority. Fly by the seat of your pants: To do something without any planning and just react to what is happening. G Glitch: A mistake or when something is not working correctly. This usually refers to a piece of technology. Golden parachute: When a high member of management is fired and is given a very generous severance package. Gut feeling An instinct or intuition that makes you expect how something will happen. H Hard sell: Pushing hard to sell a product or service that is usually difficult to sell. (to) Have a lot on your plate: To have a lot of work to do. To have a lot of responsibilities. Heads will roll: An expression that means people will be disciplined harshly for a mistake. This may mean people will be fired. I I hear you: I understand. J (to) Jump the gun: To start something too soon or to begin before everyone else. K (to) Keep your eye on the prize: To stay focused on the final results of a plan or project. (to) Keep it under wraps: To keep a secret. To not tell other people about something. (to) Kick the bucket: When something like a machine or a project is finished. It is used to suggest that something has died. L Lateralled: A lateral transfer. To move to a new position without moving up or down the organization’s ranking. People often take lateral transfers to learn new skills. Lemon: A product, usually a car, which has a problem and does not work properly. M N O Off the top of my head: To think up ideas without and planning time. On the tip of my tongue: When you know a word but can’t remember how to say it Out in left field: A baseball term. To not understand what is happening. To not pay attention. Out of the loop: To not understand what is happening because a person is not involved in the proper communications. P Page: To call someone over the phone system in the office. (to) pass the buck: To blame someone else for a problem or mistake. Playing ball: A baseball term: Cooperating with clients and associates. Working together to complete a task. Playing hardball: A baseball term. To get mean and tough. (to) Plug (a product): To talk positively about a product socially (to) Pull the plug: To stop or kill a project. (to) Pull your weight: To do your share of the work. (at a) Premium: To buy or sell something at the best price. (to) Push the envelope: To move faster, work harder and do better than expected. Q R (to) Rally the troops: To motivate the people around you. To energize people for a better performance. Reality check: To think about how something will really work or if it will not work at all. Right off the bat: A baseball term. To start something immediately. Right on target: When a plan or activity happens perfectly. S (to) Scale back: To reduce the number of something. This could be the number of hours worked, the number of employees, the amount of money paid in salaries, etc. (to)Shake on it: Making a promise with a handshake. Show him/her the door: To get rid of someone. To fire a person. Slam Dunk: A basketball term: When something is perfect. (the) Squeaky wheel gets the grease: Bringing attention to a problem so people will work to fix it. Stay on your toes: Be careful. Be ready for trouble. (to) Step up to the plate: A baseball term. This term is now often shortened so people will say ‘to step up.’ It means to take on a challenge, to do your best or to volunteer. T Temp: A temporary worker. Someone that is hired by a staffing agency for a short time. Through the roof: Numbers are higher than expected. U Use some elbow grease: To work hard to get something done. V

W (to) wear many hats: To have different jobs and responsibilities in one or more organization. (to) Wing it: To explain something without any planning. This could be giving a speech or explaining an idea. (the) Whole nine yards: A football term: To ‘go the whole distance.’ To see a project through from start to end. (to) work out the kinks: To solve the problems. To make sure something works properly. X Y Yes man: An employee that always agrees with the boss. Z