Idiom: to make a splash

Definition: to attract a lot of attention; to get noticed Examples: Everyone is talking about the new movie. It really made a splash. That new book is really popular. The author is on all the talk shows. She really made a splash. About Matt KrauseMatt began his...

Idiom: to make waves

Definition: to create a significant impression; to cause trouble, to be disruptive Examples: At your new job, be sure to speak up at meetings. You want to make waves right from the start. I didn’t know anyone at the dinner party, so I kept quiet. I didn’t...

Idiom: to put one’s foot in one’s mouth

Definition: to say something awkward or inappropriate Examples: I saw my boss on the street yesterday. He was with a woman. I said I loved his wife’s dress, but she wasn’t his wife. She was his girlfriend. I definitely put my foot in my mouth that time. I...

Idiom: to dig in one’s heels

Definition: to be stubborn, to refuse to move Examples: We tried to renegotiate the contract, but the customer dug in his heels. He said no, we could not discuss the contract again. I wanted to go to the beach, but my wife wanted to go to the mountains. She dug in her...

Idiom: to have the floor

Definition: to have permission to speak in a meeting Examples: The CEO had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting, but he didn’t have anything interesting to say. I fell asleep. Excuse me, but I have the floor. Please wait until I’m finished...

Idiom: all hands on deck

Definition: a job or task requires everyone’s attention or help Examples: This new client is our biggest client so far. It’s really important that we serve them well. It’ll be all hands on deck for a while. It’s August, and many people are on...

Idiom: scut work

Definition: boring, tedious, menial work Examples: Some people think a lawyer’s workday is filled with dramatic courtroom moments. In reality, however, much of a lawyer’s day is filled with scut work — reading long documents, going to boring...

Idiom: bang for the buck

Definition: value for the money Examples: When we advertise on the internet, we get a good bang for the buck. We don’t spend much money, but we get a lot of customers. Our Maltepe service center gives us a better bang for the buck than the Şişli service center....

Idiom: crunch time

Definition: a short period when there’s high pressure to get results Examples: This month is the busy season for our business. If we do well, we’ll make tons of money. It’s crunch time. I want to take a vacation, but it’s crunch time at work...

Idiom: to have one’s finger in the pie

Definition: to be involved in something, to get a piece of the reward Examples: This is not the only company he owns. He has his finger in the pies of many other companies, too. Almost every single person is involved in this project. Sometimes it seems like everyone...

Idiom: to land an account

Definition: To acquire a new customer Examples: My boss told me we really need more business. Maybe if I land this account, he’ll promote me. I’m not having a very good year, it has been a long time since I landed a new account. About Matt KrauseMatt began...

Idiom: the fine print

Definition: The limits, conditions, qualifications, or other details printed at the bottom or end of a contract. Examples: The contract might look good at first, but you have to read the fine print to know for sure. The cell phone company’s new promotion sounds...

Idiom: to pull the plug (on something)

Definition: to cancel or stop (something) Examples: This new program will never be successful. We need to pull the plug on it, before we waste more money. I was really excited about this new advertising campaign, but my boss didn’t like it, and he decided to...

Idiom: to plug (something)

Definition: to promote or sell (something) Examples: He was on the TV news last night, but he didn’t have anything interesting to say. He was just there to plug his book. At job fairs, it’s hard to plug our company to potential recruits when we have such a...

Idiom: to keep something under wraps

Definition: to keep something secret, to keep something hidden Examples: Our development department is working on a new product. We can’t tell anyone, we have to keep it under wraps. My boss is going to promote someone. I hope it is me, but I don’t know...

Idiom: To tighten one’s belt

Definition: to cut back on expenses Examples: Sales are down, we need to tighten our belt until business is better. You should tighten your belt, if you spend money like that, you’ll go out of business quickly. About Matt KrauseMatt began his professional life...

Idiom: six of one and a half dozen of the other

Definition: two things are the same; the difference is zero Examples: The company is going to cut our pay, but increase our health insurance. So my paycheck will be smaller, but I won’t pay as much when I go to the hospital. I think it’s six of one, and a...

Idiom: to get off to a shaky start

Definition: to start roughly, to start badly Examples: The business is very successful now, but in the early days, we didn’t know if it would succeed or not. It got off to a really shaky start. When you meet the new boss, it’s important to make a good...

Idiom: to fall off the radar

Definition: to disappear, to be invisible Examples: We were good friends for many years, but when he moved to South Africa, I lost track of him. I haven’t spoken to him in 10 years, and I don’t even know where he is now. He fell off my radar. When our...

Idiom: to cut your teeth

Definition: to learn a new skill; to get basic experience Examples: He is a big, famous Finance Guru at the World Bank now, but he cut his teeth managing the finances for small textile factories in Egypt. He is a great addition to our manufacturing team, because...

Idiom: To buy (something) for a song

Definition: to buy something for a really good price; to buy something cheap Examples: These days, a lot of banks are in distress, so they can be bought relatively cheaply. They can be bought for a song. I bought this house for a song, when prices were cheap during...

Idiom: Kill two birds with one stone

Definition: To solve two problems with only one action Examples: Last week the logistics department figured out how to deliver the customer’s goods early, and save money on shipping too. They killed two birds with one stone. If you want the promotion, you need...

Idiom: to take stock

Definition: to count, or to evaluate Note: Sometimes this is used philosophically (as in, to evaluate one’s life), and sometimes it is used literally (as in, to actually count the number of inventory items sitting on the shelf). Examples: On major birthdays,...

Idiom: to be in the black

Definition: to be profitable, to be making money Examples: Our new startup lost money for two years, but now we are profitable. We are finally in the black. Our company has a long history of financial strength. In fact, we have been in the black every year since 1972....

Idiom: to come on strong

Definition: to overwhelm with excessively strong language or personality Examples: The salesman came on too strong at the meeting and made the customer angry. The new employee has some really good skills, but he comes on too strong.  The other employees think he is...

Idiom: to give the green light

Definition: to approve something, to give approval to something Examples: This marketing plan is great, but you have to show it to the boss first. Until he gives the green light, we can’t do anything with it. I want to hire a new sales rep, so I checked with the...

Idiom: to be in the ballpark

Definition: to be near a target, to be close to the target Examples: You haven’t told me your target price, but I think it is probably around $100,000. Am I in the ballpark? The customer wants us to lower our price, he says we are way too expensive.  He...

Idiom: to adjourn a meeting

Definition:  to end a meeting Examples: It was late in the evening, so we adjourned the meeting until the next day. We’re not making any progress, let’s adjourn the meeting and go back to work. About Matt KrauseMatt began his professional life as an import...

Idiom: number-cruncher

Definition: an accountant, someone who works with numbers Examples: Our president is a good number-cruncher and understands the finances of our company. I am an artist, but my brother is a finance guy. He is more of a number-cruncher. About Matt KrauseMatt began his...

Idiom: to scale back (something)

Definition: to reduce or cut Examples: When Ayşe had a baby, she scaled back her hours to just work part-time. Times are hard, and we are losing money. It is time to scale back our spending — we need to spend less. About Matt KrauseMatt began his professional...

Idiom: a company town

Definition: a town dominated by one industry or company Examples: When the coal mine closed, the company town faced a severe economic crisis. I come from a company town, where one company owns everything — the stores, the banks, the houses, and everything else....

Idiom: to run short

Definition: to not have enough (in quantity) Examples: At the factory, we ran short of an important part, and had to close the production line. They ran short of gasoline at the gas station and had to close early. About Matt KrauseMatt began his professional life as...

Idiom: a bigwig

Definition: an important person, or a leader of the group Examples: When the company’s bigwigs came to visit the factory, we all had to change our work schedules to accomodate them. That guy is the head of Marketing, he is a real bigwig in the company.  If you...

Idiom: to drum up business

Definition:  to create new business, to find new customers Examples: Sales have been very slow lately. Do you have any ideas for drumming up business? Our production capacity is too low to meet demand.  We don’t need more salespeople to drum up business, we need...

Idiom: a dog-eat-dog world

Definition:  a cruel and aggressive world, where people only look out for themselves Examples: Your company fired you two days after you had a heart attack? Well, it’s certainly a dog-eat-dog world! Be wary of your other competitors, especially in this industry....

Idiom: brownie points

Definition: Credit for doing a good deed, or for giving someone a compliment (usually a boss, teacher, or other authority) Examples: When I told the boss his new suit was very handsome, the other employees laughed and said I was just trying to score brownie points....

Idiom: to throw cold water (on something)

Definition: to discourage, to remove hope Example: Steve wanted to expand the business into China, but his boss threw cold water on the idea, and told him to focus on the domestic business. I was eager to try our big new software system with the new customer, but they...

Idiom: to generate buzz

Definition: to get a lot of attention; to promote; to cause people to talk about a product or service Examples: Procter & Gamble’s new toothpaste was really popular, and people talked about it a lot. It generated a lot of buzz. Facebook is in the newspapers...

Idiom: to call the shots

Definition: to make the decisions, to be the leader Examples: In this office, Joe is officially the boss, but everyone actually listens to Sarah first. She’s the one who calls the shots. This group is so disorganized, I don’t even know who approves new...

Idiom: to take a nosedive

Definition: to collapse, fail, lose value quickly Examples: The stock market took a nosedive during the financial crisis. If we lose permission to sell this product, our earnings will take a nosedive and we might go bankrupt. About Matt KrauseMatt began his...

Idiom: to hold the line

Definition: to maintain the existing opinion, position, or status; to resist Examples: The employees are resisting the changes.  We need to train our team managers how to hold the line regarding this restructuring plan. Our competition is attacking us hard on...

Idiom: to throw money at (something)

Definition: to try to solve a problem by spending money on something Examples: You can’t solve this problem simply by throwing money at it. You need to use imagination and brains and try new things. The president of our company really wants to solve this...

Idiom: to make a go of (something)

Definition: to produce good results, to succeed (especially with an experimental project) Examples: This project is difficult, but try it, and see if you can make a go of it. Although he works very hard in his business, he has been unable to make a go of it and may...

Idiom: to deliver the goods

Definition: to succeed, to get results, to complete a project successfully Examples: Sure, everyone likes him and he is fun to talk to, but can he produce results? Can he deliver the goods? I highly recommend Murat — if the job is difficult and really important,...

Idiom: to sell like hotcakes

Definition: to sell very quickly, to sell really well Examples: Children’s toys were selling like hotcakes at the end of the year. In the summer in Antalya, Efes pilsen beer sells like hotcakes. About Matt KrauseMatt began his professional life as an import...

Idiom: to mean business

Definition: to be serious, to be determined Examples: Our boss means business when he tells everyone to work harder. Don’t mess with them, they are determined to win. They really mean business. About Matt KrauseMatt began his professional life as an import...

Idiom: to cut corners

Definition: to economize, to take a short-cut, to reduce quality in order to save money Note: this idiom is usually negative — don’t use it when you want to express approval or support something Examples: During these hard times, we are tempted to cut...

Idiom: to bankroll someone (or something)

Definition:  to supply someone (or something) with money, to finance someone (or something) Examples: This new project will be very expensive.  We need to find someone to bankroll it. The movie actor bankrolled his son while the son was producing his first movie....

Idiom: the bottom falls out (of something)

Definition: a collapse occurs, and a new low is reached Examples: Things were good at our company, until the founder died of a heart attack. Then, the bottom fell out of the company, and we all lost our jobs. When the bottom fell out of the coffee market many...

Idiom: to be in the running

Definition: to be a candidate, to be competing for something Examples: This is a very competitive bid. There are three very strong candidates in the running — our company, and two others. Only one of us will win. After the interview, I felt very confident. I...

Idiom: across the board

Definition: including everyone or everything Examples: Our company decided to raise all the salaries. It’s across the board — everyone will get a raise. Times are tough, and we need to cut expenses. All departments have to reduce expenses 10%. The...

Idiom: make or break moment

Definition: an important moment that decides whether you will succeed or fail Examples: Today’s presentation in front of the board is very important. It will decide whether they approve our project and we get promoted, or they kill our project and fire us. It is...

Idiom: meet and greet

Definition: a basic introductory meeting, often informal, where you meet a person (or people) for the first time Examples: This is a new customer, and we’ve never met them in person. Let’s schedule a short meet-and-greet, so we can introduce ourselves. We...

Idiom: low hanging fruit

Definition: things that are easy to do, and give quick results Examples: This project is really complicated.  It will take years to finish. Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit, so we get some benefits quickly, and feel like we are making progress. The...

Idiom: a cash cow

Definition: a source of a lot of cash; a big profit-maker Examples: That is one of our best products. It is a cash cow. If we killed it, this company would lose a lot of money. That industry is very unpopular, and people want the government to regulate it more. But...

Idiom: a can of worms

Definition: a complicated problem, a tangled mess of problems Examples: If we layoff a few employees, it opens a can of worms.  You fire a few people, then the media says your company is sick, then investors start to worry, and your customers call your...

Idiom: to push the envelope

Definition: to test the boundaries, to try something new Examples: Our company is very conservative. Every presentation is always the same. I am going to push the envelope, and completely change the normal format. I’m trying a new sales technique with this new...

Idiom: a rocky start

Definition: a difficult beginning, a rough start Examples: In the end, the project ended well — on time, and under budget. However, in the beginning, it had a rocky start — important employees quit, there was no clear direction, and there was no support...

Idiom: in a pinch

Definition: in an emergency, in a difficult situation Examples: I don’t like fish, but if there is nothing else, I will eat it in a pinch. I don’t know much about finance, but if I have to read an income statement in a pinch, I can do it. About Matt...

Idiom: to hit the nail on the head

Definition: to describe something perfectly, to identify the source of a problem perfectly Examples: We were trying to explain why last night’s party was so funny, but we couldn’t. However, Murat found the perfect words. He hit the nail on the head. My...

Idiom: to take it down a notch

Definition: to reduce the intensity, to relax a little Examples: I am an intense person, and I was scaring our customers. My boss asked me to take it down a notch, to relax a little when we meet customers. You have been working way too hard, and it is hurting your...

Idiom: bait and switch

Definition: selling one thing, but delivering another thing (usually of lower value) Examples: In the store, the dining room table looked very nice. But the table they delivered to my home was very different — the wood was different, the construction was bad,...

Idiom: to jump the gun

Definition: to act prematurely, to do something too early Examples: I should wait longer to agree to the price. I always jump the gun and agree too early, and we pay too much. In life, patience is important. Don’t jump the gun all the time. About Matt KrauseMatt...

Idiom: to split hairs

Definition: to analyze a subject down to trivial and unimportant details; to obsess over small disagreements, when you already agree on the bigger details Examples: I want to give the approval and all you want to do is split hairs about what color the body should be....

Idiom: to be under fire

Definition: to be under attack, to be criticized heavily Examples: Yesterday, I said some very offensive comments to my colleague. Today, I am under fire from the whole office. Everyone is demanding an apology from me. Sales are down, and the Sales Manager is very...

Idiom: mom and pop

Definition: really small, family-owned, family-style, not corporate (it is an adjective) Examples: When I was a child, I lived in a small town. The only grocery store was a small mom-and-pop store. I never saw a large hypermarket until I was older. When he started...

Idiom: to play fast and loose

Definition: to act with no long-term plan, and break the rules, without thinking about ethics Examples: Enron was a fast-growing energy company in the USA, but they played fast and loose with their financial reporting. When the fraud was discovered, the company...

Idiom: by hook or by crook

Definition: to accomplish something using any method available, especially creative or unusual methods Examples: We have no money left in the training budget, but this course is important. We will sponsor the training, whatever it takes. We will do it by hook or by...

Idiom: to work out the kinks

Definition: to solve small problems, usually in a larger process Examples: Don’t worry about the small stuff yet. Let’s focus on the big picture, and we’ll work out the kinks later. Before you introduce a new product, be sure to work out the kinks....

Idiom: to beat a dead horse

Definition: to belabor a point; to insist on talking about something that cannot be changed Examples: My boss hated my idea, and he said “no” quickly. But I continued to argue with him, and push my idea. I finally stopped, because I was wasting my breath....

Idiom: to go through the roof

Definition: to grow rapidly, unexpectedly, excessively Examples: The new product was a really popular, worldwide hit. Our company’s sales went through the roof. This year, oil prices have gone up really high. Last year we thought they were already high, but now...

Idiom: to hit the roof

Definition: to be very surprised and angry, shocked Examples: Last month’s sales numbers are terrible. When the CEO sees these numbers, he is going to hit the roof. I didn’t expect the hotel bill to be so expensive. When I saw it, I just about hit the...

Idiom: when pigs fly

Definition: never, not a chance Examples: The company I work for is very tight with money. I asked for a raise, and my boss laughed and said, “When pigs fly!” I want to manage the sales department. However, my performance is not good, and no one likes me....

Idiom: to bite the bullet

Definition: to make a difficult or painful decision; to take a difficult step Examples: When demand was down, U.S. automakers had to bite the bullet and cut jobs. I know tonight’s football match is big, but we have to finish this sales presentation. We have to...

Idiom: the devil is in the details

Definition: the details are very complicated; things look nice on the surface, but the details are bad Examples: The new building looks nice, but the landlord might be trying to trick us. Read the contract carefully. The devil is in the details. I thought the...

Idiom: cold call

Definition: a sales call with no introduction; an unannounced sales visit Examples: I want to start selling to XYZ Company. However, I don’t know anyone there. I tried to get an introduction, but none of my friends know anyone, either. I will just have to give...

Idiom: to move mountains

Definition: to do something difficult; to do something impossible Examples: My boss asked me to save the failed project, but it was already too late, the project was completely dead. I told him sorry, but I can’t move mountains. Changing a company culture is...

Idiom: come hell or high water

Definition: regardless of difficulties or obstacles Examples: The market is in a big crisis, but we are determined to succeed. Come hell or high water, we will dominate the market. This project is really important. I have to finish it, no matter what happens. My boss...

Idiom: to have or get a piece of the action

Definition: to have or get at least partial ownership of a project or business; to get benefits from a project Examples: My cousin’s business is growing really fast. He is looking for partners, and asked me if I’d like to join him. Of course, I said yes,...

Idiom: to leave someone hanging

Definition: to be uncertain, to be unsure Examples: My company announced future layoffs, but they didn’t tell us specifically who will be laid off. Will I keep my job, or will I lose my job? I don’t know, they left us hanging. This meeting is really...

Idiom: to pull the plug

Definition: to stop something, to discontinue something (usually because it is not doing well) Examples: The project was not going well, so we decided to pull the plug. Tomorrow is the final day. If sales don’t increase immediately, we have to pull the plug. The...

Idiom: to drop someone a line

Definition: to contact someone, to call or email someone (an informal, casual phrase) Examples: We are old friends, but we haven’t talked in three years. I will drop her a line to say hello. When you are finished at the meeting, drop me a line, so we can discuss...

Idiom: to touch base

Definition: to meet briefly, especially to discuss progress Examples: Next week, I will be traveling in Europe. However, let’s touch base each day, so you can update me about the project. Your boss needs to hear from you. If you don’t already have a...

Idiom: to be as clear as day

Definition: to be obvious, straight-forward Examples: I trained Murat on the new procedure. He thinks it is difficult, but I think it is extremely simple, as clear as day. The boss loves him, and every year they give him more responsibility, and more money. I think it...

Idiom: water under the bridge

Definition: something in the past; something that is over, finished, forgotten Examples: We had a big fight last year, but we are good friends again. I don’t even remember what the fight was about — it is water under the bridge. I made a huge mistake last...

Idiom: to cut a deal

Definition: to make a deal, to negotiate a settlement, to make a compromise Examples: We’ve been negotiating for months. It is time to end this. Let’s cut a deal and be finished. I don’t know why they chose our competitor. He must have cut an amazing...

Idiom: to be hard-nosed

Definition: to be stubborn, to be tough, unwilling to compromise Examples: My boss refused to let me take vacation in July. He said absolutely not. I tried to persuade him, but he was really hard-nosed. This customer is a really tough negotiator. They are really...

Idiom: to stand on the sidelines

Definition: to not participate, to watch but not do Examples: Murat and Ahmet are having a big fight. I am going to stand on the sidelines, I am not going to get involved. The company is going through hard times. Get involved with the rescue, don’t just sit and...

Idiom: to make a mountain out of a molehill

Definition: to overestimate the importance of something; to take something small, and make it more important than it needs to be Examples: Yes, she made a mistake. But it’s really not that big. When you say we should fire her, I think you are making a mountain...

Idiom: to turn the corner

Definition: to change (usually in a good way) Examples: Sales have been down for three years, but now they are increasing. I think we finally turned the corner. This ERP implementation has taken so long to finish, much longer than we expected. But I think we finally...

Idiom: to take five

Definition: to take a short break, to rest for a short time Examples: We’ve been working really hard this morning. Let’s take five, and then meet again at 11:00. It’s been a rough day. You need to rest. Take five and go to Starbucks for some coffee....

Idiom: light at the end of the tunnel

Definition: the end of bad times; good results coming from hard times Examples: It’s been really busy lately, and I am working 80 hours per week. But soon a slower time will come — I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. These production problems...

Idiom: big fish in a small pond

Definition: to be important or famous, but in a small group (note: this is not a positive idiom — if you tell someone they are a big fish in a small pond, they will get angry at you!) Examples: I am a top manager at this company, but the company is really small....

Idiom: to rack up (something)

Definition: to add up, to accumulate Examples: The shipping container is stuck in Customs. Every day it is delayed, the shipping company charges us money. We are really racking up a lot of demmurage charges. Don’t pay the invoices late. When an invoice is late,...