25 Idiomatic Expressions for Typical Workday Scenarios

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At times when we’re writing or even in workplace conversations, we find ourselves using the same words over and over. Other times, we struggle for the right words that will explain what we mean. An idiom, a phrase or fixed expressions that usually have a figurative meaning, can be your ticket to improved speech and writing.

25 Idiomatic Expressions for Typical Workday Scenarios - Image 1

Here’s a list of idioms you can use for your articles or in conversations with workmates.  

1. Raise the bar

To raise the standards or to make a task more difficult to pull off.

Your impressive UX design raised the bar for our competitors.  

2. Beat around the bush

To talk evasively or waste time with an indirect explanation.

I have a meeting in five minutes so stop beating around the bush.  

3. Best thing since sliced bread

Used to show enthusiasm for something that is impressive or brilliant.

Your tagline for that campaign is the best thing since sliced bread.

4. Cry over spilled milk

To be upset over something you can’t change or undo.

Stop crying over spilled milk and learn from the client’s feedback.

5. Cut corners

To save effort or money by looking for easier or cheaper ways to do something

The competitor tried to cut corners in production, which sacrificed quality.  

6. Round-the-clock

24 hours a day

Our round-the-clock support team is ready to help anytime.

7. Up in the air

Used when something is still undecided.

Plans for next year are still up in the air.

8. Sit on the fence

Not making a clear choice or taking sides.

The boss is sitting on the fence about which employee to promote.

9. Safe bet

The option where you’re sure to succeed.

Mark’s suggestion is a safe bet since he did an in-depth research on the market.

10. Back to square one

To go back to working on something from the beginning.

We’re back to square one since the client didn’t like any of the proposals.

11. Cut to the chase

To get to the point.

We don’t have much time for this meeting so let me cut to the chase.  

12. Call it a day

To stop working and go home.

Tom called it a day after working on the video animation for 12 hours.

13. On the same page

Have the same understanding.

The creatives team is not yet done with the billboard design since, it turns out, the art director and copywriter were not on the same page.   

 14. Get down to business

To start doing what needs to be done

The legal department got down to business to make sure no issue arises from the merger.

15. Get the ball rolling

To get started on an activity

They got the ball rolling as soon as they reached their desks to make sure they meet the deadline.  

16. Go down the drain

When efforts are wasted or didn’t amount to anything.

They did everything they can so their effort doesn’t go down the drain.

17. Go the extra mile

To do more than what is expected.

One benefit of choosing to work with us is we always go the extra mile.

18. Hands are tied

Not free to act or intervene

I asked them to speed up the process but according to them, their hands are tied.

19. In full swing

Moving efficiently forward.

The event was in full swing when Gary realized he lost the budget for the photographers.   

20. In a nutshell

Concisely or in few words.

That’s what the 6-month project is about, in a nutshell.

21. Last straw

The final act that triggered a response.

Coming in late again for the meeting was the last straw for suspending Don.  

22. No-brainer

An obvious choice or something that requires little thought.

Choosing between blue or yellow for the logo is a no-brainer. Of course, I’ll go for blue.

23. No time to lose

A situation where fast action is needed.

It’s a short work week so the team has no time to lose.  

24.  Off the top of one’s head

Without much thought.

Off the top of my head, I believe it will only take us a couple of days to shoot the video.

25. Ahead of the curve

Above median.

Jenny was ahead of the curve after completing her training.


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Posted 5 May, 2017

Nikki Martinez

Communications Team Lead at Freelancer.com

Storyteller, picture taker, avid news reader.

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