There are many English idioms used in the business world. If you don’t understand these English expressions or phrases it is very easy for someone to get lost in a conversation. In this Business English lesson with your English teacher Tash, you would learn common English idioms used at work that are taken form the articles published in popular Business magazines. Although most of these idioms are used in both British and American English, the English video lesson is designed to include the most common business idioms in American English. For complete video transcript of this lesson visit our website –
Complete Video Transcript –
Hello and welcome. My name is Tash and I welcome you to a new lesson. Yes, so what are we doing today? Business-related idioms. Idioms and phrases. Idioms are phrases which we come across in our daily conversations but how often do we use them? we don’t, we hesitate to use them because we think that, if I’m gonna use an idiom or a phrase someone is going to tell me that, okay he or she is trying to show off or trying to show that he or she is knowledgeable. No friends, it does not work that way. If you know something, flaunt it. Show that you know something. Now, what are business related idioms? Why am I specifically talking to you about business-related idioms? Let’s say in a financial company or a company which talks about money and of course all the companies talk about money buts specifically talking here about a financial company. If you enter a company which is a finance-related one, you will hear a lot of these idioms, okay. They are all related to money and you might wonder that, am I in some different land? Because you do not understand the language that they are talking but friends do not hesitate henceforth because these are simple idioms which have to use not in the literal meaning but in our daily conversation through phrases. So, let’s start and see how these idioms are gonna help us.
The first one says, cash cow. Okay now, what is a cash cow? A cash cow is that product that a company launches which provides or gives or yields the maximum benefit or the maximum profit to the company, okay. Let’s see this with an example, Apple for that matter. Apple launched iPhones. Now we all know about iPhones, how crazy people are for iPhones. Yes, and why are they so crazy? Because their services are good. The phone is excellent, the features are excellent. So iPhone became the cash cow for Apple because it is the maximum selling product. Also, a cash cow refers to that product which gives you the maximum benefit and provided for the rest of the company. Okay, so a cash cow is a profitable product. So how do we use it in a sentence? We simply say the new product that the company launched became a cash cow for the company. so next time you hear the word, cash cow, don’t get shocked, don’t be surprised. You know what it means, yeah.
The next one says, eager beaver. So who is an eager beaver? An eager beaver is that person who’s very enthusiastic and hard working. Not only enthusiastic but definitely hard working. Okay, so enthusiastic and hard working person. You will always see among your colleagues and your co-workers, there is somebody who is very enthusiastic. I’m sure we are all but then there is somebody who is always on his toes, who is always eager to finish the work before anybody else. So whenever you wanna use this in a sentence, you can simply say, George, is an eager beaver. He is sure to succeed because a person who is enthusiastic and eager is sure to succeed, right?
The next one says, go belly up. Okay, I’m not talking about our bellies here. What I’m talking about here is, to fail completely, okay, to fail completely. Okay, you know what happens at times, there are companies which go through a crisis or a company who is majorly into sales has come down crashing because the sales have been going down. At that time, people usually say, that due to the drop in the sales figure, the company has completely gone belly up. Let’s take the example of Lehman Brothers who actually in the year 2009, faced a very bad crisis. They had to completely shut down. The employees had to be asked to leave and the company actually went belly up.
Yeah, the next one here is, golden handshake. Golden handshake simply means when you would have heard in certain companies, they ask people to take a VRS, which means a voluntary retirement scheme and why do they do that? Maybe they want to size down the company, they want to reduce the number of people who are working there but then they do not know how to do that. Of course, I can’t just walk into the company and tell my employees that okay from tomorrow please do not come to work. I do not need you’ll anymore. No, a professional and a professional company does not work like this. So the company very smartly gives a golden handshake to their employees. They ask them, okay they ask them to leave the company. However, now they want to persuade, when I say persuade, I mean in a very professional way, force the people to leave the company. So they have to give them a huge sum of money which is definitely going to provide for them. So what the company does is, they give them a golden handshake. So let’s say, for example, Tom was given a golden handshake when he was asked to leave the company which means he was asked to leave the company but at the same time, he was given a huge sum of money. Okay, so this means a huge sum of money.
The next one here is grease someone’s palms. Greasing someone’s palms simply means bribing someone. I’m sure you’ve heard the term bribe. We hear it so often. Bribe, let’s say I’ll give you an example. A company wants a contract for a bridge, okay and it’s not very easy to get it because there are almost like 10 to 12 contractors who are waiting for that project and this company suddenly. There are rumours that the company has greased someone’s palms to get that contract. Greasing someone’s palms means bribing someone. So the next time you hear this word, you know what it means. It means to bribe someone. So, friends we’ve had, we’ve looked at 5 business related idioms. Let’s have a look at the other 5 idioms.
So let’s have a look at some more business related idioms. Selling ice to Eskimos. Okay, weird, right? Selling ice to Eskimos? Okay so we all know where Eskimos live? They all live of course in the Tundra region where its’ snowing throughout the year. So isn’t it a little weird that an Eskimo would want to buy ice? Yes but that’s the literal meaning that i spoke to you about but that’s not what we are gonna see here. Here selling ice to Eskimos means to force somebody or to make someone buy or accept something that is unnecessary. Okay if I have something already, you need to persuade me to buy that again. Which means this is mostly related to the sales executives. Let me put it in an example, say the sales executive was such a good or a sweet talker that he could sell ice to Eskimos. Which means he was such a sweet talker, he was so great at his job that he could sell anything to anybody. Okay, so that means sealing ice to Eskimos. Making somebody buy, say making someone buy things they do not need. so the next time, if someone’s trying to sell you something which you do not need, you simply tell them, stop selling ice to Eskimos, yeah.
Okay, the next one says, a dead duck. Now, what’s a dead duck? A dead duck in a business related forum simply means a dead investment. Okay, an investment where nobody would want to invest. Let’s say the company has come up with a product or a project which is from the beginning, likely to not make profits. Okay, and the company wants investors for it but people who are approached to invest know that it’s already a dead duck. So, the company will not be able to get investors to invest in them. So, a dead duck is a dead investment. To use it in a sentence, you could simply say, that the new project was a dead duck from the beginning due to lack of funds. Of course, if someone knows that a particular, a particular investment or a particular project is not gonna work, nobody is going to invest in that.
Alright, the next one says, at a premium. Now we all know what the word premium means. Premium means high quality, right? At a very high rate. So at a premium means at a high price. Okay at a high price. Let’s take the example of, here let’s take examples of flat-screen TVs, yeah. Well, when flat screen TVs first came into the market, they all were selling at a premium, right? Not really everybody could afford it but yes because why would everybody not afford it? Because it was selling at a premium, at a high price.
The next one says, a bitter pill to swallow. Yeah, pills, medication, pills are always bitter to swallow but that’s the literal meaning of that. What does it mean in a business related forum or as a business-related idiom, what does it mean? It simply means that something unpleasant to accept, okay. Something which you probably didn’t even accept and that is coming your way. Let’s take an example of salary hikes. Yes, the entire year, we work really hard and what do we wait for? Yes, friends, we wait for our appraisals. So let’s say, the salary hike after the entire year’s hard work or say the amount of the salary hike after the entire year’s hard work was a bitter pill to swallow, which means it was something unpleasant to accept, right? So, it’s something unpleasant to accept, right?
The last one is, face the music. Okay face the music, I usually hear the music, what is facing the music? Facing the music means to face the consequences, okay. Let’s say, the sales people, the sales team has not really done well with the monthly report. They’re having a meeting and colleagues are talking to each other. Okay friends, okay guys, let’s be ready to face the music because they know that once they enter the meeting room or the conference room, the boss is going to give it to them, okay. So facing the music is facing the consequences.
So, friends, we have seen 10 business related idioms today. However, I’m so sure you have heard many of these or few of these before but you have never used them yourself. Simply because you’re hesitant or you’re wondering what people are going to talk about you. Don’t do that friends, I will request you that put all that you know into use. It’s gonna make you sound a little more professional, a better person indeed. So that’s all from me for now. Thanks for watching, keep learning. I’ll be back with a new lesson, till then take care and bye.