Learn 20 Interesting Work Expressions

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Work expressions capture the challenges, accomplishments, and dynamics of professional life. Here are 20 idioms and phrasal verbs about work.

Work Expressions

  1. Burn the midnight oil
    • Meaning: Work late into the night.
    • Example: I’ve been burning the midnight oil studying.
  2. Break one’s back
    • Meaning: Work extremely hard.
    • Example: He broke his back to finish the project.
  3. Pull your weight
    • Meaning: Do your fair share of work.
    • Example: Everyone needs to pull their weight here.
  4. Climb the corporate ladder
    • Meaning: Work towards higher positions.
    • Example: He’s trying to climb the corporate ladder.
  5. Hit the ground running
    • Meaning: Start a job quickly and effectively.
    • Example: New employees must hit the ground running.
  6. Put your nose to the grindstone
    • Meaning: Focus on hard work.
    • Example: She put her nose to the grindstone.
  7. Learn the ropes
    • Meaning: Learn how to do a job.
    • Example: It took her a while to learn the ropes.
  8. Think outside the box
    • Meaning: Approach work problems creatively.
    • Example: We need to think outside the box.
  9. Put in overtime
    • Meaning: Work extra hours beyond the usual.
    • Example: He’s been putting in overtime lately.
  10. Work one’s fingers to the bone
    • Meaning: Work very hard for a long time.
    • Example: She worked her fingers to the bone.
  11. Back to the drawing board
    • Meaning: Start over after a failure.
    • Example: We need to go back to the drawing board.
  12. Carry the weight
    • Meaning: Handle the responsibility alone.
    • Example: He carried the weight of the project.
  13. Go the extra mile
    • Meaning: Make extra efforts in work.
    • Example: She always goes the extra mile.
  14. Call it a day
    • Meaning: Stop working for the day.
    • Example: It’s 6 PM; let’s call it a day.
  15. Cut corners
    • Meaning: Do something in a quicker but lower quality way.
    • Example: Don’t cut corners on this project.
  16. Give it your best shot
    • Meaning: Try your hardest.
    • Example: Just give it your best shot!
  17. In the same boat
    • Meaning: Share the same difficult situation.
    • Example: We’re all in the same boat.
  18. Buckle down
    • Meaning: Start working seriously.
    • Example: It’s time to buckle down and study.
  19. Work out the kinks
    • Meaning: Solve minor issues.
    • Example: We’re working out the kinks in the system.
  20. Work hand in glove
    • Meaning: Work very closely together.
    • Example: The two teams work hand in glove.

work expressions


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