Profession, work or study Idioms (Page 1)

Showing 1-39 of 39 results
Agony aunt
An agony aunt is a newspaper columnist who gives advice to people having problems, especially personal ones.
All in a day's work
If something is all in a day's work, it is nothing special.
Bad workers always blame their tools
"A bad worker always blames their tools" - If somebody does a job badly or loses in a game and claims that they were let down by their equipment, you can use this to imply that this was not the case.
Baker's dozen
A Baker's dozen is 13 rather than 12.
Bean counter
A bean counter is an accountant.
Beggars can't be choosers
This idiom means that people who are in great need must accept any help that is offered, even if it is not a complete solution to their problems.
Busman's holiday
A busman's holiday is when you spend your free time doing the same sort of work as you do in your job.
Busy as a one-armed paper hanger
If you've ever hung wallpaper, you know it can get pretty intense when you've spread the wallpaper paste and you then have to hoist it up the ladder to the corner of the ceiling to hang it on the wall. It is tricky to get it perfectly lined up with the vertical plumb line, and get it glued evenly to the wall, without bubbles or lumps. And it all has to be done in fairly short time, before the paste dries. It's a tricky job at the best of times, when you have two arms. Imagine the hassle of doing all that at once -- with one arm!
Don't give up the day job
This idiom is used a way of telling something that they do something badly.
Game plan
A game plan is a strategy.
Gardening leave
(UK) If someone is paid for a period when they are not working, either after they have given in their notice or when they are being investigated, they are on gardening leave.
Give away the store
(USA) If someone gives away the store, they say or do something that makes their position in negotiations, debates, etc, much weaker.
Give someone their cards
If someone is given their cards, they lose their job.
Give someone their marching orders
If you give someone their marching orders, you ask them to leave a place or fire them from a job.
Glass ceiling
The glass ceiling is the discrimination that prevents women and minorities from getting promoted to the highest levels of companies and organisations.
Good offices
Good offices is help and support, especially in mediating  in a dispute.
Have your work cut out
If you have your work cut out, you are very busy indeed.
Someone who rises quickly to a position of wealth or success is a high-flier.('High-flyer' is an alternative spelling.)
Movers and shakers
Dynamic, important people who can get things done quickly and are influential are the movers and shakers.
New brush sweeps clean
'A new brush sweeps clean' means that someone with a new perspective can make great changes. However, the full version is 'a new brush sweeps clean, but an old brush knows the corners', which warns that experience is also a valuable thing. Sometimes 'broom' is used instead of 'brush'.
Noddy work
(UK) Unimportant or very simple tasks are noddy work.
Not worth a tinker's dam
This means that something is worthless and dates back to when someone would travel around the countryside repairing things such as a kitchen pot with a hole in it. He was called a 'tinker'. His dam was used to stop the flow of soldering material being used to close the hole. Of course his 'trade' is passé, thus his dam is worth nothing.
Number cruncher
A number cruncher is an accountant or someone who is very good at dealing with numbers and calculations.
On the line
If somebody's job is on the line, they stand a very good chance of losing it.
Pointy-heads are supposed intellectuals or experts, but who don't really know that much.
Pull rank
A person of higher position or in authority pulls rank, he or she exercises his/her authority, generally ending any discussion and ignoring other people's views.
Real trouper
A real trouper is someone who will fight for what they believe in and doesn't give up easily. (People often use 'Real trooper' as the two words sound the same.)
Slave driver
If someone is a slave driver they work you very hard, often with unreal expectations of what you can achieve.
Speak to the organ grinder not the monkey
Talk to the boss not the subordinate
Stage rat
A stage rat is someone who enjoys doing any work connected with live theatre--acting, set design, lighting, stage managing, etc.
Swear like a sailor
Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a sailor.
Swear like a trooper
Someone who is foul-mouthed and uses bad language all the time, swears like a trooper.
Teacher's pet
The teacher's favorite pupil is the teacher's pet, especially if disliked by the other pupils.
The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot
A skilled or knowledgeable person often fails to use their skills for the benefit of their family and people close to them.
Top brass
In the army or in other organizations, the top brass are the people in the highest positions
Tread the boards
When someone treads the boards, they perform on stage in a theatre.
Trick of the trade
A trick of the trade is something used by people experienced in an area that helps them.
Work the system
If people work the system, they exploit the state or similar setup to their advantage.
Yeoman's service
(UK) To do yeoman's service is to serve in an exemplary manner.

Suggest an Idiom

Members Get More - Sign up for free and gain access to many more idioms and slang expressions. Register now.