Learn English Business Idioms

Here you will learn English business idioms – or should I say – English idioms related to business. Neck and neck, in the driver’s seat, to move the goalposts, and many more. englishclass101

Listen to this episode on my English learning podcast Speak Better English with Harry.

10 English Business Idioms - podcast episode 213

List of Business Idioms

English Idioms about Business

10 Business English Idioms. English Idioms related to business. Intermediate level English. #learnenglish #englishlessons #englishteacher #ingles #aprenderingles #idioms #vocabulary

Here I try to help you get a better understanding of the English language. Help you with your conversational English, business English, all aspects to do with grammar, phrasal verbs, idioms and other particular expressions. ⁣

What I’m going to talk to you about today is connected with business. These are English idioms that are related to business; or that we can use when we’re referring to business.

Every ESL student would like to speak English fluently and confidently. In order to develop good speaking skills in English, you not only have to speak properly and correctly but also to use certain English phrases and expressions in your speech. Native speakers use English idioms in their speech all the time, even in a business conversation. 

Today, let’s take these English business idioms one by one.

Intermediate to Advanced English Marathon

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

INSANITY: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

neck and neck

Meaning: to be level with or at the same stage as a competitor


Both businesses were performing well, their profits were neck and neck.

You can also use this idiom in relation to competition in life or in sport.


The two teams at the top of the league had the same number of points. They were neck and neck.

in the driver’s seat

Meaning: to be in control of a situation


The CEO retired due to ill health. His deputy was appointed to replace him. He was now in the driver’s seat.

10 English Business Idioms

to move the goalposts

Meaning: to change the rules or the targets at any time without consultation


The Director gave the sales manager his sales target for 2020. However, after 4 months he increased the target by 20%. He moved the goalposts without discussion.

to throw someone in at the deep end

Meaning: to be given a difficult task without having much experience


The business was struggling. The competition was very strong. The directors took a decision and appointed a young man to try and recover their business. He was thrown in at the deep end as he had no previous experience in management.

like flogging a dead horse

Meaning: used to describe a pointless exercise that is not going to work


The retailer went into liquidation (bankrupt). It owed the supplier a lot of money. They had no chance of getting the money back. Chasing them for the money would be like flogging (beating) a dead horse. They decided to give up.

10 English Business Idioms

a level playing field

Meaning: when everything is equal and fair to all competitors


The economic situation was the same for everyone. Interest rates were high. The banks were not eager to lend money to anyone. It was a level playing field.

keep your eye on the ball

Meaning: to stay alert and watch what your completion is doing


He always looked at his competitors’ products and advertising campaigns. Although he thought he had a better product he always kept his eye on the ball.

my hands are tied

Meaning: not being able to behave freely or in the way, you would like to due to some existing restrictions (rules, laws)


I’d love to help you and get this deal over the line but my hands are tied.

book your trial English Lesson

smooth sailing

Meaning: literal meaning is when the sailing conditions are smooth, there are no winds, no clouds, the stars are extremely clear. If we’re talking about business, it is a situation where something is achieved without difficulties, when everything goes according to plan.


We’d been preparing this deal for several weeks now, and everything was smooth sailing so far.

to shoot oneself in the foot

Meaning: to cause oneself difficulty, to make a situation worse for yourself without intention


The ABC company has just shot itself in the foot for losing the best sales manager ever! englishclass101

Learn the Ropes meaning

Shoot Yourself in the Foot Meaning

Shoot yourself in the foot idiom meaning. Business English idioms. English idioms in context. Intermediate level English/ #idioms #learnenglish #englishlessons #englishteacher #vocabulary #hoctienganh #ingles #อังกฤษ #английский #英语 #영어

More Information

For more information on English Expressions, English Phrasal Verbs and English Grammar Rules, check out the following links:





You will love these English lessons