Give and take: cooperation or compromise
- It took a lot of give and take, but I think we finally reached an agreement that satisfied everyone.
- He was used to working alone. In his new job, he had to learn to participate in the give and take.
Meet someone halfway: compromise
- If you can meet me halfway, I think we can reach an agreement.
- They met us halfway, so that we could make a deal that worked for all of us.
Down to the wire: close to the deadline
- We have to work overtime because we’re down to the wire on this project.
- He doesn’t plan his work well, so he always has to work down to the wire.
Heads up: a warning that a change or new procedure is coming
- Our boss gave us a heads up about the change in the procedure.
- I’d like a heads up on any design changes so I can make adjustments.
A pain in the neck: a difficult problem or person
- This project has had problems from the beginning. It’s a pain in the neck.
- I left that job because it was a pain in the neck.
Be in someone’s face: make someone uncomfortable, be confrontational
- That salesman was really in my face. I didn’t like him. He stood very close and was very persistent.
- She’s a difficult person to work with because she is always in your face. She likes to argue.
Go for broke: attempt to reach a very high goal; gamble everything
- He risked everything on the new venture. He went for broke.
- If we go for broke on this one, and it doesn’t work, we’ll be back to square one.
Strike out: fail or make a big mistake
- He struck out with the big account. They decided not to purchase the product.
- I don’t want to strike out on this project. I want it to be a success.
Screw up: make a big error or mistake
- She screwed up the order, and we had to start over again.
- I usually screw up when I’m really tired and I keep working anyway.
Draw the line: establish limits or boundaries
- We have to draw the line with this customer. They are demanding too much. Tell them we won’t make any more design changes.
- He drew the line with his teenage son and told him if he got another ticket, he couldn’t continue driving.
Twist someone’s arm: convince or persuade someone to do something
- I didn’t want to go to the party, but she twisted my arm, so I went.
- Lisa didn’t want to go to the dance alone, so she called a friend and twisted his arm. He finally agreed to go along.
Burn one’s bridges: do something that will hurt or destroy a relationship
- I wasn’t negative about why I left the job. I didn’t want to burn my bridges. I might want to use my old boss as a reference.
- He burned his bridges when he published that book about the politics at his old company.