Business English Idioms from Sport, War and Gambling –
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Business English Idioms from Sport, War and Gambling

In your business discussion at the office, you will often hear words related to sport, war or gambling area, which is correct if you ask yourself what happens. Maybe because some people see the business like being a fair competition (like in sport), others a fight (like in war) or a matter of luck or bad luck (like in gambling). Business idioms are having their roots in many areas.
Let’s see some of them!


Sports idioms used in business English:
1. ballpark figure = estimate = a evalua, a aprecia
when we give a number which we think it’s close to the actual one:
I don’t know the number of spectators we expect, but 20000 is a good ballpark figure.
2. on the ball = to understand something very quickly, smart = a înțelege rapid

My team leader is very smart, he is always on the ball.
3. plain sailing = when something is easy to do, to achieve, to accomplish = a fi foarte ușor de îndeplinit, “floare la ureche”

This job will be plain sailing for you, you are a specialist.
4. moving the goalposts = when somebody changes the aims or decisions = a schimba țelul sau deciziile (pe parcurs)
I am never sure what to do, he keeps moving the goalposts.
5. a level playing field = we talk about a situation that gives no one advantage = vorbim despre o situație care nu dă nimănui un avantaj, este aceeași, egală pentru ambele părți.
On this market, there is no unfair competition we have a level playing field. 

War Idioms:

1. to be on the warpath = to be very angry – foarte furios, a fi pe picior de război
Our customers are on the warpath, there are serious problems with the billing system.
2. to do battle with = to fight it out = a se lupta cu o instituție sau cu un organism, autoritate
I think I’ll have to do battle with the purchasing department for this new order.
3. fighting a losing battle = making no progress = a duce o bătălie deja pierdută, a nu se face niciun progres
It’s no use, we are fighting a losing battle against this progressive increase in prices.
4. half the battle = the rest is easy = deja o jumătate de bătălie este dată, însemnând că ceea ce mai rămâne este ușor de făcut.
If you can get that funding, that’s half the battle.
5. to fight a running battle = to have a lot of arguments – a aduce/avea o mulțime de argumente pentru a obține ceva
I keep fighting a running battle with the senior management to get some new technology, but no one listens.
6. to stick to your guns = to maintain your position or your point of view – a rămâne pe pozitie, a rămâne la propriile argumente sau puncte de vedere
They may want to determine us to change our mind but we should stick to our guns.
7. to be up in arms = to be very angry and ready to fight = a fi furios și pus pe bătaie
Our boss is up in arms about the launching delay.

Gambling Idioms:

  1. hedge our bets = reduce the risk of failure – a îngrădi pariurile cu înțelesul de a reduce riscurile unui eșec

You should hedge your bets and not rely on a single product!

  1. the odds are stacked against us = things are against us, there are many difficulties = șansele sunt contra noastră, sunt multe dificultăți

To start a new company now in this market?! The odds would be stacked against us, we should stick to this brand.

  1. makes no odds = makes no difference = rămâne la fel, nu schimbă cu nimic lucrurile

This income makes no odds, we still need a lot to invest.

  1. over the odds = more than it’s worth – mai mult decât merită, mai mult decât valorează

We have sold them the business over the odds but now they corner the market.

  1. to come up trumps/turned up trumps = to do what is necessary to produce goods, unexpected results =a face ce este nevoie pentru a avea rezultate neașteptate, a produce…

I came up trumps and did everything right and on time.

  1. to play your cards right = to behave in the right way, to do the right thing = a-ți folosi atuurile, calitățile în cel mai potrivit mod pentru a câștiga într-o situație.

If we play our cards right, we can get the contract.