20 Idioms for Working HardLearn 20 Idioms for hard work and get the work idioms PDF for free! Join Business English Course
Introduction to work idioms
Are you ready to give it 110%? Do you constantly wonder what English idioms you can use to describe how hard you work? Good, because today you are going to learn 20 Common English idioms for working hard. We have included the idiom meaning and an example of the idiom to help support your language learning by putting the idioms into context. As you can see, we have been working hard for you!
Get the work idioms PDF download for free!
We’ve created a work idioms PDF for you to download and keep for free. Just complete the subscription form here and we’ll send you the work idioms PDF to your email inbox.
What are idioms?
Let’s take a quick refresh – what is an idiom? An idiom is a common English saying or expression where the meaning of the complete phrase isn’t related to the literal meaning of the words used.
Idioms are a common feature of the English language and it’s important for ESL learners to feel confident using them.
Why are idioms important?
Idioms are one of the best ways to sound fluent, confident and natural as an English speaker. Native English speakers use them all the time and they are a fun and advanced way to develop your language to an advanced level of English.
Can I use Idioms at work?
While this list is not ‘business idioms’, all of these hard-working idiom phrases can be used in both business and informal situations.
Learn Buiness English Online
Below you will find the list of 20 work idioms, the description of the idiom and idiom examples. Below the list, you will find a crossword to help test your new idiom knowledge as well as watch a video of this lesson on common idioms for working hard.
If you’re serious about using English to progress your career, we’ve created the perfect Business English course. In our unique course you’ll learn important English grammar and vocabulary for a wide range of work situations and build your career tools including your CV, cover letter and important competency invervew questions. Join other Business English students on our unique course and get support to progress in our community to take your career to the next level.
20 Idioms For Working Hard
Idiom #1: Back/nose to the grindstone
To return to/start a hard tedious task.
Right, that’s my break over, I had better get back to the grindstone.
Idiom #2: Be on a roll
Experiencing a period of success or good luck.
We signed up two new clients last week and 4 new clients this week, with 3 more in the pipeline. We are on a roll.
Idiom #3: Be snowed under
Be overwhelmed with a very large quantity of work (or commitments).
I’m so sorry I missed the teacher’s meeting today, with the exams around the corner and several members of staff self-isolating I’m completely snowed under at the moment.
Idiom #4: Bend over backwards
To work extra hard to help someone or to make them happy.
I don’t understand why he continues to bend over backwards for Julia, she doesn’t appreciate it.
Idiom #5: Blood, sweat, and tears
If something needs blood, sweat, and tears then it is a hard thing to do and requires a lot of effort.
We spent 15 years building this business, it took blood, sweat, and tears to make it what it is today.
Idiom #6: Burning a candle at both ends
To work too hard as well as trying to do other things.
My boss had a nervous breakdown last month, it’s not surprising, he was burning the candle at both ends for many months.
Idiom #7: Get cracking
Get started on a project or task.
Right, do we all know what we are supposed to be doing? Great, let’s get cracking.
Idiom #8: Give it 110%
Try really hard to achieve something.
I know that you are all tired, it’s really hot outside, and you would rather be relaxing in the shade eating ice cream, but today is a very important day for our school so I want you to get out there and give it 110%.
Idiom #9: Go the extra mile
To do more than what is expected to make something happen, or help someone.
We have decided to promote Nick. He went the extra mile for us during the pandemic and really showed us his commitment.
Idiom #10: Hang in there
Don’t give up. Keep going through the hard times.
The next few months will be hard for all of us, just hang in there, things will improve.
Idiom #11: Jump through hoops
Go through an elaborate or complicated procedure in order to achieve an objective.
We are in the process of applying for a mortgage, but we have to jump through so many hoops.
Idiom #12: Knuckle/buckle down
To focus and work diligently on a task or problem
If you all knuckle down and do your revision between now and the exams then you will pass with flying colours.
Idiom #13: Make up for lost time
To do something as much as possible because you were not able to do it before. To catch up.
I haven’t seen my family for over two years, so we are going to go on holiday together, we really need to make up for lost time.
Idiom #14: Move mountains
Make every possible effort, doing the impossible if needed.
Trust me, I will move mountains to make sure that you are satisfied with your new branding.
Idiom #15: No pain no gain
Suffering is necessary in order to achieve something.
The athletes are complaining about having to train on a Sunday, but no pain no gain.
Idiom #16: Pull one’s own weight
To do your fair share of work that a group of people is doing together.
James, you have taken a lot of time off this month and when you have been in you haven’t done very much work. We are all working hard to reach our deadline, so we need you to start pulling your own weight otherwise we will have to let you go.
Idiom #17: Raise the bar
Raise the standards which need to be met in order to qualify for something.
Apple has really raised the bar with their latest iPhone.
Idiom #18: Stay ahead of the game
To react quickly and gain/keep an advantage.
We are changing our marketing strategy, advertising will now include TikTok. We must stay ahead of the game.
Idiom #19: Stay the course
To keep going strong to the end of a race or contest or task.
We have been working with this client for 12 months on this project, we plan to stay the course and get the job done.
Idiom #20: Take the bull by the horns
To deal decisively with a difficult or dangerous situation.
I’ve asked him several times but he ignores me. I must take the bull by the horns and tell my landlord that I am moving out unless he fixes the central heating.
Test Your Knowledge
Let’s test your knowledge. Below you will find a crossword. Using the clues try to find the missing idioms and write them into the spaces provided. When you have completed the crossword click CHECK to check your answers or click SHOW SOLUTION to reveal the correct answers.
Watch this video to hear Anna take you through this list of English idioms.
A Unique Business English Course
Most Business English courses only teach you about Business English. In our unique syllabus, we will teach you the language you need to know for a wide range of client and colleague situations as well as helping you to build the tools needed to progress your career with English. We’ll help you find, apply for and secure an English speaking job by building career assest, incluing: an Elevator Pitch, cover letter, CV and key competency question answers. You’ll do all of this with support from like minded fello students in the English Like A Native Community where you can also practice speaking in the conversation club.
Synonyms of hardworking
Before we wrap up, let’s have a look at some synonyms and antonyms of ‘hardworking’. A synonym of hardworking could relate to a few things, however, we are looking at the adjective of a person who works with a commitment to the task. Synonyms of hardworking, therefore, can include: assiduous, dogged, industrious, tireless/untiring, persistent, tenacious, persistent, steadfast, unrelenting and rigorous.
Antonyms of hardworking may include: lazy, indifferent, idle, inactive, passive and slow.
Did you enjoy this Free English lesson on work idioms? If you’d like to see more, you can:
- Learn how to speak English fluently in less than a year!
- Download your FREE English language resource: 20 Idioms for Working Hard. (Fill in form below)
- Improve your English fluency and Pronunciation with one of our courses. Check our our English Language and Pronunciation course page here.
- Check out more free lessons on English Idioms including: 50 Common Idioms, 30 Animal Idioms, 30 Time Idioms and 10 Weather Idioms.
- Find out more about our 5 Star rated English courses here:
DOWNLOAD THE 4 STEP SYSTEM FOR ENGLISH FLUENCY PDF
- 4 Key Mistakes: Learn the 4 BIG mistakes that will stop you from reaching fluency
- 4 Step System: Learn my proven 4 step system for reaching English Fluency
- English Fluency: Learn how to speak with fluent English in less than 1 year
English fluency is the most important skill you'll ever learn. My 4 step system will teach you how to achieve your goal without spending thousands on years of private lessons.