Business idioms

Go off the rails

A train going off the rails

If someone loses complete control of their behavior or emotions, then you can say that they have gone off the rails. We use the expression go off the rails to refer to someone who has started to behave in a strange or abnormal way. In many cases, their actions are considered to be inappropriate or unacceptable compared to their usual standards. As a result, they are likely to cause damage either to themselves or others.

The tables have turned

During a chess match, the tables can turn.

If someone used to be in a better position than you in terms of wealth, power or overall advantage, but now you are in a better position than them, then the tables have turned. We say that the tables have turned when the roles between two people (or groups of people) have reversed and are now the opposite of what they used to be. It means that the person who once had the advantage in a situation now has the disadvantage, and vice versa.

Humour me

A smiling businessman drinking coffee

When you say humour me, you are asking someone to simplify what they are saying. It implies that you know that the other person might find it silly or pointless. It is an expression that shows humility.

This expression is appropriate for use in personal and professional settings as it asks others to explain their ideas in a way that you can understand. It is especially appropriate when someone is using specialized language.

Beat around the bush

Oversized bush, trimmed into a globe shape

If someone beats around the bush, they do not talk about a subject in an open or direct way. Instead, they may talk about a lot of irrelevant or unimportant details to avoid getting to the main point. People usually beat around the bush, either consciously or subconsciously, when they are trying to avoid a subject that is sensitive, controversial, or uncomfortable. As a result, the person may approach the topic cautiously by discussing it in a vague or roundabout way.

In the bag

If you have something in the bag, it means that you are sure that you will achieve it or acquire it. We usually use this expression to predict a future success that seems certain or, at least, highly probable.

This expression can be used in a variety of situations, although it is better suited to informal contexts. For example: