Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Business Lingo (Part 1)

If you're an adult English User, part of the challenge is getting a grasp of (understanding) the real meaning of business idioms. 

Often, it's difficult to stay up to speed with (keep up with) all the expressions that English speakers use when discussing professional matters.

Today, we'll take look at a few of these:

1. blockbuster

a big success; a huge hit

Example: Eli Lilly made a lot of money with the prescription drug, Prozac. It was a real blockbuster.

Origin: This term comes from the blockbuster bombs used during World War Two by the British Royal Air Force. They were huge and created a large explosive force. Blockbuster ideas similarly create a big impact - and hopefully don't cause destruction like blockbuster bombs!

2. cash cow

a product, service, or business division that generates a lot of cash for the company, without requiring much investment

Example: With strong sales every year and a great brand name, Mercedes is a cash cowfor DaimlerChrysler.

3. dog-eat-dog world

a cruel and aggressive world in which people just look out for themselves

Example: Your company fired you shortly after you had a heart attack? Well, it's certainly a dog-eat-dog world!

Origin: This expression dates back to the 1500's. Wild dogs were observed fighting aggressively over a piece of food. The connection was made that people, like dogs, often compete aggressively to get what they want.

4. (to) generate lots of buzz

to cause many people to start talking about a product or service, usually in a positive way that increases sales

Example: Procter & Gamble generated lots of buzz for its new toothpaste by giving away free samples to people on the streets of New York City.

Note: "Buzz" is a popular word for "attention."

5. mum's the word

let's keep quiet about this; I agree not to tell anyone about this

Example: Please don't tell anybody about our new project. Remember: mum's the word!

Origin: The word "mum" comes from the murmur "mmmmm," the only sound you can make when your mouth is shut firmly. Try making other sounds besides "mmmmm" with your lips and mouth shut firmly, and you will see that it's impossible!

And now, for those of you who like rock and roll, here's a classic song from the world famous heavy metal group AC/DC that will now make a lot more sense. The lyrics are below. It's loud. Enjoy!

"Dog Eat Dog" by AC/DC

Well, it's a dog eat dog,
Eat cat, too
The French eat frog,
And I eat you
Businessman, when you make a deal,
Do you know who you can trust?
Do you sign your life away?
Do you write your name in dust?

Hey, hey, hey!
Every dog has his day!
It's a dog eat dog!
Dog eat dog!

"Dog Eat Dog"
Read the news
Someone win,
Someone lose
Up's above and down's below,
And Limbo's in between
Up, you win - down, you lose,
It's anybody's game

Hey, hey, hey!
Every dog has his day!
It's a dog eat dog!
Dog eat dog!


And it's an eye for eye,
Tooth for tooth
It's a lie,
That's the truth
See the blind man on the street,
Lookin' for somethin' free
Hear the kind man ask his friends,
"Hey, what's in it for me?"

Hey, hey, hey!
Every dog has his day!
It's a dog eat dog!
Dog eat dog!
(Dog eat dog! Dog eat dog!)
(Dog eat dog!) Dog eat dog!
(Dog eat dog!) Hey!
(Dog eat dog!) Whoo! Aaooo...
(Dog eat dog!) Dog eat dog!
(Dog eat dog! Dog eat dog!)
Dog eat dog eat dog eat dog!
(Dog eat dog!) Dog eat dog eat dog eat dog!
(Dog eat dog!) Dog eat dog eat - dog eat dog!
(Dog eat dog! Dog eat dog!)

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