February 19, 2008

#01-074: Business Jargon - Part II: Stressed Out

man holding head with both hands; appearing to have a headache
We all know how it feels...

Note: If your boss has too short a fuse, you might end up getting your walking papers--but don't get stressed out!

Get Ready: What do you find is the best way to relax when you feel stressed out?

Continuing with the list we looked at in Lesson #01-073, let's learn seven more idioms often used in business. Read the dialogue, taking note of the underlined words. Then do the Practice below, check your answers in the first Comment, and read the Explanations.

Mark and Melissa are discussing their boss, Theresa.

Mark: Dang! Theresa has such a short fuse!

Melissa: I know! Always on a power trip!

Mark: I made one little mistake and she gave me such a tongue-lashing, I thought I was going to end up getting my walking papers.

Melissa: I always feel stressed out when she's around. Still, I guess it takes a certain type to be a take-charge type of person.

Mark: I understand, but why does she always have to go the whole hog?

Melissa: I hear ya!


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_stress

Practice: Match the idiom to its meaning. After you check your answers in the first comment, read on for Explanations about each one.

  1. power trip
  2. short fuse
  3. stressed out
  4. take-charge
  5. tongue-lashing
  6. walking papers
  7. whole hog

  1. willing to be a leader
  2. to be given these means to be fired
  3. tendency to get angry easily
  4. having too much pressure
  5. completely
  6. a severe scolding
  7. when a leader uses his or her authority unwisely

Answers are in the first comment below.

Explanation of the Answers: After you check your answers in the first comment below, read on for more information on these idioms.

  • power trip: A bit like an ego trip, this is when someone in authority uses his power unwisely. It's especially true when someone has been given a little power and overuses it: "I wish they hadn't made Susan the team leader; now she's on a real power trip."
  • short fuse: This is when someone gets angry easily. People can get injured by illegal firecrackers  with short fuses; they "go off" too soon. Just the same, if you know someone with a "short fuse," he or she may get angry too quickly.
  • stressed out: Stress is a response to pressure from the outside. Actually, stress isn't a bad thing in itself: it keeps us going. The problem is when there is too much stress: then we say, "I need a break from all this! I'm so stressed out!"
  • take-charge: Notice the hyphen. This is not a phrasal verb, "to take charge"; when two words are used as a single adjective, they are usually hyphenated (like "bush-league" in Lesson #01-073). So here, when we have someone who is willing to be a leader, we say something like, "Give this project to Tom; he's a take-charge guy."
  • tongue-lashing: A lash is like a whip. And a lashing is "a whipping." So what's a "tongue-lashing"? When someone is severely scolded--lashed with the tongue. "When my mistake lost us the contract, my boss gave me a real tongue-lashing."
  • walking papers: To be "given one's walking papers" means to be fired. There is often some documentation involved in firing an employee; such documents may be the origin of the phrase.
  • whole hog: The meaning is something like "completely." It can be used as a noun ("go the whole hog") or an adverb phrase ("go whole hog"). The origin seems to be in a story that some people were prohibited from eating pork. Because they were starving, they were permitted to eat some parts of a pig, but they were so hungry they ended up eating "the whole hog." So now we say things like, "Don't do a half-finished job; go (the) whole hog or don't go at all."

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for February 19, 2008

This lesson received 285 visits on my old site between February, 2012, and July, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. g; 2. c; 3. d; 4. a; 5. f; 6. b; 7. e