30 Idioms About Hard Work with Meaning and Examples

Idioms About Hard Work

Idioms are phrases that have a meaning different from the words that make them up. They are used to express ideas in a colorful and imaginative way. When talking about hard work, idioms can describe the effort, dedication, and perseverance required to achieve success. These phrases are common in everyday language and can make conversations more engaging and expressive. Understanding idioms about hard work can help you appreciate the value of effort and determination. In this lesson, we will explore some popular idioms related to hard work, explain their meanings, and give examples of how they are used. This will make it easier to understand these phrases and use them effectively in your own conversations.

Table of Contents

Idioms for Hard Work

Burn the candle at both ends

    • Meaning: Work very late and very early; overwork.
    • Example: She’s burning the candle at both ends with her two jobs.

Climb the ladder

    • Meaning: Gradually achieve success.
    • Example: He’s been climbing the ladder at his company for years.

Go the extra mile

    • Meaning: Doing more than what is required.
    • Example: She always goes the extra mile to ensure her customers are happy.

Paddle your own canoe

    • Meaning: Be independent and self-reliant.
    • Example: He’s been paddling his own canoe since he left college.

Earn your stripes

    • Meaning: Gain experience, especially through hard work.
    • Example: He earned his stripes in the industry through years of hard work.

Get down to brass tacks

    • Meaning: Start working seriously on something.
    • Example: Let’s get down to brass tacks and finish this project.

Carry the weight of the world on your shoulders

    • Meaning: Feel or act like you have immense responsibilities.
    • Example: He’s been carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders since he became manager.

No pain, no gain

    • Meaning: Effort is necessary to achieve results.
    • Example: To win the championship, the team realized no pain, no gain.

Bite the bullet

    • Meaning: Endure a painful experience.
    • Example: We have to bite the bullet and finish this task tonight.

Burning the midnight oil

    • Meaning: Working late into the night.
    • Example: She’s been burning the midnight oil to finish her project.

Break your back

    • Meaning: Work extremely hard.
    • Example: I broke my back trying to meet the deadline.

Put your back into it

    • Meaning: Use a lot of physical effort.
    • Example: If we all put our backs into it, we can finish moving these boxes today.

All hands on deck

    • Meaning: Everyone must help.
    • Example: We need all hands on deck to prepare for the event.

Pull an all-nighter

    • Meaning: Stay up all night to work.
    • Example: We pulled an all-nighter to complete the presentation.

Elbow grease

    • Meaning: Hard physical effort.
    • Example: This old table will look good as new with some elbow grease.

Knuckle down

    • Meaning: Start working hard, especially after a period of relaxation or delay.
    • Example: I need to knuckle down and study for my exams.

Grind it out

    • Meaning: Persist at something difficult.
    • Example: We just have to grind it out until the project is complete.

In the trenches

    • Meaning: Working hard amidst the most intense part of a task.
    • Example: They were in the trenches all night fixing the server issue.

Blood, sweat, and tears

    • Meaning: A lot of effort and suffering.
    • Example: It took blood, sweat, and tears, but she finally published her novel.

Buckle down

    • Meaning: Start working seriously.
    • Example: It’s time to buckle down and finish our assignments.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

    • Meaning: Improve your situation by your own efforts.
    • Example: He pulled himself up by his bootstraps and started a successful business.

Sweat blood

    • Meaning: Work extremely hard or worry intensely.
    • Example: She’s sweating blood to meet her sales targets.

Give it your all

    • Meaning: Do something with maximum effort.
    • Example: He gave it his all during the marathon.

Put in the hard yards

    • Meaning: Work very hard.
    • Example: She’s put in the hard yards to become a top athlete.

Back to the salt mines

    • Meaning: Return to work.
    • Example: Break’s over, back to the salt mines.

Keep your nose to the grindstone

    • Meaning: Stay dedicated to your work.
    • Example: He kept his nose to the grindstone and eventually got the promotion.

Roll up your sleeves

    • Meaning: Prepare for hard work.
    • Example: It’s time to roll up your sleeves and clean the house.

Work your fingers to the bone

    • Meaning: Work extremely hard.
    • Example: She works her fingers to the bone in her garden.

Dig deep

    • Meaning: Exert a lot of effort or determination.
    • Example: The team had to dig deep to win the final match.

Hit the ground running

    • Meaning: Start something with great enthusiasm and energy.
    • Example: As soon as he joined the company, he hit the ground running.

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Idioms for Hard Work

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