Category Archives: Phrases

Nip it in the Bud (not Butt!)

What was said? “We need to nip this in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.”

Did someone really say that? Yes, during a discussion around product quality and some issues that were found.

What does it mean?  It means to stop something before it has a chance to “blossom.” The idea being if you have a small(ish) problem and “nip it in the bud” then you stop it from becoming a larger problem / crisis. If you have a plant that you prune / nip in the bud, you are effectively cutting it off so it won’t grow or blossom into a flower. It has nothing to do with human anatomy where many think the expression is Nip it in the Butt!

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Tale of Two Tapes

What was said? “Talking to each of them is like the tale of two tapes.”

Did someone really say that? Yes, on a work call when asking for the status of a project from a manager where two of his direct reports were co-managing it.

What does it mean?  In the context above – the individual was alluding to two people who had different stories / takes on what was going on. It is usually intended when comparing things.

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To a T

What was said? “That’s me to a T!”

Did someone really say that? Yes, my coworker responded with the saying after I mentioned, “It’s only 10am and I’m already thinking about lunch!”

What does it mean?  The gist of “to a T” is that it it’s exactly right, and in the proclamation above, what I said fit my colleague perfectly!

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From Soup to Nuts

What was said? They want it all – from soup to nuts!

Did someone really say that? Yes – when talking about a new project and what’s in scope (which led us to brainstorm new ones to try to plant like “from larva to kaleidoscope”).

What does it mean?  It means the whole thing – from start to finish – the whole “enchilada” if you will.

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Cut the Red Tape

What was said? “Why is she putting me through all this red tape?”

Did someone really say that? Yes – when asking a colleague for information on a program and the answer kept coming in piecemeal!

What does it mean?  Red tape refers to a “roadblock” … or something “off limits.”

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Ham and Egging

What was said? “They are totally ham and egging us.”

Did someone really say that? Yes, while playing golf with friends in a light 2 vs. 2 scramble.

What does it mean?  In the context above, it was meant to say that they are managing to do well/better than us relying/complementing one another to get a decent score despite not even playing that well.

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Shoestring Budget

What was said? “We operate on a shoestring!” (commonly referred to as “shoestring budget”)

Did someone really say that? Yes, when referring to putting together a budget for a client proposal and getting feedback on our estimate!

What does it mean? It basically means a “tight” or small budget, also known as “scrappy” or “cheap.”

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Inside Baseball

What was said? “That slide is very ‘inside baseball’ and i’m not sure we’ll present it.”

Did someone really say that? Yes, when reviewing a client presentation and seeing what slides we could cut/move to the appendix.

What does it mean? It basically means we are showing too much detail, that we are “in the weeds” (another idiom!).

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Ball of Wax

What was said? We really need a way to communicate this “ball of wax.”

Did someone really say that? Yes, when discussing how to help a client explain their business services/value!

What does it mean? It basically refers to EVERYTHING. The whole thing!

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Eating someone out of house and home

What was said? We are eating ourselves out of “house and home” before we go to the grocery store again.

Did someone really say that? Yes, my husband when explaining to friends that we haven’t been to the grocery store in 2 weeks and have so much food in the fridge/freezer!

What does it mean? Basically to go through someone’s food supply/storage so that there is almost nothing left.

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