Tag Archives: Idiom Origins

Tiger Team

What was said? “We should put a tiger team on that, pronto!”

Did someone really say that? Yes, at another alumni board meeting when talking about breaking out in teams to tackle specific problems.

What does it mean?  A tiger team is a specialized team that focuses on a specific goal to solve a particular problem. In the business setting it usually refers to putting a team of people with mixed skills/abilities to tackle a problem from multiple angles… usually at a fast, aggressive pace.

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Gin Up!

What was said? “Ok team – let’s gin up!”

Did someone really say that? Yes, at an alumni board meeting when our team was about to present our proposal / plan.

What does it mean?  In the context above, it means to get the team excited / stimulated and stir up some feedback on what we were about to present.

However, there are some uses where it is meant to be more focused on generating interest / discussion through dishonest ways – which was not the intention above! (has nothing to do with the alcohol gin, despite the image I chose for this post!)

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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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