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153 Words and Expressions to Start Using in 2021

At the Art of Business English we love to be on the bleeding edge of the English language. We want you to have the latest and most popular business English vocabulary at your disposal. 

This week we have the second yearly installation of words and expressions that we have found through research. Expressions that are being used now in business and ones that you can start to learn and put into practice this year. 

Read, listen or watch on as Loic and I give you our list of the most fashionable words and expressions that you can start using now! 

Watch the episode here

Double click on

Meaning: used typically, in IT/web to refer to activating a link, opening a file, etc. Now used to mean to go into more detail.

Example: I really like what you said, could you just double click on that for me for a moment?

Switch gears

Meaning: quickly change an approach or change topic. Analogy drawn from vehicle operation.

Example: I’d like to switch gears for a moment and talk about our new processing plant.

Deep work

Meaning: really focus on a single topic. Investigate at more than a superficial level and avoid multitasking

Example: Look, this weekend I need to do some deep work and uncover the fundamentals behind our lack of performance.


Meaning: someone who has setup a new company (typically referred to as a start-up)

Example: The founder is reaching out to potential investors for some seed capital.

Take in a/the room

Meaning: Take in a room is used when at social events you feel the vibe., absorb the atmosphere and try and get an understanding for networking purposes.

Example: John has amazing intuition, the way he takes in a room when he arrives at an event is inspiring.

Send me your questions or comments

Crush it

Meaning: often used in a sale/marketing environment. Crushing it is a common expression used when someone is doing their job particularly well or exceeding all of their goals.

Example: We are crushing it this year. The change in approach after doing some deep work and taking bold action made all the difference.

On a tear

Meaning: mostly used in the US: having great success over a period of time.

Example: The reports show the company is on a tear and the stock price has more than doubled.

To riff on something

Meaning: To discus something in more detail (derived from music).

Example: Wow, that is an interesting idea, let’s riff on that a bit.

Push back on

Meaning: to delay or to disagree with.

Example: The staff really pushed back on that last change of instructions on the new project.

Take bold action

Meaning: make major changes or take strong action.

Example: If we're going to win them over (the clients), we need to take bold action, deliver the product then call the meeting.

Gear up

Meaning: getting ready for something.

Example: We're gearing up for the summer season and expect big sales.

Wind down

Meaning: slowing down a process ahead of an event.

Example: We are winding down for the year after a lot of hard work was put in. Then it's time to hit the holidays.

Trade up

Meaning: sell something in order to buy something similar but more expensive.

Example: I'm going to trade up. This computer is getting too slow for my needs.

Shake up

Meaning: to alter, vary, or reverse (make radical changes).

Example: We are out of ideas, let’s shake things up and throw some new ideas around.

Final thoughts

Thanks again to Loic for joining me on this episode. Please help us by sharing your favourite expressions that you think people might like to start using in 2021. Last year's episode on the same topic was very popular, as I am sure this one will also be.

Remember to send me your voice mail messages and questions at speakpipe.com/theartofbusinessenglish, we always love hearing from you.

Be sure to enrol in Loic's course on business idioms below and start expanding your knowledge even further. 

Till next week, take care. 

Business Idioms

This six module course helps English language learners build their knowledge of business idioms and their understanding of them in different business scenarios.

We cover idioms for marketing, finance, behaviour, operations and production, manegament and planning.

Subscribe and listen for free

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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