At all costs   If you are determined to obtain or achieve something at all
, you want it regardless of the expense, effort or sacrifice
  "The journalist was determined at all costs to get a report from
  the war zone."


 Avowed intent   When someone makes a public declaration of their objective
  or goal, this is their avowed intent.
  "The avowed intent of the new Government is to reduce
 Beard the lion in his den   If you visit someone important in the place where they work,
  because you are determined to challenge him/her or obtain
  something, you beard the lion in his den.
 Have a bee in one's bonnet   A person who has a bee in their bonnet has an idea
  which constantly occupies their thoughts.
  "She's got a bee in her bonnet about moving to New York."
 Beyond one's wildest dreams   If something is beyond your wildest dreams, it is better
  than you imagined or hoped for.
The research team received a grant from the government
  that was beyond their wildest dreams."
 Blood, sweat and tears   A project or action which involves blood, sweat and tears
requires a lot of effort and hard work.
  "His success wasn't due to luck; it was blood, sweat and
all the way."
 Have something on the brain   If you have something on the brain, you think or talk
  about it constantly.
  "Stop talking about golf.  You've got golf on the brain!"
 Buckle down   If you buckle down, you apply yourself with determination to
  hard work and give it your full attention.
  "If you want to pass your exams, you'll have buckle down and
  do some serious work."
 Dig in your heels    If you dig in your heels, you refuse to do something,
  especially if someone is trying to convince you to do so.
  "My grandfather dug in his heels and refused to move to an
 An eager beaver   The term eager beaver refers to a person who is hard-
  working and enthusiastic, sometimes considered overzealous.
  "The new accountant works all the time - first to arrive and
  last to leave  - a real eager beaver!"
 Explore all avenues   If you explore all avenues, you try out every possibility in
  order to obtain a result or find a solution.
  "We can't say it's impossible until we've explored all
 Fight tooth and nail     If you fight tooth and nail for something, you fight with all
  your energy.
  "The Transport Minister fought tooth and nail to have to have
  the proposed road safety law accepted."
 Fly by the seat of your pants   If you fly by the seat of your pants, you do something
  without knowledge or experience, using only your instinct and
  hoping that you will succeed.
  "Without any formal training, he decided to fly by the seat of
  his pants and try his luck in New York."
 Go the extra mile   If you go the extra mile, you do more than what is expected
  of you.
  "You can count on Tom; he's always willing to go the extra


 Go to great lengths   When trying to achieve something, if you go to great lengths,
  you do everything that is possible in order to succeed.
  "The two parties went to great lengths to reach an agreement."
 Going places   To say that someone is going places means that they show
  talent and ability that will no doubt lead to a successful future.
"Even at college it was obvious that Paul was going places."


 Go into overdrive   If someone or something goes into overdrive, they begin to
  work very hard or start to perform intensely.
  "At the start of every new collection, my imagination goes into
 Keep your nose to the
  A person who keeps their nose to the grindstone is
  someone who concentrates on working hard at his job.
 Hang in there   This expression is used to encourage someone to persevere
  and not give up in spite of the difficult circumstances.
  "I know the atmosphere is very tense, but just hang in
and eventually things will calm down."
 Have one's heart set on
  Someone who has their heart set on something wants it
  very much.
  "From an early age Tiger had his heart set on becoming a
  professional golfer."
 Hell-bent on something   If you are hell-bent on doing something, you are recklessly
  determined to do it, even if it's dangerous or stupid.
 "Although he is still weak, he's hell-bent on playing the match."
 Hitch one's wagon to a star   Someone who hitches their wagon to a star has great
  ambitions and is very determined to reach their goal.
  "At an early age she decided to hitch her wagon to a star
  and become rich and famous."
 Kill two birds with one stone   If you kill two birds with one stone, you succeed in doing
  two things at the same time.
  "By studying on the train on the way home every week-end,
  Claire kills two birds with one stone."
 A long row to hoe   This expression refers to a difficult task, assignment or
  undertaking that will take a long time.
  "Getting through medical school is going to be a long row
  to hoe."
 Make hay while the sun shines   This expression is used as an encouragement to take
  advantage of a good situation which may not last.
  "Successful sportsmen are advised to make hay while
  the sun shines
 Make headway   If you make headway, you make progress in what you
  are trying to achieve.
  "Investigators have made little headway in their search for
  the causes of the catastrophe."
 Mean business   If someone means business, they are serious about what
  they announce.

"The boss says that in future any missing material will be
  reported to the police, and he looks as though he means
 Paddle your own canoe   If you paddle your own canoe, you do what you want to
  do without help or interference from anyone.
  "He decided to paddle his own canoe and set up his own
 Pester power   This expression refers to the power children exert over their
  parents by continually nagging or pestering them until they
  accept to buy advertised toys or fashionable products.
  "Pester power leads busy parents to buy more and more
  for their children."
 Pull out all the stops    If you pull out all the stops, you do everything you can to
  make something successful.
"We'll have to pull out all the stops to get the store ready
  for the opening day."



 Punch above one's weight   If you punch above your weight, you try to perform at a level
  that is considered to be beyond your ability.
  "She submitted her idea for the 'invention of the year' award,
  knowing that she was punching above her weight."
 Reach for the moon   If you reach for the moon, you are very ambitious and try
  to achieve something even if it's difficult.
  "His parents were hardworking people who encouraged their
   children to reach for the moon."
 Raise/lower your sights    If you raise or lower your sights, you raise or lower your
  expectations, or you are more or less ambitious..
  "He had to lower his sights and accept a less well-paid job
  than what he had hoped for."
 Sink one's teeth into something   If you sink your teeth into something, you do it with a lot
  of energy and enthusiasm.
  "When Julie got promoted, she immediately sank her teeth
  into her new job."
 The sky's the limit    To say "the sky's the limit" means that there is no limit
  to the possibility of success or progress for someone or
  "How successful do you think the project will be? 
   Who knows... the sky's the limit!"
 Stand on your own two feet   If you stand on your own two feet, you are independent
  and need no help from anyone.
  "When young people leave home, they learn to stand on
  their own two feet."
 Stand one's ground   If you stand your ground, you maintain your position and
  refuse to yield or give way.
  "He claimed innocence and stood his ground in spite of the
  repeated accusations."
 Stick to one's guns   If you stick to your guns, you show determination when
  faced with opposition.  
"The government stuck to its guns in spite of the criticism."
 Stop at nothing  stop at nothing
Someone who would stop at nothing would do anything, even something illegal or immoral, in order to obtain what they want.
"He'd stop at nothing if there was a possibility of making money."
 Waiting in the wings   If someone is waiting in the wings, they are waiting for an
  opportunity to take action, especially to replace someone
  else in their job or position.
  "There are many young actors waiting in the wings, ready
  to show their talent."