|At all costs|| If you are determined to obtain or achieve something at all
costs, 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
tears 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|
"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
"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
there and eventually things will calm down."
| Have one's heart set on
| Someone who has their heart set on something wants it |
"From an early age Tiger had his heart set on becoming a
|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
|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|
"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
|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."