Welcome to today’s Quick English post, where we will discover 4 new business English idioms and help you improve your vocabulary, making you sound more like a natural English speaker.
We will find out these useful idioms in a moment. We will study them in examples, understand their meaning and hopefully you can start using them soon!

Guess the word

But first, let’s see if you can guess the idioms.
On our Facebook page and our Twitter page, we asked our fans to answer one question: what 1 word links the picture to the 4 nouns and phrases in this chart? (It’s probably not the word you think it is!)

business english idioms

The answer is pocket.

This answer seems natural. All of the Business English idioms in today’s lesson are related to money – and many of us keep our money in our pockets.

Business English idioms with “pocket”

So, what are the four idioms? Let’s look at them now. Then we will look at some examples, to help you understand and (hopefully!) start using them!

[Remember that you can find lots more idioms here on English42 for free!]

business english idioms

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Understanding the business English idioms

The first idiom, pocket money, is simple enough. In American English, it is more common to say “allowance”. Here are some example sentences:
My parents gave me pocket money every week when I was growing up – but I had to work for it!”
“Children who are given pocket money without earning it often become lazy as adults.”


The next idiom is a little more difficult. We can say that a person, an organisation or a country has deep pockets. This means that they are rich or wealthy; often they don’t mind spending the money that they have. Here are some examples:
“He should pay for the company dinner. Unlike the rest of us, he has deep pockets.”
“When a country has lots of oil, its government tends to have deep pockets, which it uses to keep the people happy.”


With the third idiom – to be out of pocket – the meaning is a little more difficult. Like any vocabulary, it’s more difficult to use this, but it also makes you sound more natural.
The idiom is applied to businesspeople who travel, usually, or someone who is organising an event. These people have expenses (accommodation and food, respectively).
Usually, somebody else pays for the expenses (in our examples, the employer would pay for accommodation and the people at the even would pay for the food). Whether or not the person will be refunded, if (s)he has paid for these expenses and now has no money, we say that (s)he is out of pocket.
Here are some examples:
“I‘m $200 out of pocket after the sales convention – but the company will refund me on Monday.”
“We should never allow any employee to be out of pocket.”


If you can understand that idiom, then the final idiom shouldn’t be too difficult. To pay for something out of your own pocket is used in the same situation, with the same people. Sometimes, the salesperson or event organiser must pay for the expenses, but will be refunded later. We use this idiom to describe this exact situation.
Here are some examples:
“In English-speaking countries, people celebrating their birthday don’t pay for anything out of their own pocket.”
“You’ll have to pay out of your own pocket while you’re away, but the Human Resource department will refund you upon your return.”

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We hope you found this lesson useful. Most of all, we hope you use some of these idioms in your life. Don’t be afraid! (But please remember the important rule about idioms: you must use each word correctly.)

At English42, we specialise in Business English for professionals around the world. Why not try more lessons and free exercises in our Business English section, or contact us if you’d like more personalised help?

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