|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 involved.|
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 unemployment.
|beard the lion in his den||If you visit someone important in the place where they work, in order to challenge him/her or obtain something, you beard the lion in his den.|
If he continues to refuse my calls, I’ll have to beard the lion in his den.
|bee in one’s bonnet||Someone 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 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 tearsrequires a lot of effort and hard work.|
His success wasn’t due to luck; it was blood, sweat and tears all the way.
|have on the brain||If you have something on the brain, you think or talk abut it all 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 hour full attention.|
If you want to pass your exams, you’ll have to 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 apartment.
|eager beaver||The term eager beaver refers to a person who is hardworking and enthusiastic, sometimes considered overzealous.|
The new accountant works all the time – first to arrive and last to leave. He’s 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 avenues.
|fight tooth and nail||If you fight tooth and nail for something, you fight with energy and determination.|
The Transport Minister fought tooth and nail to have the proposed road safety law accepted.
|first out of the gate||If you are first out of the gate, you are the first to make a start at something that others have also accepted to do.|
Sandra was so enthusiastic about the project that she was first out of the gate.
|fly by seat of pants||If you fly by the seat of your pants, you do something without any 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 mile.
|go to great lengths (or pains)||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.
|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 overdrive.
|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.
|keep nose to grindstone||A person who keeps their nose to the grindstone is someone who concentrates on working or studying hard.|
She was so determined to get into the college of her choice that she kept her nose to the grindstone all year.
|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 things will eventually calm down.
|hang on by fingernails||When you hang on by the fingernails, you succeed in continuing to do something in a very difficult situation.|
The restaurant is losing more and more customers; the owner is just hanging on by his fingernails.
|have one’s heart set on||Someone who has their heart set on something is determined to obtain something they want 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 is 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 famous.
|a long row to hoe||A difficult task, assignment or undertaking that will take a long time isa long row to hoe.|
Getting through medical school is going to be a long row to hoe.
|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 business.
|never say die||You can say ‘never say die‘ to encourage someone to persevere in their efforts and not give up or abandon their project.|
Keep going – it’s too soon to give up. Never say die!
|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 business.
|pound the pavement||Someone who pounds the pavement walks the streets or goes from company to company, usually in search of employment.|
(You can also pound the pavement in an effort to raise funds or gain support for a cause.)
Charlie is out there pounding the pavement since he lost his job.
|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 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 is difficult.|
His parents were hardworking people who encouraged their children to reach for the moon.
|raise/lower your sights||If you raise/lower your sights, your 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 hoped for.
|sink your teeth into||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.
|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 something.|
“How successful do you think the project will be?”
“Who knows … the sky’s the limit!”
|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||Someone who would stop at nothing would do anything, even something illegal or immoral, to obtain what they want.|
He’s stop at nothing if there was a possibility of making money.
|wait 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.
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