Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(a bit of) elbow grease

elbow greasea bit of elbow grease
Meaning(s)
1) hard work and effort
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional HighSocial
    • it's nothing that a bit of elbow grease won't fix
  • Analysis
    This idiom was originally used to refer to energetic physical labour, especially involving rubbing or polishing. 'Elbow grease' is physical work or labour. However, its use has since extended to refer to any type of hard work or effort. For example, in a professional context, it may take 'quite a bit of elbow grease' to get a task completed or a deal over the line. A phrase that shares a similar meaning is 'blood, sweat, and tears.'
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. It will take a bit of elbow grease, but I should be able to get the house painted before the weekend.
    2. There's a horrible stain on my couch that no amount of elbow grease seems to be able to get off!
  • Professional Examples (Advance)
    1. You can have the best ideas around, but there's no substitute for elbow grease when trying to get your business off the ground.
    2. Person A: "We'll never get this order completed before the deadline." Person B: "It will need some elbow grease, but we'll get it done."
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