Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(take/grab) the bull by the horns

take the bull by the hornsgrab the bull by the horns
Meaning(s)
1) deal with a difficult situation in a direct and courageous way
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional MediumSocial
    • take/grab the bull by the horns and get something done
  • Analysis

    Bulls are dangerous animals, so no one in their right mind would grab one by its horns! When you use this expression, you are declaring that the task ahead is difficult and you are determined to see it through. People sometimes use this when they have been procrastinating (avoiding a task) and they have chosen to motivate themselves. Although this is used in social situations, you are more likely to hear it in professional contexts.

  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. I've been putting off all the work I need to do around the house for far too long. It's time I took the bull by the horns and got it done!
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. Everyone in the office was unhappy at how we were being treated by our boss, but no one wanted to say anything in case they lost their job. As one of the senior members of staff, I felt it was up to me to grab the bull by the horns and confront him about his behaviour.
    2. I thought I did well in my interview, but I didn't get the promotion in the end. My manager said that she was looking for someone who would have no hesitation in taking the bull by the horns if a difficult situation arose, and she felt that I was too laid back.
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