at the best of times
It’s difficult to sell to the Japanese at the best of times, but now, with the dollar at an all-time high against the yen, I think it would be quite impossible.
against the clock
Their oil reserves may last only another 20 years. Consequently, they must work against the clock to diversify their economy before the oil revenues run out.
round the clock
This is one of the largest orders we have ever received. We will need three shifts working round the clock if we are to meet the deadline.
till the cows come home
We can sit around analysing our production methods till the cows come home; but analysis in itself is not going to increase productivity.
keep up to date with sth
An important part of my job is to keep up to date with the latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry.
be out of date
This report is utterly worthless. It analyses current economic problems using concepts that are at least thirty years out of date.
To date, more than £100m has been invested in about 950 companies under the terms of the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
call it a day
After disappointing ventures abroad, Israel’s largest food retailer has decided to call it a day. They are returning home and concentrating on what they do best: selling food to Israelis.
take one’s time
There’s no need to rush. Just take your time and tell me clearly what happened.
for donkey’s years
We’ve been doing business with them for donkey’s years and have always found them completely reliable.
on the dot
The meeting will begin at 3:30 on the dot and I would appreciate it if you could all make a special effort to be on time.
at the eleventh hour
A strike was averted at the eleventh hour when management announced they would withdraw plans to close the Longbridge factory.
do sth at one’s leisure
I’d like your opinion on this safety report, but there’s no great rush. Why don’t you take it home with you and read it at your leisure?
My goodness, I had no idea it was so late. Time simply flies when you’re enjoying yourself.
once and for all
The tobacco companies decided to pay once and for all, offering the government a sum in excess of $250 billion rather than face an endless series of lawsuits.
in the long run
The single currency may — in the long run — be a good idea. However, monetary union imposes one level of interest rates on everyone and so threatens to make the jobless problem even worse in the short term.
for the time being
Clearly the Americans, who have no desire to offend such an important trading partner as China, are satisfied for the time being to let the status quo continue.
it’s high time (that)…
With the right exchange rate and lower taxes, Britain could be an important offshore manufacturing centre. It is high time the government understood this reality.
a thing of the past
In recent years, the Japanese have had to accept that guaranteed employment for life is a thing of the past.
for old time’s sake
As we had been at school together, it was natural he should think I would view his offer more favourably than the others, for old time’s sake.
the sooner the better
Our association with Maxwell has cost us and is still costing us a great deal of money. The sooner we end that association, the better.
be ahead of one’s time
Rockefeller, who really created the modern oil industry, was years ahead of his time. He standardised the product, so that when you lit your oil lamp, it didn’t explode; you had a high-quality product.
move with the times
In an attempt to move with the times and to reinvent itself as a modern high technology company, the defence and engineering group General Electric Company is to cut 1,500 jobs through a voluntary redundancy scheme.
it was about time
They’ve been discussing that project for the past two years. It was about time they took a decision.
in the nick of time
I arrived at the airport in the nick of time: another five minutes and I’d have missed my flight.