27 Idioms for Success: Keys to Achievement


Success is a universal goal that drives people to excel and achieve their dreams. But the journey to success is often filled with challenges, hard work, and determination.

In this article, we’ll explore idioms for success, uncover their meanings, and see how they can inspire and guide us in our pursuit of achievement.

idioms for success

What is an idiom for success?

Idioms for success are phrases or expressions that encapsulate the concept of achieving one’s goals, excelling, or reaching a favorable outcome.

These idioms use figurative language to convey the essence of success and provide valuable insights into the qualities and actions that lead to it.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

9 / 20

What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

11 / 20

What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

20 / 20

Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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Let’s delve into these idioms, decode their meanings, and see how they can be applied in various situations.

IdiomMeaningIn a Sentence
Hit the Ground RunningStart a project energetically and enthusiastically.After the new manager’s arrival, the team was ready to hit the ground running.
Break New GroundMake significant progress through innovation.Their research breakthrough helped break new ground in science.
Cut CornersTake shortcuts, often resulting in subpar results.Trying to cut corners in project management can lead to issues.
Keep Your Eye on the BallStay focused on goals and remain attentive.Despite distractions, she always keeps her eye on the ball.
Pull Out All the StopsUse all available resources to achieve a goal.They decided to pull out all the stops for the charity event.
Get a Leg UpGain an advantage in a competitive situation.His internship gave him a significant leg up in job applications.
Go the Extra MilePut in more effort than required or expected.Her willingness to go the extra mile earned her a great reputation.
Rise to the OccasionMeet or exceed expectations and challenges.Despite pressure, he always rises to the occasion and delivers.
Strike While the Iron is HotTake advantage of opportunities when conditions are favorable.The entrepreneur knew it was essential to strike while the iron was hot.
Take the Bull by the HornsConfront a difficult situation head-on with determination.Faced with a tough decision, she took the bull by the horns.
Be on Top of the WorldFeel ecstatic or triumphant due to success or positive experiences.After the promotion, she felt on top of the world, celebrating.
Make a Name for YourselfBecome renowned for accomplishments, establishing a reputation.Through hard work, he made a name for himself in the industry.
Break the IceInitiate a conversation or interaction in a friendly manner.At the networking event, he decided to break the ice with others.
Have the World at Your FeetBe in a position of great influence or success.With talent and determination, he felt he had the world at his feet.
The Sky’s the LimitSuggest that there are no limits to what can be achieved.With dedication, she believed the sky’s the limit in her dreams.
Turn the CornerOvercome a challenging period and experience improvement.After setbacks, the company finally turned the corner to profit.
Win Hands DownAchieve victory or success easily, with minimal competition.With her skills, she won the competition hands down.
Be in the Driver’s SeatBe in control of a situation or have the authority to lead.After hard work, he finally felt he was in the driver’s seat of his life.
Put Your Best Foot ForwardMake a favorable impression by showcasing one’s best qualities.During the interview, he aimed to put his best foot forward.
Hit the JackpotAchieve significant success or obtain something highly desirable.Winning the lottery felt like hitting the jackpot.
Hold All the CardsBe in a favorable position, often in negotiations or competition.In the deal, she held all the cards, giving her the upper hand.
Keep Your Nose to the GrindstoneWork diligently and consistently, often in a focused manner.His commitment to the grindstone paid off when he achieved his goals.
Live High on the HogEnjoy a luxurious lifestyle, often due to financial success.After hard work, they could live high on the hog and indulge.
Pull StringsUse influence or connections to achieve a desired outcome.She pulled strings to secure an exclusive event invitation.
Shoot for the StarsSet ambitious goals and aim for the highest achievements.Instead of settling, she encouraged her team to shoot for the stars.
Strike It RichAchieve sudden wealth or substantial financial success.With their startup, they struck it rich and changed their lives.
Take the CakeWin or achieve something outstanding.His performance took the cake, earning a standing ovation.

Metaphors can depict success in various ways, like comparing it to a mountain peak that one climbs through determination and hard work. To explore more metaphors for success, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Success. Similarly, similes offer comparisons that make success more relatable, such as saying it’s as sweet as victory in a championship game. Discover additional similes for success here: Similes for Success.

Idioms for Success

1. Hit the Ground Running

Meaning: To start a project or endeavor quickly and energetically, with great enthusiasm and determination.

In a Sentence: After the new manager’s arrival, the team was ready to hit the ground running and tackle the upcoming challenges.

2. Break New Ground

Meaning: To pioneer or make significant progress in a particular field, often by doing something innovative or groundbreaking.

In a Sentence: Their research breakthrough helped break new ground in the world of science and technology.

3. Cut Corners

Meaning: To take shortcuts or skip essential steps in a process, often to save time or effort, which may lead to subpar results.

In a Sentence: Trying to cut corners in project management can often lead to unexpected issues down the road.

4. Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Meaning: To remain focused on one’s goals or objectives, staying attentive and not losing sight of what’s important.

In a Sentence: Despite various distractions, she always manages to keep her eye on the ball and accomplish her tasks.

5. Pull Out All the Stops

Meaning: To use every available resource, effort, or means to achieve a goal or succeed in a particular endeavor.

In a Sentence: They decided to pull out all the stops to make the charity event a huge success.

6. Get a Leg Up

Meaning: To gain an advantage or head start in a competitive situation or pursuit.

In a Sentence: His internship experience gave him a significant leg up when applying for full-time positions.

7. Go the Extra Mile

Meaning: To make additional effort or put in more work than what is expected or required.

In a Sentence: Her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients earned her a reputation for exceptional service.

8. Rise to the Occasion

Meaning: To meet or exceed the expectations and challenges presented by a particular situation or opportunity.

In a Sentence: Despite the pressure, he always manages to rise to the occasion and deliver outstanding results.

9. Strike While the Iron is Hot

Meaning: To take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, especially when conditions are favorable.

In a Sentence: The entrepreneur knew it was essential to strike while the iron was hot and expand the business during the peak season.

10. Take the Bull by the Horns

Meaning: To confront a difficult or challenging situation head-on and with determination.

In a Sentence: When faced with a tough decision, she decided to take the bull by the horns and address the issue directly.

11. Be on Top of the World

Meaning: To feel ecstatic, triumphant, or extremely happy due to success or positive experiences.

In a Sentence: After receiving the promotion, she felt like she was on top of the world, celebrating with her colleagues.

12. Make a Name for Yourself

Meaning: To become well-known or renowned for one’s accomplishments or actions, establishing a positive reputation.

In a Sentence: Through hard work and dedication, he managed to make a name for himself in the competitive industry.

13. Break the Ice

Meaning: To initiate or start a conversation or interaction in a friendly and relaxed manner, often in a new or unfamiliar setting.

In a Sentence: At the networking event, he decided to break the ice by introducing himself to other professionals.

14. Have the World at Your Feet

Meaning: To be in a position of great influence, power, or success, where opportunities seem endless.

In a Sentence: With his talent and determination, he felt like he had the world at his feet and could accomplish anything.

15. The Sky’s the Limit

Meaning: To suggest that there are no limits to what can be achieved, and success can reach unimaginable heights.

In a Sentence: With dedication and perseverance, she believed that the sky’s the limit in her pursuit of her dreams.

16. Turn the Corner

Meaning: To overcome a difficult or challenging period and begin experiencing improvement or progress.

In a Sentence: After a series of setbacks, the company finally managed to turn the corner and regain profitability.

17. Win Hands Down

Meaning: To achieve victory or success easily and without much effort or competition.

In a Sentence: With her exceptional skills, she won the competition hands down, leaving her competitors far behind.

18. Be in the Driver’s Seat

Meaning: To be in control of a situation or have the authority to make decisions and lead.

In a Sentence: After years of hard work, he finally felt like he was in the driver’s seat of his own destiny.

19. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Meaning: To make a favorable impression by presenting one’s best qualities or efforts in a particular situation.

In a Sentence: During the job interview, he aimed to put his best foot forward and showcase his skills and enthusiasm.

20. Hit the Jackpot

Meaning: To achieve a significant success or obtain something highly desirable, often unexpectedly.

In a Sentence: Winning the lottery felt like hitting the jackpot and brought financial security to their lives.

21. Hold All the Cards

Meaning: To be in a favorable or advantageous position, often in negotiations or competitive situations.

In a Sentence: In the business deal, she held all the cards, giving her the upper hand in the negotiations.

22. Keep Your Nose to the Grindstone

Meaning: To work diligently and consistently, often in a focused and determined manner.

In a Sentence: His commitment to keeping his nose to the grindstone paid off when he achieved his career goals.

23. Live High on the Hog

Meaning: To enjoy a luxurious or extravagant lifestyle, often as a result of financial success.

In a Sentence: After years of hard work, they were finally able to live high on the hog and indulge in their favorite luxuries.

24. Pull Strings

Meaning: To use one’s influence or connections to achieve a desired outcome, often in a secretive or manipulative manner.

In a Sentence: She managed to pull strings and secure a coveted invitation to the exclusive event.

25. Shoot for the Stars

Meaning: To set ambitious goals or aspirations, aiming for the highest level of achievement.

In a Sentence: Instead of settling for mediocrity, she encouraged her team to shoot for the stars and pursue excellence.

26. Strike It Rich

Meaning: To achieve sudden and substantial financial success or wealth, often through luck or a significant opportunity.

In a Sentence: With their innovative startup, they managed to strike it rich and change their lives forever.

27. Take the Cake

Meaning: To win or achieve something outstanding, often used to describe a remarkable accomplishment.

In a Sentence: His performance in the competition truly took the cake, earning him a standing ovation.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Quiz 1: Getting Started with Idioms for Success

  1. What does the idiom “Hit the Ground Running” mean?
    • A. To start a race quickly
    • B. To start a project energetically and enthusiastically
    • C. To begin a journey without preparation
  2. When someone is advised to “Keep Your Eye on the Ball,” what are they encouraged to do?
    • A. Focus on their physical health
    • B. Remain attentive and not lose sight of what’s important
    • C. Play a sport actively

Quiz 2: Pushing the Boundaries

  1. What does it mean to “Break New Ground” as an idiom?
    • A. To renovate a building
    • B. To make significant progress through innovation or pioneering efforts
    • C. To dig up the earth
  2. Which idiom suggests taking shortcuts that may lead to subpar results?
    • A. Keep Your Eye on the Ball
    • B. Cut Corners
    • C. Rise to the Occasion

Quiz 3: Going the Extra Mile

  1. When someone is encouraged to “Go the Extra Mile,” what are they advised to do?
    • A. Take a longer route to work
    • B. Put in more effort than required or expected
    • C. Stay in their comfort zone
  2. What does the idiom “Rise to the Occasion” imply?
    • A. To avoid challenges
    • B. To meet or exceed expectations and challenges in a particular situation
    • C. To lower one’s standards

Quiz 4: Seizing Opportunities

  1. What does it mean to “Strike While the Iron is Hot”?
    • A. To strike a hot object
    • B. To take advantage of an opportunity when conditions are favorable
    • C. To wait for the right moment to strike
  2. When someone decides to “Take the Bull by the Horns,” what are they doing?
    • A. Taming a bull in a rodeo
    • B. Confronting a difficult situation head-on with determination
    • C. Avoiding challenges

Quiz 5: Achieving Greatness

  1. What does it mean to “Have the World at Your Feet”?
    • A. To feel like you’re on top of the world
    • B. To be in a position of great influence or success
    • C. To have control over the world
  2. Which idiom suggests that there are no limits to what can be achieved?
    • A. Break New Ground
    • B. The Sky’s the Limit
    • C. Cut Corners

Feel free to answer the questions, and I’ll provide feedback afterward!

Quiz 1: Getting Started with Idioms for Success

  1. What does the idiom “Hit the Ground Running” mean?
    • A. To start a race quickly
    • B. To start a project energetically and enthusiastically
    • C. To begin a journey without preparation
  2. When someone is advised to “Keep Your Eye on the Ball,” what are they encouraged to do?
    • A. Focus on their physical health
    • B. Remain attentive and not lose sight of what’s important
    • C. Play a sport actively

Quiz 2: Pushing the Boundaries

  1. What does it mean to “Break New Ground” as an idiom?
    • A. To renovate a building
    • B. To make significant progress through innovation or pioneering efforts
    • C. To dig up the earth
  2. Which idiom suggests taking shortcuts that may lead to subpar results?
    • A. Keep Your Eye on the Ball
    • B. Cut Corners
    • C. Rise to the Occasion

Quiz 3: Going the Extra Mile

  1. When someone is encouraged to “Go the Extra Mile,” what are they advised to do?
    • A. Take a longer route to work
    • B. Put in more effort than required or expected
    • C. Stay in their comfort zone
  2. What does the idiom “Rise to the Occasion” imply?
    • A. To avoid challenges
    • B. To meet or exceed expectations and challenges in a particular situation
    • C. To lower one’s standards

Quiz 4: Seizing Opportunities

  1. What does it mean to “Strike While the Iron is Hot”?
    • A. To strike a hot object
    • B. To take advantage of an opportunity when conditions are favorable
    • C. To wait for the right moment to strike
  2. When someone decides to “Take the Bull by the Horns,” what are they doing?
    • A. Taming a bull in a rodeo
    • B. Confronting a difficult situation head-on with determination
    • C. Avoiding challenges

Quiz 5: Achieving Greatness

  1. What does it mean to “Have the World at Your Feet”?
    • A. To feel like you’re on top of the world
    • B. To be in a position of great influence or success
    • C. To have control over the world
  2. Which idiom suggests that there are no limits to what can be achieved?
    • A. Break New Ground
    • B. The Sky’s the Limit
    • C. Cut Corners

Feel free to answer the questions, and I’ll provide feedback afterward!

Conclusion

Success is a journey filled with dedication, determination, and the willingness to embrace challenges. Idioms for success remind us of the qualities and actions that can lead to achieving our goals.

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