Dictionary Glossary

This is a full glossary/dictionary of useful words you will find on Big Business English.

  • accountant [ business-vocab ]

    An accountant is a financial professional who prepares the accounts for companies or individuals and gives advice about tax.

    If you need to solve a problem relating to tax, speak to your accountant.

  • acronym [ business-idioms ]

    An acronym is a group of letters used to represent a phrase. The letter stands in the acronym are the first letter of each word in the phrase.

    CTO Is an acronym that stands for Chief Technology Officer in a company.

  • actually [ general-vocab ]

    This means really or in fact.
    Actually is often used as a filler expression in English when you are contradicting or correcting someone.
    Stephanie's a good manager. Actually, she's a great manager!
  • allow [ general-vocab ]

    Allow means to let something happen or not stop it from happening.

    Boss: I won't allow people in this company to sit back and relax. Everyone has to work hard - or they can leave!

    You can also use the word allowed to mean permitted, i.e. it's OK to do something:

    You are only permitted to take one suitcase or bag on this aeroplane.



  • brands [ business-idioms ]

    A brand is a distinctive identity of a product that makes it different from other brands. A brand can also represent a certain idea or set of values.

    The Trueforth Shaw brand is recognised and respected around the world.

    To brand is the verb. The past participle branded is often used as an adjective:

    Jed Thorogood, the sports and fashion label, sell a range of luxury branded items, including sportswear, toiletries and exclusive gifts. 

  • CEO [ business-vocab ]

    The CEO or Chief Executive Officer is the boss! They are usually the top person in the company.

    CEO is an acronym.

    Harold Braithwaite, the CEO of Kellman Media Inc, told investors that it had been a good year for the company, but next year would be more difficult.

  • compliance [ business-vocab ]

    This is the function in company of making sure that its activities comply with (or follow) regulations and legal obligations.
    Mark works in the back office of an investment bank. His department is responsible for all compliance issues relating to buying and selling shares in companies.
  • concede [ business-vocab, general-vocab ]

    If you concede something it means you admit it is true.

    Hiroshi conceded that the company's Engineering division was underperforming and could improve.

    The noun of concede is concession.

    The management had to make concessions to the union to end the strike, which was damaging the company's profits.

    Note: in Business English a concession is a company that operates inside another company, e.g. a retail concession. This is basically a separate shop or counter inside a larger store.

    Clytemnestra Sharpe, the exclusive fashion and perfume label, has a concession inside the luxury department store Gilbert & Sons.


  • consume [ business-vocab ]

    If you consume something it means you use it and then there is less of it than before (or none).

    This machine consumes a lot of energy.

    The noun of consume is consumption.

    Domestic consumption fell last year because people are spending less money in the shops.

    A person who consumes something is a consumer.

    Consumers are looking for high quality and a low price.

  • courier [ business-vocab ]

    A courier is a person or a company that delivers parcels and documents. Courier services are operated by private companies.

    I called a courier to send an important document to a company.

  • customer [ business-vocab ]

    A customer is someone who buys something from a company.
    We talk to our customers regularly to find out exactly what they want.
  • damage [ general-vocab ]

    Damage can be a noun and a verb 
    If you damage something it means you harm or break it.
    Damage is the harm you cause to something.
    The computer was damaged because someone had dropped it in the factory.
    The plural noun damages means compensation (money) paid by someone who has done something wrong to the person or company affected as a form of punishment. This is a legal term.
    Fly By Night Ltd were ordered by the court to pay £70,000 in damages to Mrs Treacle for their behaviour towards her.
  • decorate [ general-vocab ]

    If you decorate your house it means you paint the walls and put up wallpaper to make it look more attractive.

    Debbie decorated her living room with a Japanese theme.

  • department [ business-vocab ]

    A department is part or section of a company responsible for a particular function, e.g. Finance, Human Resources, Production, Sales, etc
    Fiona works in the Human Resources department at an energy company in Seattle.
  • effect [ general-vocab ]

    If something (or someone) has an effect on something else it means it (or they) changes it.
    Moving to our new offices has had a very positive effect on the employees. People are much happier and more productive here than in the old location.
  • entertainment

    Entertainment means making people happy and interested in a drama, comedy, shows, music, etc.

    The entertainment industry is one of America's main exports.

  • environment [ general-vocab ]

    The environment is the natural world that surrounds us.
    Protecting the environment is not just a social obligation. It makes good business sense as well. 
    Note that the second n in environment is silent.
  • false [ general-vocab ]

    False means not real or fake.
    The suitcase had a false bottom. There was a compartment where items could be hidden.
    A false start is where someone starts something and makes a mistake, so they have to start again.
    The race had to be started again because there was a false start.
  • furniture [ general-vocab ]

    Furniture means things you can move around your house, e.g. chairs, tables, beds, etc.
    Office furniture is desks, office chairs and filing cabinets, etc.
  • glance [ business-idioms, business-vocab ]

    The word glance means to look at something quickly. It can be both a noun and a verb.
    Sophia glanced at her watch during the meeting.
    The expression at first glance means when you look at something for the first time, or your initial impression.
    At first glance, this looked like a good investment opportunity, but in fact there were some problems with the comp.
  • HR [ business-vocab ]

    The HR or Human Resources department looks after the people who work in a company.

    Fuad asked asked the HR department how many days he could take off for his holidays.

  • line [ business-vocab ]

    A line of products means a range or group of items with similar characteristics or branding.
    Our new line of anti-bacterial kitchen utensils will keep you and your family safe.
    In a company, a line can also be a way of organising the activity.
    The person immediately above you in a company organised this way is your line manager.
    I spoke to my line manager about the new project.
  • long-term [ general-vocab ]

    This means that something lasts for a long period of time.
    We are looking for long-term tenants to rent this apartment.
    The opposite of long-term is short-term, which refers to a short period of time.
  • make a killing [ business-idioms ]

    If you make a killing it means you make a lot of money.

    Some global hedge funds made a killing after Brexit.

  • marketing [ business-vocab ]

    Marketing is the activity of finding markets and customers for a product and selling it, using advertising and communication.

    The marketing department conducted research in order to understand what customers want.

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