Dictionary Glossary

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

  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • mouse cursor [ general-vocab ]

    two mouse cursors

    The mouse cursor (or just cursoris a small picture which tells you where the mouse is on your computer screen.

    If you move the mouse around on your mouse pad the cursor will follow its movements on your screen.

  • native [ general-vocab ]

    A native speaker is someone who learnt or acquired a particular language as their first (and possibly only) language.
    Native English speakers automatically know the grammar of the language without studying it.
    A native of a particular place means that person was born there.
    James is a native of Glasgow. 
  • parcel [ business-vocab, general-vocab ]

    A parcel is a box or bag that you send to someone.

    You usually wrap a parcel in brown paper or plastic.

    Howard sent a parcel to the United States.

    You can also call this a package.

    Parcel is more common in British English , while package is more usual in American English.

  • pause [ general-vocab ]

    If you pause something it means you stop it temporarily.
    Ayesha paused the video and wrote down a summary of what the speaker had said.
    Pause can also be a noun.
    Some people were shouting in the street. There was a pause, then they started again.
  • petty [ general-vocab ]

    If something or someone is petty it means they are small or they think in a small way.

    Chris is so petty. He worries about things that aren't really important.

    Petty cash means a small amount of money usually kept in a box in an office. It used for making small cash payments, e.g. stationery, office supplies, tea and coffee, etc.

    Mike took ten  pounds of petty cash to pay the pizza delivery guy. Everyone was working late and there was no time to go out for dinner. 

  • reduce [ general-vocab ]

    If you reduce something it means you make it smaller.
    The noun of reduce is reduction.
    Allthwaite's Ltd have reduced their staff by 10% to cut costs.
    In Business English, the word reduce is often used in relation to prices:
    Krazy Karpets, the No.1 place for carpets, have got some MASSIVE reductions this summer. 75% off - we  can't be beaten on price!
  • repeat [ general-vocab ]

    If you repeat something it means you do it again.
    The noun of repeat is repetition.
    There was a lot of repetition in her presentation. She kept using the same expressions. It would have been better if she had used some different phrases and added more variety.
  • signal [ general-vocab ]

    A signal is a sign or command to do something.
    When the signal changed from red to green the train started moving.
  • stative verb [ general-vocab ]

    A stative verb is a verb that is not normally used in continuous tenses.
    Some examples of stative verbs are: think, know, seem, like, etc.
    Know is a stative verb. Say I know Harold, not I am knowing Harold.
  • water cooler [ business-vocab, general-vocab ]

      A water cooler is a device for dispensing mineral water from a large bottle. 

    Everyone was standing round the water cooler chatting.

    Image: Pixabay

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