Shooting the Breeze – Small Talk Idioms

Posted On: March 16, 2015

In an earlier post, I shared idioms about talking. One of the idioms was “shoot the breeze.”

“Shooting the breeze” is an idiom that actually means making small talk. Listen to Andrea from Study with Andrea shares her tip on this idiom. Following the video, let’s look at two examples of using this idiom. 


This video is published by Study with Andrea. Embedded with permission.

“Those guys really like to shoot the breeze!”
This can be said about two friends who enjoy talking and hanging out together all the time in casual settings. This is a positive use of the idiom – “shooting the breeze.”


“He is always shooting the breeze instead of working! What will I do with him?”
Obviously, this is not such a positive use of the phrase. If this is overheard at the office, someone’s in trouble. Making too much small talk at work can be a problem in some offices in the US, as managers and even colleagues will think that people who spend a lot of time in small talk or non-work related discussions are wasting their time, not productive and not interested in their work. For this reason, some expats who come onsite for the first time may be surprised how much small talk in the office has to do with work and not personal matters!


[Another not-so-positive idiom to hear in the office is “all over the place.” Learn more by watching the video lesson here.]

American English Idioms Used at Work (Sports and other Phrases) from Authentic Journeys


Jennifer Kumar helps Indians and other expats in the US build understanding and empathetic relationships with their American counterparts at work through learning cultural best practices and business language including idioms. Get in touch with us to learn more about our Business English Seminar for offshore development teams.


Related Posts:
Safe small talk topics by Andrea
Switching from personal small talk to professional small talk

Check out her new online classes! 
Clear English Pronunciation
Idioms in Conversation Crash Course
Study with Andrea – English Classes 

Photo by Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash


Find your Program!

Find your ideal program in just a few clicks.
Select Industry > Learning Level > Skill, to see 1-3 suggested programs.