Phrasal-Nouns – Letter B

–  Phrasal-Nouns – Letter B  –


Bb



  • (a) Badge of Honor – This is a phrasal noun which describes anything for which one is very proud of.  The actual “thing” which is the *Badge of Honor* can be just about anything…  “Running through the mountains was difficult and I scratched my legs terribly in the bushes, but it was such fun and I did so well, that my scratches are my *badge of honor*.”



  • (a) Beast of Burden – This is a phrasal noun which describes an animal (beast) which is usually used to carry heavy loads (burdens) – such as:  horses, camels, donkeys, elephants, etc..

  • (a) Betting Office – This is the place where people can go to ruin their lives by betting on sporting events without having to actually go to the event.  These places are usually filled with criminals and desperate people that have very little money and throw it away in hopes of becoming rich.

  • Big Brother – This is a term that was first used in the book “1984 by George Orwell”.  In the book, “Big Brother” was a character, but throughout the years, the term has evolved to mean the government and the secret (or not so secret) organizations that monitor everything that the general population does on a day to day basis.  The perfect example of this is what was done in the United States after the 9/11 “attacks”, when the government passed the Patriot Act:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act  and much earlier with the NSA:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency

  • Brand Recognition – This phrasal noun is a term which comes from the world of sales and marketing.  It is used to describe the phenomenon of potential consumers being able to recognize a logo of a company without actually seeing the name.  This is something for which companies strive for in order to increase sales…  “Coca-Cola is a company for which *brand recognition* is a very important thing.  They want everyone to recognize the red and white color of their products along with their signature “swish” and the unique font used on their products.”

  • Brass Balls – This is an Idiomatic Phrasal-Noun which is used to mean that someone is gutsy, arrogant, cocky and basically stupid.  People who are all of those things usually and mistakenly think that to have brass balls means that they are manly and brave.  This is because they are not afraid to do stupid things, but they’re wrong…  (because they’re stupid.)  Ultimately, it’s not that other people are afraid to do these stupid things – it’s just that they are smart enough to know that, to do so would be…  well…  stupid. 😀

  • Business As Usual” – This is an Idiomatic Adjectival Phrasal-Noun that can be used in a lot of different ways, but it is usually used to describe how “bad” things seem to keep happening over and over again (usually in business and politics.)

“The president was practically worshiped for his “prophecy” of “Change that People Can Believe In…”, but as we can all see, it’s just business as usual.”


  • Business Transparency – This term is a common business catch-phrase used to describe a way of practicing business, such that all business practices and intentions are disclosed openly to the public.  This is done with the motivation to “prove” the morality and legality of the business’ practice, but is often more of a focus for company’s whose practices actually are (or were) NOT moral or legal.  “After the Enron scandal, *business transparency* has become more and more important to not only the public, but also to the people running the companies.”


  • (a) Communication Breakdown – A “Breakdown” is a prepositional noun which represents the situation wherein something stops working or fails.  So a *Communication Breakdown* is a failure in communication, and is used to describe specifically when there is a misunderstanding which was of no fault of either the person sending or the person receiving the communication but that, for some reason there was a misunderstanding…  For example.  I once had an employee who, at the end of the shift, would always ask if he was finished and could go home for the evening.  I would then say “You Bet’cha!”  (a colloquial way of saying “You Bet!” – meaning “absolutely”) but he thought that, for some reason, I was calling him a “‘bitch!”  That would explain why he always left in a bad mood…  definitely a *communication breakdown*.


  • (one’s) First (Big) Break – This is an idiomatic phrasal noun which describes the situation or the thing that presents a person with his or her opportunity for success (usually assured.)…  It is fabled that the legendary Blues musician, Robert Johnson – Who has inspired such other legendary greats as Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton – got his *first big break*, when he met the devil at “The Cross-roads” and sold his soul.  It is not clear whether he sold his soul for musical talent or for fame, but it is certainly true that he received both in addition to enormous amounts of respect.”  –  (This phrase almost always contains the adjective “big”.)

  • (a) Little Black Book – Back in the ancient days before everyone on the planet had a mobile phone, the term *Little Black Book* referred either literally or idiomatically to the collection of phone numbers that a man would keep of all the women that he was (or wished he was) either dating or having sex with…  In this “modern” time, however, when people no longer have to carry around such archaic devices as “books”, this phrase is used idiomatically to refer to any list of important numbers kept by any person related to any important topic; and when using this term it is usually implied that these numbers are private and of significant value to the person.

  • Rock-Bottom – This is a slang phrasal noun which is used to mean:  The very lowest point, whether literal of figurative.  This is usually used to talk about the most difficult point in a person’s life…  “People in Alcoholics Anonymous say that a person has to hit *rock-bottom* before he or she is able to make really positive and permanent change in his or her life.”

  • (a) Safe Bet – This is an idiomatic phrasal noun to say that something which is ultimately unsure (as one can not know the exact outcome) but the likelihood of the situation is very probable to be the way it is thought of – and can be either beneficial or detrimental…  For example:  If a person goes into an airport in America and screams, “I Have A Bomb!!!” – it is a pretty *Safe Bet* that that person will end up having a bad day, and may never have a normal life ever again (that is, of course, if they actually survive the next 15 minutes.)  It is also a pretty *Safe Bet* that if a man gives his wife a credit card with no limit, that she will be pretty darn happy. 😉

  • (a) Social Butterfly – This is an idiomatic phrasal adjective which is used to describe someone who probably has a lot of friends (or at least good acquaintances) and seems to “flutter” (a word describing how a butterfly flies) between groups of people very easily and constantly…  “When I was younger, I was happy to be a *social butterfly*, but once I got older, and friends got married and such, I found that none of the people who I considered to be friends, really considered me to be such, as I was always moving between different groups and never spending too much time with any.”


–  ( Phrasal-Nouns – Letter B )  –

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