across the board
it applies to everyone. Everyone will have to do it, or everyone will be affected by it.

– examples

We have some new rules, and these apply across the board, so the teachers will have to follow them too.

After a disastrous last year, they made changes across the board.


acid test
The conclusive test that will prove whether a plan/product/programme is a success

– examples

The numbers work in theory, but the acid test will be when the product goes on the market.

They are top of the league after half a season, but the acid test will be February when they play their four main rivals. Then we will know whether they are potential champions.

The company is looking good now, but the acid test will come when consumers get bored of this product. If they can produce a second wave of items that continue to get attention, and still make money, then we’ll know it is here to stay.


a little bird told me
I heard from someone (but I’m not going to tell you who)

– examples

A little bird told me that you’ve been dating Dave. Are you sure that is a good idea?

A little bird told me that things aren’t going well at your company. Maybe we can talk about transferring you to ours.