Idioms (J)

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jack of all trades
a person who is skilled in many different areas / can do many different jobs (often used for ‘practical jobs’ involving fixing or making things)

– examples

He is a good carpenter, plumber, and can even do fix the electrical problems. Basically, he’s a jack-of-all-trades, and very useful to have around.

Whenever our apartment has a problem, the supervisor sends us this jack-of-all-trades, who usually has no idea what he is meant to be doing and does a terrible job.

– note: the phrase ‘a jack of all trades, a master of none’ also exists. This means the person can do a lot of jobs, but is not very good at any of them.

jobs for the boys
jobs and high positions given to friends, old school mates, and other people who have connections rather than skills

– examples:

The Prime Minister went to Eton. The Head of the Treasury is an Oxbridge man. The new chief of police was his classmate, and the High Commissioner is the Prime Minister’s nephew. Basically, current government is all just jobs for the boys. We need a revolution.

join the club
(usually spoken) ‘you are not the only person who thinks that / you are not the only person who has had that happen’

– examples

“I hate this job. This isn’t what I wanted to do with my life.”
“Join the club.”

‘She flirted with you, got what she wanted, and now doesn’t speak to you? Yeah, well, join the club. She does that with everyone.’

just what the doctor ordered
exactly what was needed at this time

– examples

That holiday was just what the doctor ordered. I’d been feeling a bit run-down lately.

a person new / late to something important or cool

– examples

At first it was an interesting movement, filled with new ideas, but recently it was been diluted by a bunch of johnny-come-latelys who just want to be seen doing something fashionable.

“I want to keep this club exclusive. I don’t want it filled with any johnny-come-lately who wants to be seen somewhere expensive.”

John Hancock
(casual American English) signature

– examples

“If you can just put your John Hancock here, then we have ourselves a deal.”

John Q. Public
the average person (usually when talking about what the average person thinks vs. political or business decisions)

– examples

“The consultants think it’s a good idea to rebrand the company, but I think John Q Public might disagree. They trust this name. We just need better products.”

joined at the hip
to be always with someone

– examples

Ever since Dave arrived at the company, he and Phil have been joined at the hip. If you see one, then the other cannot be far away.

jump on the bandwagon
to agree with whatever is a popular opinion or fashionable, without giving it independent thought

– examples

It seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and saying their music sucks; but I still like them.

jump the gun
(from athletics, starting before the gun) to start too early

– examples

“I think you may have jumped the gun a bit by leaving the company; recently things have improved there quite a lot.”

jump the shark
(usually used for TV or media) the moment something loses its edge / cool / independence. The moment it becomes safe and only about the money.

– examples

The Simpsons jumped the shark years ago. I can’t remember any of the recent episodes making me laugh at all.

jump through hoops
the annoying things, tasks and bureaucracy one has to do to get something done

– examples

If you want to get a long-term visa for this country, the immigration department will make you jump through all sorts of hoops.

“I thought it would be easy to get this project started, but I’ve done nothing except jump through hoops for the last two months.”

just deserts
em>reward / punishment for previous actions

– examples

Usually I’m sympathetic to people who lose their jobs, but in this case I think Dave is getting his just deserts. Not only has he been lazy and wasting everyone’s time, but he has also been trying to steal customers for his own private business too.

just for the record
(usually spoken to emphasise an opinion) “I want to be clear: I think this.” / “Do not mistake my position because of what I will say.”

“Just for the record, I am completely against firing people to cut costs. However, Dave’s behaviour has been awful, so he deserves to go; and after he does, not bringing in a replacement will help the company finances.”