I have defined some of the words (underlined) in the dialogue, which you can add to your Personal Dictionary. Click on the Excel icon to download the word list to your PC or mobile device, which you can thereafter import into your Personal Dictionary. They are also listed below.
Scroll down to the bottom for links to a crossword and word search using words from this post, as well a YouTube video. 

Skive: To avoid work or duty by staying away or leaving early without permission.

Teacher’s pet: A student who is excessively favored or given special treatment by the teacher.

Bunk off: To intentionally skip school, work, or other responsibilities without permission.

All-nighter: Staying awake and working all night, often to finish a project or prepare for an exam.

Hit the books: To study hard or intensely, especially for an exam.

Ace: To do extremely well, especially in an exam or test.

Empty suit: A person who has an important job or title but lacks the skills or knowledge to perform it effectively.

Digit-head: A person who is highly skilled with computers or technology.

Graft: Hard work, especially when it involves physical labor or long hours.

Get the elbow: To be dismissed or fired from a job.

Plug-and-play employee: An employee who can be easily replaced or substituted, often without specialised skills or training.

Spear carrier: An employee who performs a supporting or minor role in a project or organisation.

Hip shooter: A person who makes quick, impulsive decisions without thinking things through.

Whizz-kid: A young person who is highly skilled or talented in a particular area.

Man Friday: A loyal and dependable male assistant or servant.

You think life will get easier when you leave school, but of course it doesn’t.

Have you been caught skiving again?

Very funny Judy. I’m surprised you know what that is, seeing as you were always the teacher’s pet.

I did bunk off school once, to go to a concert.

Really? I bet you did an all-nighter, so you could hit the books the next day.

Yes, I did. I aced a test if I remember rightly. But I never bunked off again. A short time afterwards I was an upper and 2 years later I went to uni.

That’s why your nickname was the brain, I guess.

Maybe. Are you having problems at work?

Yes, you could say that. They’ve brought in a new manager, who is just an empty suit. He’s brought some digit-heads from his old company to streamline ours.

Which probably mean some of the employees who don’t graft enough, will get the elbow.

When that happens, he will bring in some plug-and-play employees to join the other spear carriers.

It sounds like he might be a hip shooter.

Yes, he is. The trouble is, there are so many yes-men, who are happy to agree with his ideas.

So, what are you going to do Ed?

I’m going to go back to school.

What? Are you serious.

Absolutely. A prof from Uni contacted me and said that they have an opening for me there. I might be too old to be a whizz-kid, but I’m good enough to be his man Friday.

To test your knowledge, why not do a crossword puzzle, using words from this text?

Click here for instructions on how to play.

To test your knowledge, why not do a word search puzzle, using words from this text?

Click here for instructions on how to play.

school and work slang

Click on the image to watch a video about School and Work Slang


Ace a test (exp) – Get a perfect score or to do very well in a test

Lee studied hard and aced the test. She always does very well in biology.

All-nighter (n) – To stay up all night to study

I had to do an all nighter to learn for the chemistry exam.

Brain (n) – An intelligent person

They called her brain. She knows everything about most subjects.

Brush up on (vb) – Revise

I have to brush up on algebra. We will have an exam tomorrow.

Bunk off (vb) – Stay away from school or leave early, especially without permission

We are going to bunk off school early, because we want to go to the cinema.

Cram (vb) –  Study intensively over a short period of time just before an examination

I will have to cram all weekend for the maths exam on Monday.

Cut class (vb) – Skip class, to be absent from class without permission

I had to cut class because I forgot my homework.

Draw a blank (exp) – Fail to respond

The teachers difficult question drew a blank.

Drop out (vb) (n) – Quit school or someone who quit school

Bill dropped out of university, but he had a successful career in sales.

Flunk out (vb) – Dismissed from a school or college for failure

Gregory tried hard to be successful, but he flung out of college last year.

Fresher (n) – A first year secondary school/university student

The freshers live directly on campus.

Hit the books (exp) – To study, especially with particular intensity

I say that we hit the books tonight, so we have the best chance of success in the test tomorrow.

Know-it-all (n) – Someone who annoyingly thinks he or she knows everything

She thinks she’s a real know-it-all, but she isn’t.

Prof (n) – Professor

He is the best prof at the University. He has time for everybody.

Skiver (n) – Someone who skips school

The school has promised to crack down on skivers.

Swot (n) – A person who studies extremely hard

Hermione is such a swot. She got top marks in the class test.

Teacher’s pet (n) – The teacher’s favourite student

Janice is the teachers pet. She sits closest to his desk and always brings an apple.

Uni (n) – University

I might go to uni after school, but I haven’t decided yet.

Upper (n) – A pupil of the upper school

The app is don’t have to wear a school uniform.



AWOL (adj) – Absent without official leave but without intent to desert

Has anybody seen Mike? I think he has gone AWOL.

Dogsbody (n) – A person who is given menial tasks to do, especially a junior in an office

They treat me like the dogsbody around here. I’ve had enough of it.

Get a foot in the door (exp) – Have or gain a first introduction to a profession or organisation

If you can get your foot in the door there, I think the career prospects are good.

Get the elbow (exp) – To be dismissed or rejected

My brother got the elbow from his last company, because he was late for work too often.

Heave−ho (n) – Rejection or dismissal

I asked a girl out on a date, but she gave me the heave-ho.

Jobsworth (n) – An official who upholds petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense

He wouldn’t let us into the car park, because we didn’t have a proper permit. He is a real jobsworth.

Nine−to−five (adj) Used in reference to typical office hours, often to express an idea of predictable routine

I’ve got to get out of this nine-to-five job and do something else. It’s driving me crazy.

Parkie (n) – Park keeper

If you kick the ball onto the grass, the parkie will keep it.

Pull one’s finger out (exp) – Stop hesitating or wasting time

You need to pull your finger out and get the job done.

Rat race (n) – A way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power

Congratulations on getting your first job. Welcome to the rat race.

Rookie (n) – A new recruit, especially in the army or police

We are sending the rookie out with Ted. He is the most experienced policeman here.

Sausage roll (n) – Unemployment, on the dole

I’ve been on the sausage roll, since I lost my job at the factory.

Wing it (vb) – To improvise, ad lib

I’ve got absolutely no idea about accounting, but I will wing it and see how I get on.

Bookie (n) – A bookmaker

I’m just going to the bookies. I want to place a bet on a horse.

Boomerang worker (n) – An employee who left the company in a positive way and has been asked to return

Frida is a boomerang worker. She left the company five years ago, but rejoined the company last year.

Cabbie (n) – A taxi driver

Reginald likes working as a cabbie. He often has a lot of famous people in the back of his cab.

Chippy (n) – A carpenter

Yanick is a very good chippy. He made all of the furniture in this house.

Digit-head (n) – A person who deals with numbers

Michelle is such a digit-head. She does all the finance work at our company.

Empty suit (n) – An important or wealthy man regarded as lacking substance or ability

Steve is just an empty suit at this company. He doesn’t make any important decisions.

Fire (vb) – Dismiss from a job

He got fired from his last job for arriving late too often.

Get the elbow (exp) – Dismissed from a job

I got the elbow at the pub, because they said I spent too much time talking with the customers.

Graft (vb) – Work hard

You will have to graft hard here. But the pay is very good.

Grafter (n) – Hard worker

Debra is such a grafter. She does twice as much work as a lot of the other ladies.

Heavy hitter (n) – An important or powerful person

She is a real heavy hitter at this company. She makes a lot of important decisions.

Hip shooter (n) – Someone who speaks or acts rashly, recklessly, or bluntly, without consideration of potential consequences

Unfortunately Neil is a hip shooter. A lot of people have left the company, after he said something without really thinking.

Idea hamster (n) –  A very creative person; someone who is always able to come up with fresh ideas

Sabina is a real idea hamster. She is always coming up with new ways of doing things.

Man Friday (n) – A male personal assistant

Peter hired a man Friday, because he needed help around the office.

Moonlighter (n) A person who has a second job, typically secretly and at night

Most of us are moonlight is here, because the pay is so bad.

Moonlight (vb) – Have a second job, typically secretly and at night, in addition to one’s regular employment

I moonlight at a taxi company in the evening, to earn a little extra money.

Mover and shaker (n) – A powerful person who initiates events and influences people

The directors here all are all movers and shakers. They have to make a lot of important decisions every day.

Net-head (n) – A habitual and expert user of the Internet

Eileen is such a net-head. She is online all day.

Plug-and-play employee (n) – A hired employee who can be fully operational in a short time

We hire a lot of plug-and-play employees from the temp agency. They need very little training.

Postie (n) – Postman/woman

I worked as a postie after I left school.

Rep (n) – Representative, typically in Sales

Jeff is a sales rep. He spends all day driving to customers.

Sack (vb) – Dismiss from a job

Lulu was sacked from her job, because she took home some of the free samples.

Seagull manager (n) – A management style wherein a manager only interacts with employees when they deem a problem has arisen

He is a real seagull manager. He comes out of his office and shouts at us occasionally, but then we don’t hear from him for another week.

Self-made person (n) – Success made by oneself

Janice is a self-made millionaire. She made all her money making jewellery.

Sign on (vb) – Register as unemployed

I had to sign on after losing my job at the factory.

Skivvy (n) – A person doing work that is poorly paid and considered menial

I worked as a skivvy in the hotel’s kitchen. The conditions and pay were really bad.

Sparky (n) – An electrician

I think Sharon’s boyfriend is a sparky. He will be able to help you install your oven.

Spear carrier (n) – A relatively unimportant employee, who plays no major role

Joachim It’s just a spear carrier. He doesn’t make any important decisions.

Suit (n) – Á high-ranking executive in an organisation, typically one regarded as exercising influence in an impersonal way

There are so many suits here ordering us around. It would be nice if they said please once in a while.

Temp (n) – Temporary worker

Our company uses a lot of temp workers, especially before Christmas.

Toxic employee (n) – Person who is harmful because he or she spreads bad behaviour to others

He is such a toxic employee. He is always saying bad things about the management.

Whizz-kid (n) – A young person who is outstandingly skilful or successful at something

Freddie is a whizz-kid. He founded his first company when he was still at school.

Workaholic (n) – A person who compulsively works excessively hard and long hours

Beryls husband is a workaholic. He often doesn’t arrive home before 9 o’clock in the evening.

Yes-man (n) – A weak person who always agrees with their superior at work

There are too many yes-men at this company. They are too afraid to say what they think.

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