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 end of the story for links to a crossword and word search using words from this post, as well a YouTube video. 
Hit the big time – Reach the highest or most successful level in a career, especially in entertainment
Strike it lucky – Have good luck in a particular matter
Flop – A failure
Whizz-kid – A young person who is outstandingly skilful or successful at something
Ace – To do exceptionally well in something
Come unstuck – Fail completely
Win hands down – Win easily
Wipe the floor – Defeat someone very easily in a competition or an argument
Dud – A thing that fails to work properly or is otherwise unsatisfactory or worthless
Walkover – An easy win
Notch up – Achieve something
Cut the mustard – Come up to expectations, reach the required standard
Work like a charm – Used when something is completely successful or effective
Cooking with gas – Functioning particularly effectively, achieving something substantial
Coming up roses – Everything is going well for them for someone

Just once in my life, I would like to hit the big time. Strike it lucky. But every time, I come unstuck and my plan flops.

That’s not true Ed. You might not be a whizz-kid, but you ace most things you do. Anyway, what has flopped?

My attempt to get into the pub pool team. I came unstuck in my final match and now I’m not sure whether I’m in or not.

Well it’s good to see you tried to make a go of something. Keep practising and I’m sure you’ll succeed.

I thought I could win hands down, but my opponent wiped the floor with me. He thrashed me. I was hopeless. I’ve never felt such a dud.

I bet it wasn’t that bad. You probably just had a bad evening. You are certainly not a walkover.

No excuses. He won hands down. He hammered me. He notched up another win and I just didn’t cut the mustard.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. My Dad has a pool table and you can practise with him. I’m sure getting a few tips from him will work like a charm. After a short time, you’ll be cooking with gas and be ready to notch up your first win.

You really are a great motivator Judy. I feel better already. I’m pretty certain that everything will be coming up roses in my pool career, very soon.

To test your knowledge, why not do a crossword puzzle, using words from this text?
To test your knowledge, why not do a word search puzzle, using words from this text?
Success and failure slang

Click on the image to watch a video about Success & Failure Slang

Here are some further slang expressions, some of which were not used in the story.


Bob’s your uncle (exp) – Used to express the ease with which a task can be achieved

I was trying to loosen the screw, and Bob’s your uncle, it just came off.

Cat’s whiskers (n) – An excellent person or thing

He thinks his new car is the cat’s whiskers. He cleans it every day

Doddle (n) – A very easy task

This job is a real doddle. We will be finished very quickly.

Easy−peasy (adj) –  Very straightforward and easy (used by or as if by children)

I can’t believe you don’t know the answer. It’s easy-peasy.

Get off the ground (exp) – Make a successful start

My husband is trying to get his new company off the ground. I wish him luck.

Give it some (exp) – Put some effort into something

You all have to give it some, if you want to win this match.

Give one’s right arm (exp) – Used to convey how much one would like to have or do something

I would give my right arm to be able to go on that trip to Disneyland. I’ve always wanted to go there.

Got to hand it to (exp) –  Give credit to

You’ve got to hand it to her, she did a great job.

Off the hook (exp) – No longer in difficulty or trouble

I bought her some flowers and now I’m off the hook.

Going places (exp) – Likely to become very successful

Ollie is really going places. I’m sure he will be boss of the company one day.

Hack it (exp) – To complete or tolerate a task or situation. Usually used in the negative

I don’t think she will hack it here. She hasn’t got the temperament.

Hammer someone (exp) – Defeat somebody convincingly

Brian hammered his rival in the elections. Nobody believed it would be so easy.

Make a go of something (exp) – to succeed in doing something

I think you should make a go of it. If you don’t try, you will never know.

Sew something up (exp) – Bring something to a favourable conclusion

That is the game sewn up. What a goal it was too.

Strike (it) lucky (exp) – Have good luck in a particular matter

Diane really struck it lucky by meeting Brian. He’s absolutely perfect for her.

The big time (exp) – The highest or most successful level in a career, especially in entertainment

You are in the big time now. Enjoy it, because it’s a great feeling.

Thrash somebody (exp) – To beat somebody convincingly in competition

Boris thrashed Jimmy at tennis. It was unbelievable.

Works like a charm (exp) – Used when something is completely successful or effective

Offering him a beer when he comes home in the evening works like a charm. Let me choose what I want to watch on the television, every time.


Bodge−up (n) – A makeshift repair

The repair job was a real bodge-up. But at least we were able to drive home.

Give up the ghost (exp) – A machine break−down, total malfunction from age or use

My old motorcycle finally gave up the ghost. I had ridden it for 25 years though.

Glitch (n) – An unexpected setback

I’m certain we’ve just hit a glitch. We will find a solution.

Gremlin (n) – An unexplained flaw, malfunction or error

I’m sure it must be just a gremlin, because it worked fine earlier.

Up the creek without a paddle (exp) – In trouble

I’m afraid we are up the creek without a paddle, because we have run out of petrol.

Come unstuck (exp) – Fail completely

Rovers came unstuck when they were promoted to the first league. They got relegated, only getting 15 points all season.

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