Top 40 Slang For Efforts – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to recognizing and appreciating hard work and dedication, sometimes a simple “good job” just doesn’t cut it. In this article, we’ve rounded up the top slang terms that celebrate efforts in a fun and creative way. Whether you’re looking to spice up your compliments or just want to stay in the loop with the latest trends, we’ve got you covered. So, buckle up and get ready to add some flair to your vocabulary!

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1. Hustle

This term refers to putting in a lot of effort or working hard to achieve a goal. It can also imply being resourceful or taking advantage of opportunities.

  • For example, “She hustled to get her business off the ground.”
  • In a sports context, someone might say, “You have to hustle if you want to win.”
  • A motivational speaker might say, “Success comes to those who hustle and never give up.”

2. Grind

This slang term refers to the act of consistently working hard or putting in effort over a long period of time. It often implies a relentless pursuit of goals or success.

  • For instance, “He’s always on the grind, trying to improve himself.”
  • A student might say, “I have to grind to get good grades.”
  • In the business world, someone might say, “Success doesn’t come easy, you have to grind for it.”

3. Elbow grease

This slang term refers to putting in physical effort or doing manual labor. It implies using one’s muscles and strength to get a job done.

  • For example, “Cleaning the house requires some elbow grease.”
  • When fixing a car, someone might say, “You need to apply some elbow grease to loosen that bolt.”
  • A coach might encourage their team, saying, “Put in some elbow grease and give it your all!”

4. Blood, sweat, and tears

This phrase represents the extreme amount of effort and hard work someone puts into achieving something. It implies sacrificing time, energy, and even emotional strain.

  • For instance, “Building a successful business requires blood, sweat, and tears.”
  • A musician might say, “I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into this album.”
  • When describing a challenging project, someone might say, “It was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but we finally completed it.”

5. Grit

This term refers to having the strength of character to persevere through difficult situations or challenges. It implies a combination of passion, resilience, and mental toughness.

  • For example, “She showed a lot of grit in overcoming her obstacles.”
  • A coach might say, “Grit is what separates the winners from the losers.”
  • When describing someone’s work ethic, someone might say, “He has a lot of grit and never gives up.”

6. Sweat equity

This term refers to the value that is created by putting in hard work, time, and effort into a project or endeavor. It implies that the individual has contributed their own labor and effort rather than relying solely on financial investment.

  • For example, “I’ve been putting in sweat equity to renovate my house.”
  • In a business context, someone might say, “The success of the startup was largely due to the founders’ sweat equity.”
  • A friend might compliment another’s effort by saying, “You’ve really built this business through sweat equity.”

7. Dig deep

This phrase means to push oneself to the limit and give it everything one has. It implies going beyond what is expected or required, and tapping into one’s inner strength or reserves to achieve a goal.

  • For instance, a coach might motivate their team by saying, “It’s time to dig deep and give it your all.”
  • In a personal development context, someone might encourage themselves by saying, “I need to dig deep and find the motivation to keep going.”
  • A friend might inspire another by saying, “I know you can dig deep and overcome this challenge.”

8. Give it your all

This phrase means to give 100% effort and commitment to a task or goal. It implies giving everything one has, leaving nothing behind, and not holding back in any way.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “I want you to give it your all on the field.”
  • In a work setting, a manager might encourage their employees by saying, “Let’s give it our all and deliver the best results.”
  • A parent might motivate their child by saying, “I believe in you. Give it your all and you’ll succeed.”

9. Burn the midnight oil

This phrase means to work late into the night, often sacrificing sleep or leisure time in order to complete a task or meet a deadline. It implies putting in extra effort and going the extra mile to achieve a desired outcome.

  • For instance, a student might say, “I have an exam tomorrow, so I’ll be burning the midnight oil.”
  • In a professional setting, someone might mention, “I’ve been burning the midnight oil to finish this project on time.”
  • A friend might sympathize with another’s workload by saying, “I know you’ve been burning the midnight oil. Hang in there, it’ll pay off.”

10. Leave it all on the field

This phrase is often used in sports to encourage athletes to give their all and leave nothing behind in a game or competition. It implies giving maximum effort, leaving no regrets, and giving it everything one has.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “Go out there and leave it all on the field.”
  • In a personal context, someone might motivate themselves by saying, “I’m going to leave it all on the field and give it my best shot.”
  • A teammate might inspire another by saying, “We’re in this together. Let’s leave it all on the field and give it our best effort.”

11. Roll up your sleeves

This phrase means to prepare oneself for hard work or to start working on a task. It implies a willingness to put in effort and get things done.

  • For example, a manager might say, “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and finish this project.”
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “Let’s roll up our sleeves and give it our all on the field.”
  • A friend might encourage another by saying, “You can do it! Just roll up your sleeves and get started.”

12. Put your back into it

This phrase means to exert maximum effort or to work with great determination. It suggests using all of one’s physical or mental strength to accomplish a task.

  • For instance, a trainer might say, “Put your back into it and push through the last few reps.”
  • A teacher might advise a student, “If you want to succeed, you need to put your back into your studies.”
  • A parent might encourage their child, “You can achieve anything if you put your back into it and never give up.”

13. Go the extra mile

This phrase means to put in additional effort beyond what is expected or required. It implies going above and beyond to achieve a desired outcome or provide exceptional results.

  • For example, a salesperson might say, “I always go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.”
  • A student might go the extra mile by conducting additional research for a project.
  • A chef might go the extra mile by adding a special touch to a dish to impress their customers.
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14. Break a sweat

This phrase means to engage in physical activity or work hard enough to start sweating. It suggests putting in enough effort to feel the physical effects of exertion.

  • For instance, a personal trainer might say, “If you’re not breaking a sweat, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.”
  • A friend might encourage another during a workout, “Come on, let’s break a sweat and get those endorphins flowing.”
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “I want to see each of you break a sweat during practice.”

15. Pull out all the stops

This phrase means to use all available resources or strategies to achieve a desired outcome. It suggests going to great lengths and using maximum effort to accomplish a goal.

  • For example, a musician might say, “I’m going to pull out all the stops for this performance and give it my best.”
  • A project manager might declare, “We need to pull out all the stops to meet the deadline.”
  • A friend might encourage another by saying, “You’ve got this! Pull out all the stops and show them what you’re capable of.”

16. Leave no stone unturned

This phrase means to make every possible effort to find or achieve something. It implies thoroughness and determination in searching for a solution or answer.

  • For example, when investigating a crime, a detective might say, “We will leave no stone unturned in our search for the truth.”
  • A person preparing for a job interview might say, “I’m going to leave no stone unturned in my research on the company.”
  • When looking for a lost item, someone might declare, “I’m going to leave no stone unturned until I find it.”

17. Give 110%

This phrase means to give more effort than is expected or required. It suggests going above and beyond what is considered normal or standard.

  • For instance, a coach might motivate their team by saying, “I want you to give 110% on the field.”
  • A student might tell themselves before an exam, “I’m going to give 110% and study as hard as I can.”
  • In a work setting, a manager might encourage their employees by saying, “Let’s give 110% to meet our deadline.”

18. Work your fingers to the bone

This phrase means to work tirelessly and put in a great amount of effort. It implies working so hard that one’s fingers become sore or exhausted.

  • For example, a construction worker might say, “I’ve been working my fingers to the bone on this project.”
  • A student studying for exams might say, “I’ve been working my fingers to the bone all week.”
  • A parent taking care of their children might say, “I work my fingers to the bone to provide for my family.”

19. Go hard or go home

This phrase means to put in all your effort and give it your best, or else don’t attempt it at all. It emphasizes the importance of giving one’s full commitment and energy to a task.

  • For instance, a coach might motivate their team by saying, “Go hard or go home. Give it everything you’ve got.”
  • A person preparing for a competition might tell themselves, “I’m going to go hard or go home. There’s no room for half-hearted efforts.”
  • In a work setting, a manager might say, “We need everyone to go hard or go home if we want to succeed.”

20. Leave it all on the table

This phrase means to give your maximum effort and leave nothing behind. It suggests giving your all and not holding anything back.

  • For example, a performer might say, “I’m going to leave it all on the table during tonight’s concert.”
  • A person competing in a sports event might say, “I’m going to leave it all on the table and give it my best shot.”
  • In a business negotiation, someone might declare, “I’m going to leave it all on the table and fight for the best deal possible.”

21. Grind it out

To “grind it out” means to persist and work hard, especially in challenging or difficult situations. It implies putting in continuous effort and not giving up easily.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “We’re down by 10 points, but let’s grind it out and win this game.”
  • A student preparing for exams might say, “I need to grind it out and study all night.”
  • In a work setting, someone might say, “We have a tight deadline, but let’s grind it out and get the project done.”

22. Push

To “push” means to exert effort or work hard towards achieving a goal or completing a task. It implies putting in physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles or challenges.

  • For instance, a personal trainer might say, “Come on, push harder during this workout.”
  • A manager might encourage their team by saying, “Let’s push ourselves to meet the deadline.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “Keep pushing and give it your all on the field.”

23. Strive

To “strive” means to make great efforts or work hard towards achieving a particular goal or standard. It implies aiming for excellence and continuously trying to improve.

  • For example, a motivational speaker might say, “Strive for greatness and never settle for mediocrity.”
  • A student might say, “I strive to get straight A’s in all my classes.”
  • In a professional setting, someone might say, “I strive to be the best in my field and constantly learn and grow.”

24. Sweat

To “sweat” means to put in intense physical or mental effort towards a task or goal. It implies working hard and exerting oneself to the point of perspiration.

  • For instance, a personal trainer might say, “If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough.”
  • A musician preparing for a performance might say, “I’ve been sweating over these songs for weeks.”
  • In a competitive setting, someone might say, “I’m going to make them sweat and give it my all.”

25. Dig in

To “dig in” means to get to work or start putting in effort towards a task or goal. It implies a sense of determination and readiness to take action.

  • For example, a coach might say to their team, “It’s time to dig in and give it everything we’ve got.”
  • A project manager might say, “The deadline is approaching, so let’s dig in and get this done.”
  • In a personal context, someone might say, “I need to dig in and clean my entire house this weekend.”

26. Work your tail off

This phrase means to work extremely hard and put in a significant amount of effort.

  • For example, “I had to work my tail off to meet the project deadline.”
  • Someone might say, “She works her tail off to provide for her family.”
  • In a conversation about success, a person might comment, “If you want to achieve your goals, you have to work your tail off.”

27. Struggle bus

This slang term refers to a situation where someone is experiencing a lot of difficulties or challenges.

  • For instance, “I’ve been on the struggle bus with this math assignment.”
  • Someone might say, “I’m definitely on the struggle bus when it comes to cooking.”
  • In a conversation about a tough workout, a person might comment, “That class put me on the struggle bus.”

28. Pour your heart into it

This phrase means to give something your full effort and dedication, often with a lot of passion and enthusiasm.

  • For example, “She poured her heart into her art project and it turned out amazing.”
  • Someone might say, “If you want to succeed, you have to pour your heart into your work.”
  • In a conversation about pursuing dreams, a person might comment, “You have to pour your heart into your goals and never give up.”

29. Give it your best shot

This phrase means to give something your maximum effort and try your hardest to succeed.

  • For instance, “Even though it’s challenging, I’m going to give it my best shot.”
  • Someone might say, “You have nothing to lose, so give it your best shot.”
  • In a conversation about a difficult task, a person might comment, “I know it’s tough, but give it your best shot and see what happens.”

30. Leave it all out there

This phrase means to give your absolute best effort and leave nothing behind, putting all of your energy and resources into something.

  • For example, “He left it all out there on the field during the championship game.”
  • Someone might say, “When it comes to pursuing your dreams, you have to leave it all out there.”
  • In a conversation about a challenging project, a person might comment, “Let’s give it our all and leave it all out there.”

31. Grunt work

Refers to tasks that are considered low-level or unskilled. It often involves repetitive or tedious work that requires physical effort.

  • For example, “I spent the whole day doing grunt work like filing papers and organizing files.”
  • In a team project, someone might say, “Let’s assign the grunt work to the interns.”
  • A supervisor might delegate grunt work by saying, “I need someone to handle the grunt work of data entry.”

32. Step up your game

This phrase is used to encourage someone to increase their effort, skill, or dedication in order to achieve better results.

  • For instance, a coach might say to their team, “We need to step up our game if we want to win the championship.”
  • In a work setting, a manager might tell an employee, “You need to step up your game and meet your deadlines.”
  • A friend might offer advice by saying, “If you want to impress your boss, you need to step up your game and take on more responsibilities.”

33. Busting your chops

This slang phrase means putting in a lot of effort or working diligently. It can also imply enduring criticism or being pushed to one’s limits.

  • For example, “I’ve been busting my chops to meet the project deadline.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “I expect you to be busting your chops during practice.”
  • A coworker might compliment a colleague by saying, “You’ve been busting your chops to get that promotion.”

34. Putting in the hard yards

This phrase refers to the effort and dedication required to achieve a goal. It implies going through a challenging or demanding process to achieve success.

  • For instance, “I’ve been putting in the hard yards to improve my skills.”
  • In a fitness context, someone might say, “If you want to see results, you have to put in the hard yards at the gym.”
  • A mentor might advise their mentee, “Success doesn’t come easy; you have to put in the hard yards to achieve your goals.”

35. Going hammer and tongs

This phrase means working with great energy, enthusiasm, or force. It implies giving one’s all and not holding back.

  • For example, “I’ve been going hammer and tongs to finish this project on time.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “I want to see you go hammer and tongs during the game.”
  • A friend might encourage another by saying, “You’ve got this! Go hammer and tongs and give it your all.”

36. Giving it your best shot

This phrase means to give something your best effort or try your hardest to achieve a goal or complete a task.

  • For example, “I may not be the most experienced, but I’m going to give it my best shot.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “Give it your best shot out there on the field.”
  • Someone facing a difficult challenge might say, “I know it’s tough, but I’m going to give it my best shot and see what happens.”

37. Burning the candle at both ends

This phrase refers to working long hours or overextending oneself by trying to do too much.

  • For instance, “I’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to finish this project on time.”
  • A friend might say, “You need to take a break. You can’t keep burning the candle at both ends.”
  • Someone discussing work-life balance might say, “I used to burn the candle at both ends, but now I prioritize self-care.”

38. Going all out

This phrase means to put in your maximum effort or give something your complete attention and dedication.

  • For example, “I’m going to go all out and give this presentation my best.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “Go all out on the field and leave everything you’ve got.”
  • Someone discussing a project might say, “We’re going to go all out to make this event a success.”

39. Straining every nerve

This phrase means to put in a lot of effort or work very hard to accomplish something.

  • For instance, “I’m straining every nerve to meet this deadline.”
  • A friend might say, “You’re straining every nerve to make this project perfect.”
  • Someone discussing their work ethic might say, “I always strain every nerve to achieve my goals.”

40. Breaking your back

This phrase means to work very hard or put in a lot of effort to accomplish something.

  • For example, “I’ve been breaking my back to finish this project on time.”
  • A colleague might say, “You’re breaking your back to make this event a success.”
  • Someone discussing their dedication might say, “I’m willing to break my back to achieve my dreams.”