Do you think it will bear fruit?
Success depends on your backbone, not on your wishbone.
After four months, he is finally making inroads.
These are just a few of the idioms about success that we are going to take a closer look at in this post.
We will explain what each one means and then we will see how we can use them in a sentence.
Let’s get started…
39 Success Idioms & Phrases (Meanings & Examples)
1. A Recipe For Success
- Meaning: to have everything in place to succeed or to see a good result.
- Use In A Sentence: Many people think that going to college is a recipe for success, but I disagree. I think in order for a person to be successful, they need to work hard.
2. To Dress For Success
- Meaning: to dress nicely in hopes that by doing so one will be successful.
- Use In A Sentence: I think you should wear a suit and tie for the job interview. I always say dress for success and you never know what might happen.
3. To Have Overnight Success
- Meaning: Someone or something that has become successful very quickly as if in one night.
- Use In A Sentence: Jason’s business is booming. Talk about overnight success. What is his secret?
4. To Bear Fruit
- Meaning: to see the good results from one’s efforts.
- Use In A Sentence: It took 6 months of hard work, but we are now just starting to bear fruit.
5. To Hit A Home Run
- Meaning: to do something that turns out to be very successful.
- Use In A Sentence: Apple hit a home run with the new iPhone.
6. In The Bag
- Meaning: to be certain that one is going to achieve the desired results. To be certain of success.
- Use In A Sentence: We thought we had the game in the bag, but then the opposing team scored a field goal in the final seconds of the game.
7. The Key To Success
- Meaning: referring to the single most important factor to achieve the desired results.
- Use In A Sentence: Many people believe the key to success is a good education.
8. To Be Roaring Success
- Meaning: to be extremely successful.
- Use In A Sentence: When I first heard about his idea, I thought there is no way he is going to make it a profit. However, he proved me wrong. It turned out to be a roaring success.
9. To Be Home Free
- Meaning: because a person has finished the most difficult part of something and they are certain to be successful.
- Use In A Sentence: Well, the last few months have been the hardest part, now we are home free.
10. To Bring Home The Bacon
- Meaning: to be successful.
- Use In A Sentence: After losing the last season without a single win, the team needs a new coach, someone who can bring home the bacon.
11. Failure Teaches Success
- Meaning: failing at something gives a person the opportunity to learn and get better in order to succeed.
- Use In A Sentence: I know you are sad about closing your business, but remember failure teaches success. Just try to learn from your mistakes and you will be successful one day.
12. Nothing Succeeds Like Success
- Meaning: Seeing the initial success from one’s efforts, it gives them momentum to achieve much greater results.
- Use In A Sentence: After the team won their first preseason game, they quickly became celebrities in the small town. That gave them the momentum to win every game for the rest of the season. I guess nothing succeeds like success.
13. Every Dog Has His Day
- Meaning: even a person who seems unlikely to succeed at something, will have success at some point in their life.
- Use In A Sentence: They say every dog has his day, well, my day was Monday. My boss gave the promotion I have been working so hard to get.
14. To Get / Jump On The Bandwagon
- Meaning: to follow something after it has been successful.
- Use In A Sentence: When I was growing up, no one was a fan of that team. I was the only one. Now that they won the Super Bowl, it seems like everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.
15. To Spell Success For Something Or Someone
- Meaning: to indicate that there are signs the one is going to achieve their goal or desired results.
- Use In A Sentence: The CEO is hoping that in a few months, the changes will spell success for his company.
16. Sucess Depends On Your Backbone Not On Your Wishbone
- Meaning: you can’t achieve success by wishing for good results. You need to work for what you want.
- Use In A Sentence: You will never find a job if you don’t put yourself out there. Remember success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone.
17. The Sweet Smell Of Success
- Meaning: that feeling of being successful.
- Use In A Sentence: Going into the 8th inning it seemed like the baseball team let the sweet smell of success get into their head. They were no longer playing their hardest and they ended up losing the game.
18. To Make A Killing
- Meaning: to be successful in making a lot of money.
- Use In A Sentence: For the first 2 years I made a killing, but then I don’t know what happened. I lost all kinds of business and ended up going bankrupt.
19. To Have Got It Made
- Meaning: to be in a very comfortable situation. To have everything needed to achieve the desired results.
- Use In A Sentence: She is the CEO’s daughter. She has got it made. She will never have to work hard a day in her life.
20. To Pass / Come Off With Flying Colors
- Meaning: to be extremely successful or to win.
- Use In A Sentence: I passed law school with flying colors.
21. To Have The World At One’s Feet
- Meaning: to be successful.
- Use In A Sentence: George has a mind for business. I think he will have the world at his feet when he gets older.
22. To Be At The Crest Of A Wave
- Meaning: to be experiencing a period of success.
- Use In A Sentence: It just took 2 months of looking for a job before I got my dream position at the company. At that moment, I was at the crest of a wave.
23. To Ride High
- Meaning: to experience success or to feel confident after reaching a goal.
- Use In A Sentence: Susan has been riding high ever since she got a promotion at work.
24. To Sail Through Something
- Meaning: to accomplish something with very little difficulty.
- Use In A Sentence: Jason studied so hard during law school. It is no wonder he sailed through the final exams.
25. To Catch The Wave
- Meaning: To enjoy a period of success.
- Use In A Sentence: Initially, his business wasn’t doing very well until it caught the wave and was featured on the local news channel.
26. To Count One’s Chickens Before They Hatch
- Meaning: to assure one is going to be successful before seeing the results.
- Use In A Sentence: Why do you keep saying, “when I work for this company the first thing I will do is…”. You don’t even have a job yet. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
27. To Make Headway
- Meaning: to make progress towards the goal.
- Use In A Sentence: After months of hard work, we are finally beginning to make headway on our business deals.
28. A Big Fish
- Meaning: an important or successful person.
- Use In A Sentence: When he first walked through those office doors no one even knew his name. Now after 20 years with the company he has become a big fish around the office.
29. To Make Inroads In Something
- Meaning: to get something done or to start something.
- Use In A Sentence: We are making no inroads with this business plan. We need to go back to square one.
30. To Flourish Like A Green Bay Tree
- Meaning: to grow very successfully. To thrive.
- Use In A Sentence: How is Ethan doing? Ever since he changed schools he has been flourishing like a green bay tree.
31. Lucky At Cards, Unlucky At Love
- Meaning: used to refer to a person who is very successful when it comes to doing business, and yet finds it difficult to pursue romantic relationships.
- Use In A Sentence: James has climbed the corporate ladder very quickly and yet, he can’t find himself a wife. Lucky at cards, unlucky at love I guess.
32. To Enjoy One’s Moment In The Sun
- Meaning: enjoy a brief period when one has become successful famous, popular, etc.
- Use In A Sentence: Steve enjoyed his moment in the sun when his business was featured on the local news channel.
33. To Strike Gold
- Meaning: to discover wealth or success. It usually refers to finding success by chance.
- Use In A Sentence: Janet stroke gold. The land she bought is sitting on a ton of untouched oil.
34. Streets Are Paved With Gold
- Meaning: a place where it is easy to make money or become successful.
- Use In A Sentence: Maria wants to move to the USA. She thinks the streets are paved with gold.
35. To Land On One’s Feet
- Meaning: to successfully deal with a difficult situation.
- Use In A Sentence: I wouldn’t worry about Stephanie. Even in the most difficult situations she always tends to land on her feet.
36. To Watch One’s Smoke
- Meaning: to watch someone or something become successful.
- Use In A Sentence: David was determined to start his own business. He told his friends to watch his smoke as he is determined to make this business work.
37. To Have The Golden Touch
- Meaning: to be successful at whatever one does or touches.
- Use In A Sentence: Mary has the golden touch. She can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to.
38. To Taste Blood
- Meaning: To experience the initial success that motivates one to continue pursuing a similar course.
- Example Sentence: After seeing a profit with his first business Jared tasted blood. He went out and started up 5 new stores.
39. The Golden Ticket
- Meaning: Something or someone that provides an opportunity for one to become very successful.
- Use In A Sentence: The paintbrushes Jessica’s mother bought her were her golden ticket out of this small town. One day she will become a famous piano painter.
There you have it! 39 success idioms. Which one is your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you enjoy this post, you may also enjoy our Idiom Of The Day page. There we post a different idiom every day. Check it out!