Imagine for a moment you are sitting in your cubicle at work and you overhear a conversation: should your company should continue to sell to the same consumer base, thus ensuring a marginal profit, or try to go after a different demographic. Due to the inherent risk and weight of this decision, expressions such as “face the music” are being thrown around. Do you actually know what this term means? The origin behind it? In today’s competitive business environment you must have a working understanding of the business jargon related to your industry, or else you risk being taken advantage of. Read on to increase your general knowledge of American business idioms

Idiom: Face the Music


Definition: To accept and take on the unpleasant realities of a situation, particularly if the consequences came about as a result of one’s own action. Commonly used in reference to different forms of punishment.

idiom: face the music Example: Gracie lied to her parents about where she went last weekend. Her brother accidentally spilled the beans at dinner, and so now she must face the music.

Origin: This phrase was first cited in the mid-19th century. The earliest reference of the phrase in print was recorded in August 1834 in The New Hampshire Statesman & State Journal.

It is believed that whoever first coined the term was certain of the situation and the music being played at that time. There are a number of theories surrounding the phrase. The most asserted one is the connection between the beat of drums and the walk of a disgraced officer being drummed out of his regiment. The officer literally has to face the music – the beating drums – as he is being stripped of his privileges and responsibilities.

Accent Pros idioms series

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