What Does Grab the Bull by The Horns Mean?

What does it mean «Grab the bull by the horns»

or «Take the bull by the horns»?

 

What does it mean to Grab the Bull by the Horns?

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To confront a problem directly.

To confront a problem directly.

To do something difficult in a confident way.

To forcefully attack a situation.

To overpower and reduce a problem to something manageable.

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To take or grab a bull by the horns is an idiom that in commonly used in business English to refer to confronting a difficult situation by taking immediate action.  Just like the image suggests, to take a bull by the horns requires bravery and quick movement.  This expression is often used to suggest that one will stop avoiding a problem they are facing and deal with it.

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How to use it:

Present Simple:

(When the act of «taking the bull by the horns» is something done regularly, repetitively or habitually)

  • I take the bull by the horns every time the CEO comes to visit, and brief the staff on all the correct answers to his questions!
  • You grab the bull by the horns all the time don´t you? You don´t seem to be afraid of anything!
  • She takes the bull by the horns all the time! She´s never been late for an assignment.
  • He never takes the bull by the horns, he´s always expecting someone else to face his problems for him (negative usage).
  • We have to grab the bull by the horns every summer to produce this festival!
  • They haven´t ever grabbed the bull by the horns with the producer, and now they have lost the contract.

Past Simple:

(When the act of «grabbing the bull by the horns» took place at a specific time in the past, which is now over)

  • I took the bull by the horns last summer and moved to a new apartment.
  • You took the bull by the horns to achieve these great results!
  • He grabbed the bull by the horns! I didn´t even hear him complain about the job!
  • We grabbed the bull by the horns and managed to double our revenue in one year!
  • They took the bull by the horns and found a way to manage the company when the CEO had to take sick leave.
  • You never took the bull by the horns, you only pretended to confront your issues (negative usage)

Future Simple:

(When the act of «grabbing the bull by the horns» will happen at a specific time in the future).

  • I will grab the bull by the horns and finally file for a divorce.
  • You will take the bull by the horns when you finally face him about this issue.
  • He will take the bull by the horns and tell his boss he wants a raise.
  • We will grab the bull by the horns and finally confront this problem.
  • They will take the bull by the horns next Monday when they meet with Jim.
  • You won´t take the bull by the horns and just deal with this, will you?

 

 

Amanda Wolf

Amanda Wolf

Amanda has been teaching Business English Online since 2009.
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