Business person holding box of belongings after being terminated from job

Employee Termination Idioms Survey Reveals Common Expressions

By David Cox | June 7, 2021

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the results of our poll concerning common idioms used to express employee termination.

A week ago, I launched a poll on LinkedIn asking: How does your workplace typically express the act of termination to an employee? As a copy editor, I was especially curious about how different employers use various idioms to communicate this action.

I also noted some of the more common employee termination idioms used by employers. These included: axed, canned, sacked, booted, pink-slipped, separated, and released.

Overall, the poll has attracted 128 participants. Although it’s a small sample, here are the results:

  1. Fired – 12%
  2. Terminated (or “termed”) – 40%
  3. Let go – 37%
  4. Dismissed – 11%

Admittedly, I was a bit surprised that “Let go” did not receive the most votes. However, I was even more astonished that “fired” polled at a distant third place.

I also received comments and messages suggesting the following employee termination idioms I had not considered:

  1. Cut
  2. Departing
  3. Discharged
  4. It just didn’t work out
  5. Made Redundant
  6. Out the window
  7. Outplaced
  8. Parting ways
  9. Pursuing other interests
  10. Relieved of duty
  11. Removed
  12. Rightsized
  13. Separated
  14. Tarred and feathered
  15. Transitioned
  16. Unconditionally released
  17. Waived

If you would like to participate in polls like the one above, we will occasionally run others from my LinkedIn page. I invite you to follow or connect with me by clicking here.

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About the Author: David Cox

David Cox is a Co-owner of TPB Business Copyediting. He writes to encourage us to apply our multidisciplinary training and experiences to develop our current career role further.