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approach (one) about

To ask someone something, often in a cautious way. When is the best time to approach the boss about taking a leave of absence? I can't propose yet, I still have to approach Julie's dad about it. Have the producers approached you about taking the role yet?
See also: approach

band-aid approach

A quick, superficial, or temporary approach to a problem that does not address or resolve the underlying cause of said problem. A reference to the Band-Aid brand of adhesive bandages. Sometimes capitalized. Honestly, I think this is just a Band-Aid treatment—we need to work harder and find a real solution. Lowering educational standards in schools may increase graduation rates, but it is little more than a band-aid approach to a much deeper problem.
See also: approach

band-aid solution

A quick, superficial, or temporary solution to a problem that does not address or resolve the underlying cause of said problem. A reference to the Band-Aid brand of adhesive bandages. Sometimes capitalized. While offering free pizza to customers affected by the oil spill is a cute band-aid solution, the company has no plan in place to deal with the actual damage that it caused.
See also: solution

belt and braces

A multipronged, perhaps excessively cautious, approach to try to ensure a particular outcome. Hyphenated if used before a noun. Primarily heard in UK. Even though I'd set the alarm clock in my room, I still asked the front desk for a wake-up call. I felt I had to go belt and braces to ensure that I'm not late for the big meeting tomorrow morning.
See also: and, belt, brace


A motivational tactic that uses a reward and punishment system to encourage improved performance or behavior. Often hyphenated and used as a modifier before a noun. Companies are slowly learning that the carrot-and-stick approach to management is ineffective—employees are much more motivated to do a better job when they are recognized for their hard work.

kitchen-sink approach

An approach to something that involves many different things, often to the point of excess or redundancy. An allusion to the phrase "everything but the kitchen sink," meaning nearly everything one can reasonably imagine. If this launch fails, we'll go bankrupt, so we need to take a kitchen-sink approach when we troubleshoot the app before it goes live. The politician has taken a kitchen-sink approach to her election campaign, promising to fix every political issue under the sun.
See also: approach

rifle approach

In business, a marketing strategy in which a very narrow, focused, or selective group, demographic, or population is targeted or advertised to. Our competitors have been drawing away a large proportion of the market share of teenaged customers, so our next marketing campaign is going to have a rifle approach to get them back.
See also: approach, rifle

seagull approach

business slang A management style or approach in which the manager only becomes involved in a matter when a problem is perceived to have arisen, especially when they have little other knowledge about said matter and only cause more problems as a result of their involvement. I'm sick of this new boss's seagull approach. If he would just let us get on with our work instead of swooping in every time there's a hiccup, we'd nearly be finished by now!
See also: approach, seagull

shotgun approach

In business, a marketing strategy in which a wide and nonselective population or demographic is reached or advertised to. We don't yet have much brand recognition in the market, so we're going with a shotgun approach to reach as many potential customers as we can.
See also: approach, shotgun

softly, softly approach

A calm and thoughtful method for dealing with a problem. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. When dealing with unmotivated teens, the softly, softly approach doesn't always work—sometimes you have to do something to get their attention. Many parents use the softly, softly approach when trying to calm their toddlers' tantrums.
See also: approach, softly

softly-softly approach

An approach that is cautious, tentative, gradual, and careful, especially to an overbearing degree. (Also written "softly, softly.") I just wish his parents didn't always take the softly-softly approach with him. The kid needs to learn how to be a bit more brazen and independent! I think we should use the softly, softly approach at this stage in development.
See also: approach

sunset years

The final years of a person's life, especially those spent in retirement. The economic crash has been especially devastating to the retired and the elderly, whose pensions they had been expecting to live off of in their sunset years have now evaporated in a matter of days.
See also: sunset, year
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

approach someone about someone or something

to ask someone about someone or something, usually with tact and caution. Wally has been acting strangely. I will approach Judy about him. She approached Tom about the broken window.
See also: approach
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

belt and braces

If someone has a belt and braces approach to doing something, they take extra precautions to make sure that it will work properly. A trawl of the computer system should reveal if customers were charged too much. `It's a belt and braces approach to check for irregularities,' said the bank. He described airport security as an overly belt and braces approach, at huge cost to industry. Note: Trousers that are held up by a belt as well as a pair of braces (= two straps over the shoulder) are less likely to fall down.
See also: and, belt, brace
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

belt and braces

(of a policy or action) providing double security by using two means to achieve the same end. British
This meaning developed from the idea of a literal belt and braces holding up a pair of loose-fitting trousers.
2002 Digital Photography Made Easy Oddly, the manual is also on CD, which seems a bit belt and braces (though useful if you lose the original).
See also: and, belt, brace

sunset years

the last years of a person's life. euphemistic
See also: sunset, year
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a/the softly-ˈsoftly approach

(British English, informal) a/the gentle, patient and careful way of doing something, especially when dealing with people: The police are now trying a more softly-softly approach with football hooligans. OPPOSITE: like a bull in a china shop
See also: approach
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

band-aid approach/solution

A stopgap measure, a temporary expedient. This term applies the trade name for a small bandage, the Band-Aid, patented in 1924, to approaching or solving an issue in a makeshift way. It dates from the late 1960s and is approaching cliché status.
See also: approach, solution
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Eradication can be approached by 2 paths: the first (and the one now pursued in some clinics) is to vigorously treat active infection with HIV drugs, the second is to target the remaining latently infected T cells ("the reservoir").
One semester, I realized how frustrating my approach to defining the Gothic was when a student approached me two weeks into the course to ask me why I teach a class about a topic I can't even define.
As it approached the East River the F4U commenced a right turn and then dived toward the river.
When we approached authors for contributions, many felt they wanted to refine their papers--either because of direct responses received at the seminar or because of the influence of others' seminar papers on their initial perspective.
And it is not for those unwilling to gain knowledge of the interdisciplinary traditions by which any single research question might be approached. Amid this complexity, a frame must be established, a "way of seeing" must be chosen, or the researcher becomes paralyzed (Marshall & Rossman, 1995, p.
This experience provided important lessons and forced supervisors and bankers, alike, to reconsider the way they approached their jobs.
Black Capetonians identified the commercial potential, approached consultants, negotiated a 50 year lease of the site, prepared documentation to achieve financial institution support and involved the local communities in decisions that would affect them.
When we approached them, representatives from both interests expressed a willingness to work on the issue.
Suggestions, which follow, are intended as possibilities for faculty to use when approached by a student who has identified his or her special needs.
One of the locations had an upward sloping landing zone when approached on a southerly heading and was 150 feet in diameter with trees around the perimeter.
During the observation hour, every user who approached the reference desk and spoke to the reference librarian(s) was noted.
Student salespersons approached customers (faculty and staff) to sign up for a plant rental program for the semester.