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to burn the midnight oil

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Choose the correct definition : a, b or c.

a) to overcome an obstacle

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b) to come home late

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c) to work very late in the night

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If someones burn the midnight oil, they stay up working or studying late at night. It alludes to working by the light of an oil lamp late in the night

French translation

travailler sans relâche, y passer une nuit blanche

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Examples in context

‘The Gagosian exhibition has been a particular incentive. Mr. Drasler said some students had “been burning the midnight oil".’

The New York Times, 10 April 2013

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‘Running bars or burning the midnight oil : stark choices for Asian hedge fund managers Expat hedge fund managers in Asia are returning home and touting their wares to firms in the UK and the US as job opportunities dry up locally. The market is still tough, but hedge funds in the Western world are realizing the value of Eastern experience.’

Efinancialcareers.com, 18 March 2013

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Everyday usage

I’ve got to get this report finished by tomorrow so I guess I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight.

He was burning the midnight oil to finish his paper.


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