Online Dictionary

at the coal face Explained

at the coal face at English (WD) Of Explained:

Category: File - :Child coal miners (1908) crop.jpg|thumb|at the coal face, where the work is actually happening
Category: File - :At the coal face - - 156088.jpg|thumb


From being in a Inter: w » coal mine, at the face where the mining is actually occurring, especially in dark, cramped, dirty, hazardous conditions. Compare Inter: term » front line|lang=en and Inter: term » in the trenches|lang=en, of similar formation.

Prepositional phrase

Inter: en-PP » at the coal face
  • Inter: UK » idiomatic To be directly engaged in the operations of a business, rather than in a hands-off, managerial position.


    * in the trenches, where the rubber meets the road

    See also

    * front line
    • day-to-day
    • hands-on
    • nitty-gritty
    • nuts and bolts

  • roll up one's sleeves


    * Re: "at the coal face...", posted by Lewis on June 21, 2004, The Phrase Finder