What Does Talk Shop Mean?

To Talk Shop Meaning

Definition: To discuss work matters.

Origin of Talk Shop

One definition of shop is one’s trade or things pertaining to one’s profession. This meaning of shop originated around the year 1814. It comes from the idea that many types of business occur in a shop or store. This is the meaning it takes in the idiom to talk shop, which originated around the year 1860.

In many social settings, it is preferable to avoid talking shop. This is because many workers enjoy a respite from work matters while enjoying their free time. Also, if anyone in the group does not work in the same field, that person will be excluded from the conversation. For that reason, talk shop often appears preceded by don’t or let’s not.

On the other hand, if two people were having a social discussion, and one or the other wanted to change the topic to be work related, he could say, Let’s talk shop.

Examples of Talk Shop

talk talk shopIn the conversation below, two friends are out for a job in the park.

Scott: What a beautiful day!

Tony: I know! This is great weather we’re having. Are you finished with your part of the big project? We need to present on Monday.

Scott: No, I’m not. But let’s not talk shop on such a nice day. I think about work all day every day during weekdays. I’d love to forget about it all, at least today, on a Saturday.

Tony: You’re right. We’ll wait to talk shop until Monday morning.

meaning of talking shopTwo co-workers use the expression while discussing the party they are planning.

Richard: I’m so excited about the party we are throwing this Friday. It seems like most of our co-workers plan on attending.

Miranda: This is a great chance for us to get to know them outside of work. They are all so professional that I barely know anything about their personal lives. I want to make sure that no one talks shop at the party, so I have all sorts of activities planned that will steer the conversation away from work and towards people’s families and hobbies.

Richard: Good idea!

More Examples

This excerpt is about two late night TV hosts.

  • The world is a cold and empty place without Colbert available to comment on ridiculous events in Washington, D.C., and beyond, but Thursday night offered a little relief as the former “Daily Show” correspondent stopped by “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to talk shop. –LA Times

The second example is from an article about a car show in Israel.

  • Sitting by their parked cars, they chew sunflower seeds and talk shop about horsepower and engines, and where they bought spare parts. They talk about a time, long ago, when cars lasted longer and seemed to be made with soul. –USA Today


The phrase to talk shop means to talk about one’s work or job.