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Work in the black or on the black?


An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not readily apparent based on the individual words in the expression. This forum is dedicated to discussing idioms and other sayings.

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Old March 07, 2018, 03:24 AM
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trabajar en negro in Spanish means that you are paid under the counter, and for the government you're unemployed. Without having a job on the side. You are in the unemployment list. What's the term in English? To work off the books?
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Old March 07, 2018, 08:20 AM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Yes, 'to work off the books' or 'to get paid under the table' is a good match for the Spanish 'trabajar en negro'.
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Old March 09, 2018, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
I don't know if it's a British expression and, if it is, how it's used.
I searched for "work" within 4 words of "black" in the British National Corpus: most of the hits were talking about black workers, some were talking about black and white works of art, or the work of researchers on black holes. There were only three which are remotely relevant to this discussion: "work the black market" (borderline relevant), and "work in the black economy" (twice, and one of them had scare quotes around 'black economy').

The phrase which I think would be most applicable would be to "work cash-in-hand": i.e. being paid without receipts or bank records.
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Old March 09, 2018, 08:26 AM
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Thank you all, you do a big job in this forum, I m so glad there are people so efficient and altruist like you.
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