Often in a professional setting, I want to say "X has really been kicking ass (and taking names!)"

Sometimes I say "kicking butt" but it doesn't have quite the same emphasis. I don't want to say ass as I don't think its polite in some contexts. What is a equivalent expression that is polite yet just as encouraging?

In accordance with the comment suggestions, I will clarify that this question is asking about "kicking ass" in the form of doing really well, not necessarily beating someone else in a competitive sense - to trounce, cream, take them to the cleaners, etc. If Sarah is kicking ass at real estate sales, she's not necessarily beating anyone else, just doing really well.

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  • Kicking butt is just as impolite as kicking ass. – ab2 Mar 16 '18 at 19:10
  • giving me a hard time is one colloquial alternative.... – Lambie Mar 16 '18 at 19:12
  • depending on the context you could use "knocking them down" or "knocking it out of the park" – Nate W Mar 16 '18 at 19:12
  • maybe kicking arse? – lbf Mar 16 '18 at 19:52
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    And, as has been pointed out, there are two fairly different meanings of "kicking ass" (with or without "taking names" added). You need to clearly specify which meaning you wish to imply. – Hot Licks Mar 19 '18 at 12:38


For example: "Sarah has been a real rockstar! "

The term has become shorthand for a virtuosity so exalted it borders on genius — only for some repetitive, detail-oriented task. It flatters the person being spoken about by shrouding him in mystique while also conferring a Svengali-like power on the person speaking.

Source - https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/magazine/how-rock-star-became-a-business-buzzword.html

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  • You should cite the "source", and if possible add the definition of the idiom, "kick ass and take names" which I half-guessed rightly. The site is populated by BrEng and non-native speakers as well! – Mari-Lou A Mar 19 '18 at 12:35

Taking Names

You already said it in your original post - you could say "Sarah's really been taking names!", and infer the impolite part for the listener.

Another possibility as someone mentioned in the comments is "knocking it out of the park", or perhaps "racking them up"

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