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TALK SHOP means to talk about your job when not at work.

"Mary and Jane stood by the punch bowl, talking shop."

Using this idiom often implies that you talk about business or work matters in circumstances where this is inappropriate e.g. at a social event where such talk is out of place.

"All right, everyone, we're not here to talk shop. Let's have a good time."

If you say that people are talking shop, you mean that they are talking about their work, and this is boring for other people who do not do the same work.

"If you hang around with colleagues all the time you just end up talking shop."

It is often used when your discussion is of a technical, jargon-filled nature.

"At the party I met someone who's in rocket science too and we spent the whole night talking shop and drove everyone else away.

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. 

"Even at a party they have to talk shop!"

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".

A: "What a beautiful day!" B: Yeah, this is great weather we're having. Are you finished with your part of the big project? A: No, I'm not. But let's not talk shop on such a nice day."

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".

"Sitting by their parked cars, they chew sunflower seeds and talk shop about horsepower and engines, and where they bought spare parts." 

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.

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