back the wrong horse




back the wrong horse :


back to square one

back to the starting point, with no progress made

Square one may be a reference to a board game such as Snakes and Ladders or may come from the notional division of a football pitch into eight numbered sections for the purpose of early radio commentaries.



back the wrong horse

Make a wrong or inappropriate choice.



be on someone's back

nag someone – informal



get off someone's back

stop nagging someone – informal



by the back door

using indirect or dishonest means to achieve an objective



get someone's back up

make someone annoyed or angry.



This phrase developed as an allusion to the way a cat arches its back when it is angry or threatened.



get your own back

have your revenge

retaliate - British informal



know something like the back of your hand

be entirely familiar with something.



not in my backyard = nimby

expressing an objection to the sitting of something regarded as undesirable in your own neighborhood, with the implication that it would be acceptable elsewhere.



This expression originated in the USA in derogatory references to anti-nuclear campaigners. In Britain it is particularly associated with reports of the then Environment Secretary Nicholas Ridley's opposition in 1988 to housing developments near his own home. More recently, it has been used in association with the sitting of housing for refugees and asylum seekers. The phrase has given rise to the acronym nimby as a term for someone with these attitudes.



on your back

in bed recovering from an injury or illness



put your back into

approach a task with vigor.



see the back of

be rid of an unwanted person or thing - British informal



someone's back is turned

someone's attention is elsewhere.

1989 - Orson Scott Card - Prentice Alvin – That prentice of yours look strong enough to dig it himself, if he doesn't lazy off and sleep when your back is turned.



take a back seat

take or be given a less important position or role.

Compare with
in the driver's seat .



with your back to the wall = with your back up against the wall

in a desperate situation



put backbone into someone

encourage someone to behave resolutely.

As a metaphor for firmness of character, backbone dates from the mid 19th century.

1998 – Spectator - There is a widespread belief that if only Mrs. Thatcher had still been in No. 10, she would have put backbone into Bush and got rid of Saddam.


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