fall into line

fall into line

conform with others or with accepted behaviour

This phrase originally referred to soldiers arranging themselves into military formation.


fall apart at the seams

(of a thing) fall to pieces

(of a person) have an emotional breakdown

Collapse – informal

Seams are the lines along which pieces of fabric or the planks of a boat are joined, perceived as the points most likely to be damaged or weakened.

fall between two stools

fail to be or to take one of two satisfactory alternatives

This phrase comes from the proverb between two stools one falls to the ground - first referred to in English by the medieval writer John Gower in Confessio Amantis (c.1390).

fall from grace

fall into a state of sin

fall from favour

1998 - Martin Booth - The Industry of Souls – He was an officer in the local militia before he arrested a young official for corruption and fell from grace.

fall off the back of a lorry

(of goods) be acquired in illegal or unspecified circumstances

The traditional bogus excuse given to the police by someone caught in possession of stolen goods was that the items in question had fallen off the back of a lorry.

1991 - Time Out - People buy so much stolen stuff that you can buy a video in Dixons and take it round the corner to a pub, say it fell off the back of a lorry and get 50 quid more than it cost you.

fall on deaf ears

(of a statement or request) be ignored by others

1990 - Ellen Kuzwayo - Sit Down and Listen – All efforts by her husband to dissuade her from wishing to leave fell on deaf ears.

fall on your feet = land on your feet

achieve a fortunate outcome to a difficult situation

This expression comes from cats’ supposed ability always to land on their feet, even if they fall or jump from a very high point.

1996 - Sunday Post - Unlike most people in Hollywood who starved to get there, I just fell on my feet.

fall on stony ground

(of words or a suggestion) be ignored or badly received

The reference here is to the parable of the sower recounted in both St Mark's and St. Matthew's Gospels in which some of the seed scattered by the sower fell on stony places where it withered away.

fall over backwards

make every effort, especially to be fair or helpful - informal

fall prey to

be hunted and killed by

be vulnerable to or overcome by

fall short of

(of a missile) fail to reach its target

be deficient or inadequate

fail to reach a required goal

take the fall

receive blame or punishment, typically in the place of another person - North American informal

In late 19th-century criminals' slang fall could mean an arrest and this was later extended to mean a term of imprisonment.

From this the US term fall guy meaning a scapegoat developed in the early 20th century.

fall into line :

fall into line To HOME PAGE

Idioms Index – Previous Page