fall off the back of a
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.
RELATED IDIOMS :
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 into line
conform with others or with accepted behaviour
This phrase originally referred to soldiers arranging themselves into military formation.
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.
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