Have you ever heard the expression “put your foot in it”?
It is a pretty common phrase that you will hear in the UK from time to time so it is a good idea to learn what it means. In this episode, you will learn what it means, how it is used and even where it comes from.


What does “put your foot in it” mean?

This is an idiom that we can use when you say or do something that unintentionally upsets, embarrasses, humiliates or angers someone. You don’t intend to cause harm but that is the result of your actions. Usually you don’t realise it was a problem until after the offence has happened.

How is “put your foot in it” used?

Here are some examples:

  • He put his foot in it when he congratulated his co-worker on being pregnant but it turned out she just got fat

  • Steve put his foot in it today. He was moaning about not getting a bonus at work and his boss was stood behind him.

  • John and Sarah had a massive row in front of everyone the other day because apparently John put his foot in it when he called his wife by his ex-wife’s name.

Where does “put your foot in it” come from?

It is not 100% clear but some people believe it is slang from the early 1800’s and is related to standing in something unpleasant. 

Other people believe it is related to the foot and mouth disease and implies that someone said or did something that is as bad as this disease.


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