Fall into one’s lap and land in one’s lap are two versions of a popular idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom fall into one’s lap or land in one’s lap, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.
Fall into one’s lap and land in one’s lap describe something that is good but unexpected; it is a windfall or an unanticipated piece of good luck. The expressions fall into one’s lap and land in one’s lap have an uncertain origin, though they both rose significantly in popularity during the twentieth century. Fall into one’s lap seems to be the older of the two iterations and by far, the most popular. Related phrases are falls into one’s lap, fell into one’s lap, fallen into one’s lap, falling into ones lap, lands in one’s lap, landed in one’s lap, landing in one’s lap. The word lap, in this case, means the space created over one’s thighs when seated; it is derived from the Old English word, læppa, which means the front flap of a garment.
Magnussen had learned that in Hollywood, rarely do opportunities fall into one’s lap. (Hollywood Reporter)
Then, out of nowhere, a day of alone time dropped into my lap. (The Guardian)
“Due to COVID-19, I came back here, and this space kind of landed in my lap when I decided I wanted to open a shop,” Hush said. (Sandusky Register)
A big job opportunity lands in your lap today, such as a contract to work with a government agency or major corporation. (Hindustan Times)