Get a word in edgewise and get a word in edgeways

Get a word in edgewise and get a word in edgeways are two versions of the same idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom get a word in edgewise or get a word in edgeways, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Get a word in edgewise or get a word in edgeways means to try to join a conversation where no one pauses to allow one an opportunity to speak. Usually, the situation is one in which one person continues to talk without taking a breath or pause. Often, the person speaking is angry or excited and not does not allow someone else to get a word in edgewise or get a word in edgeways. The expression get a word in edgewise or get a word in edgeways came into use 1800s. The image is of one edging into a crowd through small gaps. The idiom get a word in edgewise is most often used in American English, the expression get a word in edgeways is most often used in British English.

Examples

I know I didn’t let him get a word in edgewise, but it was because I wanted him to feel me. (Variety)

His friends laughed that they could rarely get a word in edgewise when Jack was holding forth. (Martha’s Vineyard Times)

Spluttering with laughter at the joke, Bill couldn’t get a word in edgeways as Johnny mimicked a pet owner’s childish tone used to speak to their furry companions. (Daily Express)

With social distancing measures in place, he added that the family held a private gathering after his funeral “at which no-one could get a word in edgeways. I think we did him proud”. (The Belfast Telegraph)