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Land on one’s feet

  • Land on one’s feet is an idiom that seems to have come into common use in the 1800s, though the idea may have been in use much longer. An idiom is a 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 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 is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, 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, as 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. We will examine the meaning of the idiom land on one’s feet, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    To land on one’s feet means to come through a difficult situation or a challenge and prosper. Someone who has landed on his feet is none the worse for wear; he has endured difficult times and come out uninjured. The idiom land on one’s feet is often used to describe someone who has endured a financial difficulty and ended up still prosperous. The image invoked by the expression land on one’s feet is the cat, which is reputed to be able to land on its feet no matter how it falls. This is not true, of course, but it is a well-known bit of folklore. Related phrases are lands on one’s feet, landed on one’s feet, landing on one’s feet.

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    Examples

    But I do feel optimistic I will land on my feet and am on the lookout for the right opportunity in the PR or media relations world. (The Buffalo News)

    “I think he’s going to land on his feet and he’s going to be a successful person because of those characteristics that he brought to our program every day,” Smith said of Flynn. (The Columbia Daily Tribune)

    ‘I thought I’d landed on my feet,’ she says, sitting in her spotless living room with her cockerpoo Hetty beside her (‘She’s only allowed on the sofa because she’s just been groomed’). (The Daily Mail)

    Less than two weeks after leaving his position as coach and general manager of the Coquitlam Express, Jason Fortier has landed on his feet. (The Tri-City News)


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