Shoot oneself in the foot

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To shoot oneself in the foot is an idiom that stems from a practice common during World War I. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase shoot oneself in the foot, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To shoot oneself in the foot means to sabotage oneself, to make a silly mistake that harms yourself in some fashion. The phrase comes from a phenomenon that became fairly common during the First World War. Soldiers sometimes shot themselves in the foot in order to be sent to the hospital tent rather than being sent into battle. Obviously, these soldiers claimed to have shot themselves accidentally. It is not unheard of for someone handling a gun to accidentally shoot themselves in the foot, and the idiom took on the meaning of self-sabotage with a silly mistake sometime in the 1950s. Related phrases are shot oneself in the foot, shooting oneself in the foot.


So, why is Pallister stumbling haplessly down a perilous path where a “made in Manitoba” carbon tax policy is a post-Trump “shoot yourself in the foot” policy? (The Winnipeg Sun)

It is important not to shoot yourself in the foot or be caught in a situation where your usefulness is underutilised as a result of the above noted perceptions.  (The Nation News)

“To close this off now is to shoot yourself in the foot,” Puente said in an interview at the cavernous convention center in the state capital of San Luis Potosi, just north of the abandoned Ford plant in Villa de Reyes. (The Los Angeles Times)