Archive for the ‘Blends’ Category

Short shot #14: wet toes

September 30, 2009

A query from David Fenton about examples like the following:

… I spotted a job on the local job board for a “temporary web siter”. Details were few, but the position (10-15 flexible hours) sounded like a good way to get my toes wet and build my résumé a little bit. (link)

This has an idiom get one’s toes wet, which was new to Fenton, though it struck him as conveying a lesser commitment than get one’s feet wet for ‘take initial steps in something’ (also ‘experience something for the first time’). You can google up plenty of other idiomatic examples (plus, of course, plenty of literal examples).

Fenton wondered how to classify the thing, though he was pretty sure it wasn’t an eggcorn. It could be an extension of the pattern in the familiar idiom; many idioms have variants (throw someone to the lions/wolves/…, for instance). Or it could be a blend of the familiar idiom get one’s feet wet with another watery idiom of similar meaning, namely dip one’s toe(s) in the water.


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