Bend Over Backwards (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Bend Over Backwards"?

The term "bend over backwards" means to try hard (to the extent of doing whatever it takes to succeed).
To Bend Over Backwards (Origin)
This term usually relates to helping someone. e.g., "He will bend over backwards to help you." It originates from gymnastics and has been used across many cultures for over 1,000 years. It is a metaphor for suffering a severe inconvenience in order to succeed. (For most people, bending over backwards would be quite some inconvenience.)

Here are some examples of "bend over backwards" in sentences:
  • Your mother and I will bend over backwards to help you.
  • "I don't make people bend over backwards, and I don't like that in people. I am definitely no diva." (Singer Dolly Parton)
  • Businesses are bending over backwards to please customers.

Previous and Next Sayings

Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms

Ready for the Test?

More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms

Help Us Improve Grammar Monster

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?

Find Us Quicker!

  • When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.
Next lesson >

See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

Page URL