Off on the Wrong Foot (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Off on the Wrong Foot"?

The term "off on the wrong foot" means getting a bad start in a relationship or task.
Off on the Wrong Foot (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • They got off on the wrong foot and have disliked each other ever since.
  • He arrived late to his first meeting and got off on the wrong foot with his new boss.
  • I seem to have got off on the wrong foot. Please sit back down. That was the company's position, not my personal view.
This term is most commonly seen in the phrase "to get off on the wrong foot." It has been in use since the 16th century. It originates from the military, where soldiers are required to march in time to the instructions "left, right, left, right...." If any soldiers were to "get off on the wrong foot," they would be out of sync with the other soldiers from the outset.

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