Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Going Out On A Limb

I mentioned in an early post that I would write about English idiomatic expressions. I started with one on the expression, "barking up the wrong tree." Today, I would like to write about "going out on a limb."

Most idiomatic expressions work by playing with images. In the expression, "going out on a limb," the image we see is someone who is on a tree branch crawling to the end of that branch to get something. If you think about it, it's a very dangerous position for a human being to be in (who would want to crawl on a tree branch?).

Following from what the image means, we see that the expression " going out on a limb" alludes to doing something dangerous. The danger here will not likely be a physical one but more of a social or psychological one. For example, you may describe asking your boss for a pay increase as "going out on a limb." Asking for a raise is rather dangerous, if you think about it. You can get the raise or you can get fired. So, if you feel you're doing something that can be dangerous or stressful, you can say, "I'm going out on a limb."

By the way, work is taking me to Baguio this week. Be back Saturday. Take care!

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