at sixes and sevens

(redirected from at 6s and 7s)

at sixes and sevens

Frazzled or disorganized. The phrase likely originated from a dice game in which rolling a six or a seven was unfavorable. After caring for three sick kids all week, I'm totally at sixes and sevens. I'm at sixes and sevens now that the whole schedule has been rearranged.
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

lost in bewilderment; at loose ends. Mrs. Smith is at sixes and sevens since the death of her husband. Bill is always at sixes and sevens when he's home by himself.
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

Confused, disorganized, disorderly, as in We've just moved in, and the office is still at sixes and sevens, or The new college admissions tests were poorly explained, leaving the students at sixes and sevens . This ancient term is thought to come from a game of dice in which throwing a six or seven had a particular significance. The name of the game has been lost, but most likely betting on such a throw was very risky, denoting disorder and confusion. [Late 1300s]
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

mainly BRITISH, INFORMAL
If something or someone is at sixes and sevens, they are disorganized and confused. Of course everything in the office is at sixes and sevens. None of us know what we should be doing. The home side were at sixes and sevens in the first half. Note: Two origins have been suggested for this phrase. The first is from a dice game, and the second is from a dispute that arose between two of the guilds or craft organizations in medieval London about who was to go sixth and who seventh in the annual procession through the city. The dispute was resolved by the guilds taking turns, and this still happens today.
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

in a state of total confusion or disarray.
This phrase originated as gambling slang and may be an alteration or corruption of Old French cinque (five) and sice (six), these being the highest numbers on dice. The idea of risking all your goods on the two highest numbers led to the idea of carelessness and neglect of your possessions and eventually to the development of the phrase's current meaning.
1998 Oldie But if you arrive in the afternoon we may be a bit at sixes and sevens as we're doing a wedding reception.
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

In a state of confusion or disorder.
See also: and, seven, six

at sixes and sevens

In complete disorder. The most likely source of the phrase is an old dice game called hazard, in which to bet on cinque and sice (from the French words for “five” and “six”) was particularly risky business. Anyone who did so was considered careless or confused. English-speaking players misheard or chose to pronounce cinque and sice as “sixes and sevens.”
See also: and, seven, six