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Related to middling: fair to middling, ebbing

Don't change horses in the middle of the stream.

1. Proverb Do not try to choose or back a different political figure for an election after the decision has already been made or the position filled. Many people are dissatisfied with the senator's performance but will likely carry his party's support through to the next election—don't change horses in the middle of the stream, as the saying goes.
2. Proverb By extension, do not make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. I'm really not confident in the strength of my essay, but I guess I just have to see this one through at this point. Like they say, don't change horses in the middle of the stream.
See also: change, horse, middle, of

Don't change horses in the middle of the river.

1. Proverb Do not try to choose or back a different political figure for an election after the decision has already been made or the position filled. Many people are dissatisfied with the senator's performance but will likely carry his party's support through to the next election—don't change horses in the middle of the river, as the saying goes.
2. Proverb By extension, do not make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. I'm really not confident in the strength of my essay, but I guess I just have to see this one through at this point. Like they say, don't change horses in the middle of the river.
See also: change, horse, middle, of

Don't swap horses in the middle of the stream.

1. Proverb Do not try to choose or back a different political figure for an election after the decision has already been made or the position filled. Many people are dissatisfied with the senator's performance but will likely carry his party's support through to the next election—don't swap horses in the middle of the stream, as the saying goes.
2. Proverb By extension, do not make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. I'm really not confident in the strength of my essay, but I guess I just have to see this one through at this point. Like they say, don't swap horses in the middle of the stream.
See also: horse, middle, of, swap

Don't swap horses in the middle of the river.

1. Proverb Do not try to choose or back a different political figure for an election after the decision has already been made or the position filled. Many people are dissatisfied with the senator's performance but will likely carry his party's support through to the next election—don't swap horses in the middle of the river, as the saying goes.
2. Proverb By extension, do not make major changes to a situation or course of action that is already underway. I'm really not confident in the strength of my essay, but I guess I just have to see this one through at this point. Like they say, don't swap horses in the middle of the river.
See also: horse, middle, of, swap

You don't change horses in the middle of the race.

It is dangerous or inadvisable to choose or back a different political figure for an election after the decision has already been made or the position filled. Many people are dissatisfied with the senator's performance but will likely carry his party's support through to the next election—you don't change horses in the middle of the race, as the saying goes.
See also: change, horse, middle, of

play both sides against the middle

To manipulate two opposing sides of an argument, conflict, competition, etc., against one another for one's own benefit or advantage. My father and my uncle are engaged in a bitter business rivalry. If I can play both sides against the middle, I might be able to secure some sizeable investments for my own company. Janet really dislikes Mary and wants to date her boyfriend, Mike, so she's been playing both sides against the middle to get them to break up.
See also: both, middle, play, side

middle-aged spread

Weight that accumulates around a person's midsection due to a decrease in metabolism caused by aging. Barry suddenly started dieting and exercising to prevent the middle-aged spread.
See also: spread

be caught in the middle

To be in a position between two or more sides in an argument or contentious issue, often leaving one without a clear course of action to satisfy either side. When my friends broke up, I was often caught in the middle, as each one complained to me about the other.
See also: caught, middle

change horses in midstream

 and change horses in the middle of the stream
Fig. to make major changes in an activity that has already begun; to choose someone or something else after it is too late. (Alludes to someone trying to move from one horse to another while crossing a stream.) I'm already baking a cherry pie. I can't bake an apple pie. It's too late to change horses in the middle of the stream. The house is half-built. It's too late to hire a different architect. You can't change horses in midstream. Jane: I've written a rough draft of my research paper, but the topic doesn't interest me as much as I thought. Maybe I ought to pick a different one. Jill: Don't change horses in midstream.
See also: change, horse, midstream

change horses in the middle of the stream Go to

previous.
See also: change, horse, middle, of, stream

*in the middle of nowhere

Fig. in a very remote place. (*Typically: be ~; drive [into] ~; put someone or something [into] ~.) To get to my house, you have to drive into the middle of nowhere. We found a nice place to eat, but it's out in the middle of nowhere.
See also: middle, nowhere, of

middle ground

a position of compromise; a state of thinking where two opposing parties can discuss an issue politely and productively. If we could only reach a middle ground on this issue, things wouldn't be so confrontational.
See also: ground, middle

middle of nowhere

a very isolated place. I don't want to stay out here in the middle of nowhere. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere for an hour with a flat tire.
See also: middle, nowhere, of

smack (dab) in the middle

exactly in the middle. I came in smack dab in the middle of the play. I want a piece that is not too big and not too smalljust smack in the middle.
See also: middle, smack

caught in the middle

to experience the influence of opposing groups in a disagreement caught in the crossfire My mother and sister are always yelling at each other, and I find myself caught in the middle.
Related vocabulary: in the cross hairs
See also: caught, middle

in the middle of something/doing something

busy doing something We were in the middle of supper when we heard the news. When she called, I was in the middle of giving the baby a bath.
See also: middle, of

(out) in the middle of nowhere

in a place that is far away from where most people live We spent a wonderful year living on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
See also: middle, nowhere, of

be caught in the middle

to be in a difficult situation because two people who you know well are arguing and both of them criticize each other to you My mother and sister are always arguing and I find myself caught in the middle.
See also: caught, middle

play both ends against the middle

  (American informal)
to try to make two people or groups compete with each other in order to get an advantage for yourself He's playing both ends against the middle - telling two prospective employers that the other has offered a higher salary.
See also: both, end, middle, play

(out) in the middle of nowhere

in a place that is far away from where most people live I'll need a map to find that pub - it's out in the middle of nowhere, apparently.
See also: middle, nowhere, of

the middle ground

something that two people or groups that are arguing can agree about The lawyer will then attempt to find the middle ground between the two parties.
See be caught in the middle
See also: ground, middle

a middle-aged spread

the fat area around the waist that a lot of people get as they grow older A dark blue shirt worn outside his trousers concealed the middle-aged spread.
See also: spread

middle-of-the-road

 
1. not extreme politically Neither party is exactly radical - they're both fairly middle-of-the-road.
2. entertainment that is middle-of-the-road is ordinary and acceptable to most people but it is not exciting or special in any way Most of the music they play is pretty middle-of-the-road.

piggy in the middle

  (British & Australian)
someone who is between two people or groups who are arguing but who does not want to agree with either of them It's awful. They argue the whole time and I always end up as piggy in the middle.
See also: middle

caught in the middle

Also, caught in the cross-fire. Between two opposing sides, as in The writers are often caught in the middle between editor and publisher, who are political opponents , or When parents don't get along, the children are often caught in the cross-fire. Long used in military situations, these terms began to be used figuratively in the second half of the 1800s.
See also: caught, middle

in the middle of

1. Also, in the midst of. During, while engaged in, as in He stopped him in the middle of his speech, or I'm in the midst of calculating my income tax. The first expression dates from about 1600, the second from about 1500. Also see in the midst.
2. in the middle of nowhere. In a very remote location, as in We found a great little hotel, out in the middle of nowhere. [Early 1900s]
See also: middle, of

play both ends against the middle

Also, play one off against another. Gain an advantage by setting opposing parties or interests against one another. For example, Some children are adept at manipulating their parents, playing both ends against the middle , or Aunt Jane had a nasty habit of playing the twins off against each other. The first term may come from a cheating practice used in faro. Minute strips were cut off certain cards, so that one could tell where they lay in the deck. When the cards were cut convex or concave, it was called "both ends against the middle." The figurative use of the term dates from the first half of the 1900s. The variant originated in the mid-1600s as play against one another, with off being added in the late 1800s.
See also: both, end, middle, play

middle of nowhere

n. an isolated place. I don’t want to stay out here in the middle of nowhere.
See also: middle, nowhere, of

smack (dab) in the middle

mod. exactly in the middle. (see also slap-dab.) Not too big and not too small. Just smack in the middle.
See also: dab, middle, smack

smack in the middle

verb
See also: middle, smack

in the middle

1. In a difficult situation: caught in the middle of a controversy.
2. Engaged in doing something: I'm in the middle of making dinner.
See also: middle

play both ends against the middle

To set opposing parties or interests against one another so as to advance one's own goals.
See also: both, end, middle, play
References in periodicals archive ?
The middling sort were given some advice that was not addressed to the elite or the lower sort.
The most elaborate counsels are found in works that addressed the middling sort; and most of the elaborations asked the middling sort to be a little more gentle with inferiors than had been required in the past.
The new advice to the middling sort tended to be interspersed with more traditional advice regarding inferiors, advice that reminds us of the limits of revolutionary-era levelling.
The new sensibility is betrayed in some remarks to the middling sort regarding the management of time in encounters with inferiors.
Both the elite and the middling sort were encouraged to show inferiors an affable and benevolent demeanor.
But most advice about talk with inferiors referred to the master-servant relationship; and here, while both the middling and the upper sort were advised to avoid speaking familiarly with or confiding in their servants (or even speaking too unguardedly with others in their servants' presence, as the latter might spread what they learned), middle-class readers were also advised "at the same time do not be backward in occasionally speaking, with kindness and affability, respecting their wants" or talking, with affectionate interest, of their affairs.
Both the middling sort and the elite were advised not to command servants too loudly, too hastily, or with haughtiness; but softly, mildly, courteously.
But middling authors did not labor to perpetuate the old expectations of class deference.
The middling folk who were elevating the virtue of self-madeness were finally capitalizing on the fact that economic change had long been eroding the social-material foundations of that old order.
69) If we miss this early affinity of middling folks for Chesterfieldian advice, we will miss the rising of the middle class.
Other examples of Founders of middling backgrounds keenly interested in manners and observing others as a way of acquiring them are William Patterson and Benjamin Rush.
See his "From Middling Sort to Middle Class in Late Eighteenth-and Early Nineteenth-Century England," in Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe Since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification, ed.
Richard Bushman recognizes that the great dividing line dropped to include the middling sort before the mid-nineteenth century, but does not think it began to do so until the very end of the eighteenth century, The Refinement of America (New York, 1992), pp.
Richard Bushman, unlike Wood, understands the emulative nature of the middling pursuit of refinement, but he, too, argues for a gentry/commons gulf till the end of the century.