step on toes
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
step on someone's toesand tread on someone's toes
1. Lit. to step down onto someone's toes, causing pain. Please don't step on my toes as you walk by.
2. Fig. to offend or insult someone, as if causing physical pain. You're sure I won't be stepping on her toes if I talk directly to her supervisor? I didn't mean to tread on your toes.
step on (somebody's) toes
to upset someone, esp. by getting involved in something that is their responsibility It's hard to make changes in the department without stepping on a lot of toes. He's willing to step on toes to get things done.
step/tread on somebody's toes
to say or do something which upsets someone, especially by becoming involved in something which is their responsibility I'd like to make some changes to the working procedures, but I don't want to tread on anyone's toes.See keep on toes