asleep at the switch


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Related to asleep at the switch: out of whack, Sleep On It, sleeping at the switch

asleep at the switch

Failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; not doing or paying attention to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch.
See also: asleep, switch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*asleep at the switch

Fig. not attending to one's job; failing to do one's duty at the proper time. (Alludes to a technician or engineer on a train sleeping instead of turning whatever switches are required. *Typically: be ~; fall ~.) The security guard fell asleep at the switch and a robber broke in. If I hadn't been asleep at the switch, I'd have noticed the car being stolen.
See also: asleep, switch
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

asleep at the switch

Also, asleep at the wheel. Inattentive, not doing one's job, as in At the critical moment the watchman was asleep at the switch and only called the fire department when it was too late . This term came from 19th-century American railroading, when it was the trainman's duty to switch cars from one track to another by means of manually operated levers. Should he fail to do so, trains could collide. It was later transferred to any lack of alertness. The wheel in the variant is a steering wheel; similarly disastrous results are implied.
See also: asleep, switch
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

asleep at the switch

mod. inattentive to duty. (Not literal.) Donald was asleep at the switch when the call came in.
See also: asleep, switch
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

asleep at the switch

Daydreaming or forgetting to do one’s job; a lapse in alertness. The term comes from American railroading, when trainmen were required to switch a train from one track to another. If they failed to do so at the right time, trains could collide.
See also: asleep, switch
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
One seasoned observer remarked that the highly paid lawyers and lobbyists who routinely inform Senators and Hill staff of major problems with such a bill were caught "asleep at the switch." There was ample opportunity for Washington's lobbying community to work on the legislation, since it was reported out of McCain's committee in June.
Were many of the recent accounting scandals set in motion because audit committees were asleep at the switch? "Everyone has recognized for some time that audit committees are not as effective as they should be," says Philip Livingston, CPA, president and CEO of Financial Executives International (FEI) in Morristown, New Jersey.
Mr Ludwig, a former Comptroller of the US Currency, said that while Rusnak was running up huge losses in bad bets on currency movements and covering up by entering fake options deals on the books, Mr Cronin was 'asleep at the switch'.
On the fate of Cronin he added: "He just didn't do his job - he clearly was asleep at the switch."
"We've sort of been asleep at the switch in California," says Tom Lieser, a senior economist with UCLA's California Forecast, in the unflappable tone of someone who's seen the Golden State clip and rise up again many times in his long career.
That way, he said, he could go back to his company and make sure that they weren't "asleep at the switch" when NACDS got a deal.
"It's as if federal regulators have been asleep at the switch. They've been allowing the industry to set the terms of regulation, rather than taking aggressive action to put known and available safeguards into place."
Recent studies suggest that juvenile-onset diabetes, an autoimmune disease, may take root because a baby's immune system is asleep at the switch early on.
Matthew Martinez (D-Calif.) claimed "voters were not asleep at the switch, but they were hoodwinked.
"Bernie saw a Democratic machine in Burlington that was asleep at the switch. He knocked on a lot of doors and worked his head off and he just hit it right."
"I believe the major news media have been asleep at the switch on these things," SPJ President Paul McMasters said in an interview.
I don't know how to help people who are asleep at the switch." [5]
"A bipartisan consensus on privacy rights is emerging, and now the states are taking collective action where Congress has largely been asleep at the switch," Anthony Romero, the ACLU executive director, (https://www.aclu.org/map/takectrl-nationwide-privacy-push) said in a statement Wednesday.
City officials fell asleep at the switch and allowed the Asian longhorned beetle to obtain squatter's rights in my neighborhood.
Sanders argued the Senate should not "say to somebody who was asleep at the switch in terms of regulating our financial institutions: Congratulations, you failed, there s a major recession, you re getting reappointed!