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

*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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Many Catholics have been asleep at the switch, not interested, too preoccupied by other things," he said.
Indeed, the financial regulators were asleep at the switch, oblivious to the dangers of a financial system that had developed huge, less-than-obvious, off-balance-sheet obligations that turned out to be a ticking time bomb.
Obviously someone was asleep at the switch," said oil company executive Rip Usoff.
Or are we asleep at the switch while the biggest tourist story of our time passes us by?
Moreover, there's not a damn coonskin cap to be found, which, given that every kid in America wanted one in the 1960s, indicates the marketing/merchandising folks fell asleep at the switch.
Other problems came seemingly out of left field, but some have made a plausible case for the profession's regulators being asleep at the switch while a crisis was approaching (much as many corporate boards are said to have been during the last 10 years).
It is becoming increasingly evident that Chevron's Board is asleep at the switch," said Kevin Koenig, who is on the Amazon Watch staff in Ecuador.
Americans were snookered into deals with zero down and balloon payments and the regulators fell asleep at the switch," Perry said during a speech to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce early Wednesday.
But I can't help but think how the de-treeing of my street is such a microcosm of the times - the subprime mess, the banking scandal, all involving gatekeepers falling asleep at the switch, allowing some insidious parasite to eat away at the foundations of our lives.
Nahai charged DWP with being asleep at the switch and said that even with the unprecedented high temperatures, DWP was caught off guard and failed to adequately communicate the situation to customers.
It's one thing for a White House to be asleep at the switch when nominating the third in command at the U.
And for every one of them, there are a dozen smaller public firms with shareholders reeling because of boards that were asleep at the switch.
Every team is top shelf and you can't be asleep at the switch, or you will be gone quickly.
Two in a row and it begins to seem like someone's asleep at the switch.
Fortunately, Eugene theater companies are not asleep at the switch, and we spring-feverish stuck-in-towns have five good shows to choose from.