fall between two stools

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fall between two stools

To be caught between two things and thus unable to adequately do or accommodate both. Primarily heard in UK. I was excited to start taking night classes after work, but now, without enough time to devote either to school or to my job, I feel like I'm falling between two stools.
See also: between, fall, stool, two
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fall between two stools

Fig. to come somewhere between two possibilities and so fail to meet the requirements of either. The material is not suitable for an academic book or for a popular one. It falls between two stools. He tries to be both teacher and friend, but falls between two stools.
See also: between, fall, stool, two
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

fall between two stools

or

be caught between two stools

mainly BRITISH
If someone or something falls between two stools or is caught between two stools, they are in an unsatisfactory situation because they do not belong to either of two groups, or because they are trying to do two different things at once and are failing at both. Young people on waiting lists for youth training fall between two stools. They can't get unemployment benefit, nor can they get the allowance for the scheme they're waiting to get on. Devo's problem as a band has always been that they are caught between the two stools of art and pop.
See also: between, fall, stool, two
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

fall between two stools

fail to be or to take one of two satisfactory alternatives. British
This phrase comes from the proverb between two stools one falls to the ground , first referred to in English by the medieval writer John Gower in Confessio Amantis ( c .1390 ).
See also: between, fall, stool, two
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

fall between two ˈstools

(British English) not be successful, acceptable, etc. because it is neither one thing nor another: The book falls between two stools. It’s neither a love story nor a crime story.
See also: between, fall, stool, two
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

fall between (the) two stools

To fail because of an inability to reconcile or choose between two courses of action.
See also: between, fall, stool, two
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Said to combine the mobility of a smartphone with the speed of a laptop, the iPad falls between two stools - it's neither one nor the other.
The trouble with Oaks day is that, like a drunk trying to move along the bar towards the toilets, it often falls between two stools. It has a couple of excellent Group 1s, but itOs the day before the Derby.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the Garden is that, unlike the Eden Project in Cornwall, it falls between two stools. While partly seen as a tourist destination, it was originally established as a Welsh version of Kew Gardens.
``The White Paper falls between two stools. On the one hand those supporters of regional government feel it will not go far enough, while those opposed think that it goes too far,'' the Knowsley MP said.
As it is, The Trench is so worthy and desperate to do right by its heroes (the real survivors) that it falls between two stools. Half the time the 24 volunteers (from Hull) are "role-playing", half the time they are "themselves", elaborating on the effects of the conditions.
He agrees with the view that it falls between two stools, being too Gothic for fans of the modern, and too modern for many people.
So it's not Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra's fault that it falls between two stools.
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said of the winner: "He's got the speed for six furlongs and a mile is really his limit, so he falls between two stools. Seven furlongs is his best trip, but the important point is that he goes well when he's fresh."
Caroline Sanger-Davies, the Eisteddfod's new marketing director, said, ``The Eisteddfod falls between two stools. There are English people who feel it's too Welsh and some Welsh people who feel it's not Welsh enough.
Ultimately though, Randall and Hopkirk falls between two stools - not funny enough to be a comedy and no thrills to make it a thriller.