oar


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stick (one's) oar in(to) (something)

1. To offer or express one's opinion (on some matter), even though it was not asked for or desired. Primarily heard in UK. I don't know why you feel you have to stick your oar into every dispute Terry and I are having. The members of the board are perfectly capable of arriving at a decision of their own accord, so I'll thank you for not sticking your oar in, Tom.
2. To involve oneself in an intrusive or nosy manner into something that is not one's business or responsibility. Primarily heard in UK. I wish my neighbors would quit sticking their oars in and just leave us alone! Liam, don't stick your oar into your brother's affairs—he can manage well enough on his own.
See also: oar, stick

rest on (one's) oars

To relax after achieving a goal or doing a physically strenuous activity (such as rowing, as the phrase suggests). I know you're happy to have won the election, but you can't just rest on your oars—you need to start planning your first act as class president now. After painting all morning, I had to rest on my oars for a bit before I moved on to the next room.
See also: oar, on, rest

put (one's) oar in(to) (something)

1. To offer or express one's opinion (on some matter), even though it was not asked for or desired. Primarily heard in UK. I don't know why you feel you have to put your oar into every dispute Terry and I are having. The members of the board are perfectly capable of arriving at a decision of their own accord, so I'll thank you for not putting your oar in, Tom.
2. To involve oneself in an intrusive or nosy manner into something that is not one's business or responsibility. I wish my neighbors would quit putting their oars in and just leave us alone! Liam, don't put your oar into your brother's affairs—he can manage well enough on his own.
See also: oar, put

have just one oar in the water

Rur. to not be thinking clearly. Tom has some crazy plan for opening his own restaurant. If you ask me, he has just one oar in the water. She has just one oar in the water if she thinks Bill is going to pay any attention to her.
See also: have, just, oar, one, water

put one's oar in

 and stick one's oar in; put one's two cents(' worth) in
Fig. to add one's comments or opinion, even if unwanted or unasked for. You don't need to put your oar in. I don't need your advice. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have stuck my oar in when you were arguing with your wife. Do you mind if I put in my oar? I have a suggestion. There is no need for you to put in your two cents' worth.
See also: oar, put

put one's oar in

Interfere with something or insert one's opinion, as in I'll thank you not to put your oar in when we're discussing a private matter. This term, referring to helping to row a boat, was first recorded in Charles Coffey's 1731 play The Devil to Pay: "I will govern my own house without your putting in an oar."
See also: oar, put

put your oar in (something)

or

stick your oar in (something)

mainly BRITISH, INFORMAL
If someone puts their oar in or sticks their oar in, they interfere in a situation or an argument. He let them say what they wanted to say without feeling the need to put his oar in; he is obviously a good listener. He should try to sort out his own affairs instead of sticking his oar in other people's business. Note: This comes from an old expression `to have an oar in every man's boat', meaning to interfere in other people's business.
See also: oar, put

rest on your oars

or

lean on your oars

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If a person or organization rests on their oars or leans on their oars, they do not work hard enough to make sure that they remain successful or get things done. The company has been resting on its oars and its competitors are catching up. Firms often take their time over making necessary changes, leaning on their oars while another study is done and another year goes by.
See also: oar, on, rest
References in classic literature ?
said Dan, pointing to a wild tangle of spare oars and dory-roding, all matted together by the hand of inexperience.
So we lay on our oars and waited for the tide to do its work.
All that I could do was to wait till the tide was at the highest, keeping the raft with my oar like an anchor, to hold the side of it fast to the shore, near a flat piece of ground, which I expected the water would flow over; and so it did.
And thus, having found two or three broken oars belonging to the boat - and, besides the tools which were in the chest, I found two saws, an axe, and a hammer; with this cargo I put to sea.
So by dint of punching and kicking I started one of my men into a state of somnambulism, and giving him an oar, took another and pulled towards the lights of the steamer.
One of the boats dropped in the water, and walked towards us upon the sea with her long oars.
The whole thing had been so rapid, so dreamlike, that the threads of ordinary association were broken; she sank down on the seat clutching the oar mechanically, and for a long while had no distinct conception of her position.
She seized an oar and began to paddle the boat forward with the energy of wakening hope; the dawning seemed to advance more swiftly, now she was in action; and she could soon see the poor dumb beasts crowding piteously on a mound where they had taken refuge.
However, I made signs to them by nodding and frowning that they were to hush their crying, and told them to get all the sheep on board at once and put out to sea; so they went aboard, took their places, and smote the grey sea with their oars.
And ashore, a white man alone, attended by an Irish terrier puppy with a heart flooded with love and by a black king resentfully respectful of the dynamite of the white man, Van Horn went, swashbuckling barelegged through a stronghold of three thousand souls, while his white mate, addicted to schnapps, held the deck of the tiny craft at anchor off shore, and while his black boat's crew, oars in hands, held the whaleboat stern-on to the beach to receive the expected flying leap of the man they served but did not love, and whose head they would eagerly take any time were it not for fear of him.
At the same time the Genoese sailors thrust with their oars against the side of the cog, and a rapidly widening rift appeared between the two vessels.
Terlake fell short, crashed in among the oars, and bounded off into the sea.
There was something very queer about the water, she thought, as every now and then the oars got fast in it, and would hardly come out again.
This offended Alice a little, so there was no more conversation for a minute or two, while the boat glided gently on, sometimes among beds of weeds (which made the oars stick fast in the water, worse then ever), and sometimes under trees, but always with the same tall river-banks frowning over their heads.
She dropped him into the bottom, took her seat, and unshipped the oars.