step on (someone's) toes(redirected from step on their toes)
step on (someone's) toes
To insult, offend, or upset someone, especially by getting involved in something that is their responsibility. I want to help John out on his project, but I know it's his baby, so I don't want to step on his toes in any way. Look, you're going to have to step on a few peoples' toes if you want to get ahead in this business.
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 someone's toes
Also, tread on someone's toes. Hurt or offend someone. For example, Be careful what you say about her losing weight; don't step on her toes, or Would I be stepping on someone's toes if I asked to help out with the party arrangements? This metaphoric idiom transfers physical to emotional pain. [Late 1300s]
step on someone's toesor
tread on someone's toes
COMMON If you step on someone's toes or tread on their toes, you offend them by interfering in something that is their responsibility. `Small shopkeepers know who sells what,' Sue explains, `so they don't step on one another's toes.' She's already seeing Dr Simmonds — I can't tread on his toes. Note: You can also say that someone steps on toes or treads on toes. It was no wonder, with such a complicated system, that I was stepping on toes from morning to night.