step on (someone's) toes

(redirected from stepped on somebody's 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.
See also: on, step, toe

step on someone's toes

 and 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.
See also: on, step, toe
References in classic literature ?
He lived in an out-of-the-way nook of the townlet, and in trying to find her course thither her eyes fell upon Mr d'Urberville standing at a street corner.
The river - with the sunlight flashing from its dancing wavelets, gilding gold the grey-green beech- trunks, glinting through the dark, cool wood paths, chasing shadows o'er the shallows, flinging diamonds from the mill-wheels, throwing kisses to the lilies, wantoning with the weirs' white waters, silvering moss-grown walls and bridges, brightening every tiny townlet, making sweet each lane and meadow, lying tangled in the rushes, peeping, laughing, from each inlet, gleaming gay on many a far sail, making soft the air with glory - is a golden fairy stream.
In front, amid radiating lines of poplars, lay the riverside townlet of Cardillac--gray walls, white houses, and a feather of blue smoke.
We seemed to have stepped on somebody's toes by bringing the event into the area.
We seemed to have stepped on somebody's toes with earlier event WILLIAM ANDERSONORGANISER YESTERDAY
I must have stepped on somebody's toes, but I never knew who or why or exactly what happened,'' he said.