swing the lead

swing the lead

To feign illness to avoid work. Gerald's boss accused him of swinging the lead, but felt awful when he saw that Gerald was very sick.
See also: lead, swing

swing the lead

malinger; shirk your duty. British informal
This phrase originated in the armed forces and the lead in question is probably a sounding lead, a lump of lead attached to a line and slowly lowered to determine the depth of a stretch of water. The connection between this process and shirking one's duty is not entirely clear.
See also: lead, swing

ˌswing the ˈlead

(old-fashioned, British English, informal) (usually used in the progressive tenses) pretend to be ill/sick when you are not, especially to avoid work: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her — she’s just swinging the lead.The lead (pronounced /led/ ) may refer to a weight at the bottom of a line that sailors used to measure how deep the water was. Swinging the lead was possibly considered an easy job, and so came to mean avoiding hard work.
See also: lead, swing
References in periodicals archive ?
But Santos hit a booming trey followed by his go-ahead layup on transition to swing the lead back to SMB before Robert Bolick brought the upperhand back to NorthPort with a looping bank shot.
County continued to push in attack leading to Jenna Duncan powering over the line to swing the lead County's way.
Sheriff Colin Pettigrew warned he will be jailed if he racks up another domestic abuse conviction or continues to swing the lead.
Dimayuga drilled the huge triple with 1:21 remaining, before Ryan Cruz of Bacolod Tay Tung High School followed up with the go-ahead bucket to swing the lead in favor of Cherifer Dedication, 90-89, with 29 seconds remaining.
From the top of the back swing the lead hip starts this motion, then the torso will follow finishing with full weight on the forward foot.
That threw his authority with players willing to swing the lead into question and his standing with the fans.
When you spoke to him, you realised he wasn't just a superstar up to swing the lead out on his career, even if the 12 starts he made - eight of which saw him hooked - and PS1m it cost reeked of sentimentality.
"No-one wants a minority of people to swing the lead but the vast majority of those who need welfare services and benefits - and they could be any of us - don't take the proverbial and deserve much better than this."
It will always be the case that some people will turn up to work when they are very unwell while others will use the slightest sniffle as an excuse to swing the lead.
But Munster never give in and after O'Gara had landed two earlier penalties to swing the lead back from the Ospreys, the Ireland No.10 did it again for the umpteenth time in his career.
Birmingham City Council's personnel boss has warned managers and workers who swing the lead that there will be ''no hiding place'' under a new human resources system being introduced this month.
The Government is trying to crack down on the benefits cheats who swing the lead. Senior Cabinet figures, especially those charged with upholding justice, need to lead by example.
Undoubtedly, a minority swing the lead, happy to survive on benefits and earn a bit on the side.
And government snoops - known as "employment advisers" - will patrol surgeries looking for patients who have been allowed to swing the lead too easily.