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 actually in hospital.
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 ?
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.
However, could home advantage be enough to swing the lead back to England during the summer of 2012?
But Munster never give in and after O'Gara had landed two earlier penalties to swing the lead back from the Ospreys, the Ireland No10 did it again with a simple penalty which leaves the Ospreys needing a miracle.
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.
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.
Matlock scored 11 points individually in the meet; his fourth-place finish in the men's 200, behind the victory of teammate Wes Felix, helped swing the lead to the Trojans, and he was third in the 400.
It was a deliberate decision, though, and certainly not an excuse to swing the lead as Blues bid to maintain their new role as the biggest club in the Midlands after finishing above rivals Aston Villa last season.
Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: "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.
Pages 8-9 NEWS 14-22 No hiding place 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.