swing the lead(redirected from swings the lead)
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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.
swing the leadmalinger; 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.