toe the mark(redirected from they have toed the mark)
toe the mark
To adhere or conform to the rules of something. From now on, I plan to toe the mark and do exactly what Graham tells me, to avoid getting in any more trouble. I expect you to toe the mark at all times if you want to remain at this firm, Jonathan.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
toe the markand toe the line
Fig. to do what one is expected to do; to follow the rules. You'll get ahead, Sally. Don't worry. Just toe the mark, and everything will be okay. John finally got fired. He just couldn't learn to toe the line.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
toe the line/mark, to
To meet a particular standard; to conform strictly to a rule. The term comes from track, when the runners in a race line up with their toes placed on the starting line or mark. It began to be used figuratively in the early nineteenth century. The OED cites “He began to think it was high time to toe the mark,” from The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan (1813) by “H. Bull-Us.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer