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tread on (someone's) toes
To insult, offend, or upset someone, especially by involving oneself in that which is someone else's responsibility. I want to help Johnny out on his project, but I know he's very proud, and I don't want to tread on his toes in any way. Look, you're going to have to tread on a few peoples' toes if you want to get ahead in this business.
1. To walk carefully, so as not to disturb what is underfoot or nearby. This is rare alpine vegetation, so tread lightly. Tread lightly so you don't wake up the baby.
2. To be extra tactful in one's dealing with someone so as not to offend or aggravate. The boss is really irritable today, so if you have bad news for him, tread lightly. Tread lightly if you ask Mrs. Smith for extra credit—she usually gets annoyed with those requests.
tread on air
To be extremely happy. I've been treading on air ever since I got engaged!
To delicately handle or approach a situation in order not to upset or worsen the current circumstances, which may be precarious. Tread carefully when you ask Mom whether she's going to the party. She's been acting weird about it. We need to start treading carefully when it comes to our diplomacy—we can't afford to alienate any allies.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Prov. Foolish people usually do not understand when a situation is dangerous, so they are not afraid to do things that would frighten more sensible people. Alan: Bob is too scared to go in and confront the boss, so I'm going to. Jane: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
step on someone's toesand 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.
tread (up)on someone or something
to walk or step on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on. Step is more common than tread.) Don't tread on Sam, who is napping under the tree. Please don't tread on the freshly shampooed carpeting on the stairs.
fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Ignorant or inexperienced individuals get involved in situations that wiser persons would avoid, as in I've never heard this symphony and here I am conducting it-oh well, fools rush in where angels fear to tread , or He tried to mediate their unending argument-fools rush in. This expression, so well known it is sometimes shortened as in the second example, is a quotation from Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism (1709): "No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd ... Nay, fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead; For fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
step on someone's toes
Also, tread on someone's toes. Hurt or offend someone. For example, Be careful what you say about her losing weight; don't step on her toes, or Would I be stepping on someone's toes if I asked to help out with the party arrangements? This metaphoric idiom transfers physical to emotional pain. [Late 1300s]
tread the boards
Act on the stage, as in Her main ambition was to tread the boards in a big city. This idiom uses boards in the sense of "a theatrical stage," a usage dating from the mid-1700s. It dates from the mid-1800s but was preceded by the idiom tread the stage, first recorded in 1691.
Expend effort that maintains one's status but does not make much progress toward a goal, as in He was just treading water from paycheck to paycheck. This idiom alludes to the term's literal meaning, that is, "keep one's head above water by remaining upright and pumping the legs."
be treading on eggshellsor
be walking on eggshells
If you are treading on eggshells or are walking on eggshells, you are being extremely careful about what you say or do because you do not want to upset or offend someone. She was so easily offended, I felt as if I was treading on eggshells the whole time. Everyone was walking on eggshells around him, just not knowing what his reaction was going to be. Note: You can also say that someone is treading on eggs or is walking on eggs. Living with you is like treading on eggs.
fools rush in where angels fear to treador
fools rush in
People say fools rush in where angels fear to tread or fools rush in to mean that stupid people often do or say things without thinking enough about them first. `Sometimes I stop and think, Good God, how did I get into this,' she says with a laugh. `Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.' That was something none of the three of us would have dared to say. Fools rush in... Note: This expression is often varied, especially by using other words instead of fools and angels. Amateurs rush in where professionals fear to tread. Note: This proverb comes from Alexander Pope's `An Essay on Criticism' (1711).
walk a fine line between somethingor
tread a fine line between something
If someone walks a fine line between two activities or situations, or treads a fine line between them, what they are doing is acceptable, but they are very close to the point at which it would become unacceptable. At present we are walking a very fine line between getting away with it and having a very serious problem. The American will tread a fine line between freshness and a shortage of match fitness. Note: You can also say that you walk or tread a thin line between two things or that you walk or tread a narrow line between them. He must tread a narrow line between investigation of his party's mistakes and charges of disloyalty. Compare with a fine line between something.
step on someone's toesor
tread on someone's toes
COMMON If you step on someone's toes or tread on their toes, you offend them by interfering in something that is their responsibility. `Small shopkeepers know who sells what,' Sue explains, `so they don't step on one another's toes.' She's already seeing Dr Simmonds — I can't tread on his toes. Note: You can also say that someone steps on toes or treads on toes. It was no wonder, with such a complicated system, that I was stepping on toes from morning to night.
COMMON If you tread water, you fail to make progress, but instead just continue to do the same things. I feel as if I've actually taken a step forward, and that I'm not just treading water. Without any hope of promotion, I feel I'm just treading water. Note: When swimmers tread water, they move their arms and legs in order to keep their head above the water without actually making progress in any direction.
tread (or walk) the boardsappear on stage as an actor. informal
fools rush in where angels fear to treadpeople without good sense or judgement will have no hesitation in tackling a situation that even the wisest would avoid. proverb
tread tackiedrive or accelerate.
1989 Daily Dispatch By the time they finally trod tackie on the road out, a full week had gone by.
Tackies are plimsolls. The origin of the word is uncertain, though there may be a connection with the English adjective tacky , meaning ‘slightly sticky’, perhaps referring to the effect of extreme heat on the plimsolls' rubber soles.
tread (or step) on someone's toesoffend someone, especially by encroaching on their privileges.
tread water1 maintain an upright position in the water by moving the feet with a walking movement and the hands with a downward circular motion. 2 fail to advance or make progress.
2 1996 Financial Post The NAPM index…has been treading water since the spring, and that is making a lot of people nervous.
tread/walk a fine/thin ˈlinebe in a difficult or dangerous situation where you could easily make a mistake: He was walking a fine line between being funny and being rude.
tread/walk a ˈtightrope,
be on a ˈtightropebe in a situation where you must act very carefully: I’m walking a tightrope at the moment; one more mistake and I might lose my job.
A tightrope is a rope high up in the air that an acrobat walks along at a circus.
ˌtread the ˈboards(humorous) be an actor: He has recently been treading the boards in a new play at the National.
The boards refers to the stage of a theatre.
tread ˈcarefully, ˈwarily, etc.be very careful about what you do or say: The government will have to tread very carefully in handling this issue. OPPOSITE: throw caution to the wind(s)
See also: tread
tread a difficult, solitary, etc. ˈpathchoose and follow a particular way of life, way of doing something, etc: A restaurant has to tread the tricky path between maintaining quality and keeping prices down.
ˌtread on somebody’s ˈheelsfollow somebody closely: In the end she left the meeting room, with her assistant treading hard on her heels.
ˌtread on somebody’s ˈtoes(especially British English) (American English usually ˌstep on somebody’s ˈtoes) (informal) offend or annoy somebody, especially by getting involved in something that is their responsibility: Now that we have proper job descriptions we are less likely to tread on each other’s toes.
1 keep yourself upright in deep water by moving your arms and legs
2 make no progress while you are waiting for something to happen: For the past year I’ve been treading water, in a boring job with no hope of promotion.
tread the boards
To act on the stage: "We who tread the boards are not the only players of parts in this world" (John Fowles).
1. To keep the head above water while in an upright position by pumping the legs.
2. To expend effort but make little or no progress to achievement of a goal or an end.