Fences are everywhere around us, whether they are literal and used for enclosing particular spaces, or figurative and used as an expression of speech to really mean something else. Here are seven different phrases that use the word “fence” and what they really mean.
Swing for the fence. This phrase is baseball-oriented, because swinging for the fence in that sport means you’re trying to hit a home run (trying your best at something).
Good fences make good neighbors. If neighbors aren’t always worried about what’s going on in someone else’s backyard, there is less room for potential animosity due to perceived invasion of someone’s privacy.
My family tree is more like a fence post. This is a joke someone usually tells about themselves in reference to a dim-witted relative, by implying that their family tree doesn’t branch out much (via inbreeding).
Sit on (or straddle) the fence. When you sit on the fence, you are being undecided about an issue and haven’t made up your mind which way to go.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Something always looks better from a distance, or when you’re not standing in the thick of it.
You need to mend the fence with someone. To mend fences with someone is to repair any bad blood in the relationship or friendship.
He/She would argue with a fence post! When someone would argue with a fence post, this means they are so involved in being argumentative that they don’t care who their opponent is.
As you can see, fences truly are a part of our daily lives, even to the point of being key elements in some of our sayings and witticisms.
Podcast on 7 Fence Idioms