Saffle Says --- Lessons for English Learners

Here you can find out all the information you need about the Michael's ESL podcast and blog. Post questions and comments as you wish. I value listener and reader comments so don't be shy! The questions you ask me more than likely will be questions others want to know the answers to!

Sunday, March 08, 2020

To Lick Someone's Boots - What? Why?

Why would someone want to lick someone else's boots? Well, this idiom refers to someone who is trying to please a person, usually a superior at work, often in order to obtain something, often not seen as genuine to others.

An example would be "Roger is licking the manager's boots in the hope of obtaining a pay rise." 

It can be easy to see why this would be a negative idiom, in the sense you wouldn't use this to compliment someone. We have other idioms similar to this one. To "butter up" someone is to complement them in order to curry favor. Though not 100% positive, it's far better than the image of licking someone's footwear.

We can assume the the original message behind this week's idiom is that when spoken, we are to see what the "boot licker" is doing is not condoned appropriate or is irksome. If you find yourself in a conversation with a co-worker and this idiom is being used, know that this isn't friendly banter, this is someone angry with another and letting you know about it.

Does your language have something similar? I would love to know!



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