GET A WORD IN EDGEWAYS ORIGIN
Tuesday February 15th, 2011
GET A WORD IN EDGEWAYS
This expression (also ‘edgewise’) was first coined in the 19th century and was derived from the nautical practice of proceeding edge first or making small tacking movements to make progress. So naturally when someone is hogging a conversation or debate the best way to get your own point across is to proceed carefully, taking advantage of the smallest of opportunities to speak.
An early example of its use appears in the one-act play Twelve precisely! or, A night at Dover, 1821: “Curse me, if I can get a word in edgeways!”