Bend over backwards

Bend over backwards

‘Bending over backwards’ or to ’bend over backwards’ is an idiom that is over 1000 years old. It is likely to have originated from the sport of gymnastics which involves contorting and moving the body in graceful, sometimes painful, ways.

Bending over backwards is obviously a lot harder to do than bending forwards – although some people struggle with that in light of our modern, sedentary lifestyles! So bending over backwards is a physical act that takes a great deal of effort and commitment. When we/someone is ‘bending over backwards’ they are putting a great deal of effort into helping someone or into doing their job. It is often used to connote a feeling that one is not being appreciated for their efforts –

‘On Christmas Day I bent over backwards to be nice to my cousins. Unfortunately, they still argued with me over what to watch on TV!’.

‘If we are going to meet all of our sales targets this year we will really have to bend over backwards and work harder.’

‘I’ve been bending over backwards to help my students pass their exams… I hope they do well!’

Written by Keith Kinsella, Tutor at The Harrogate International Academy


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