Get off on the wrong foot


      • Start a situation or relationship in an unfavorable or problematic manner
        Begin something with a mistake or misunderstanding, leading to a negative outcome or strained interactions

      • Have a bad or awkward start to something
        Experience difficulties or awkwardness at the beginning of an activity or endeavor

    Examples of Get off on the wrong foot

    • In the first meeting with his new boss, Tim accidentally spilled coffee all over his shirt, causing an awkward silence in the room. This uncomfortable and unpleasant start to the relationship left Tim feeling anxious and unsure about how their professional partnership would play out.

      To "get off on the wrong foot" means to start something on a negative or unfavorable note. This idiom is often used to describe the first impression or initial encounter between two individuals or groups, suggesting that a poor or negative start can have a lasting impact on the overall outcome. Tim's clumsy and untimely spill left a bad taste in his boss's mouth, potentially affecting his chances for success in the workplace.

    • During the job interview, Sarah accidentally spilled coffee all over her shirt, causing the interviewer to look disapprovingly at her. This incident immediately put Sarah in a negative light, and she felt that she had gotten off on the wrong foot.

      The idiom "get off on the wrong foot" refers to starting something on a bad or unfavorable note. In this case, Sarah's spillage put her in a disadvantageous position from the beginning of the interview, potentially affecting her chances of getting the job.

    • When Emily moved into her new neighborhood, she introduced herself to her next-door neighbor with a big smile, but her neighbor appeared to be aloof and unfriendly. Emily felt that she had gotten off on the wrong foot with her neighbor and worried that this would impact their future interactions.

      To "get off on the wrong foot" can also be used to describe a situation where initial interaction between two people is strained or uncomfortable, potentially damaging the relationship that could have been built otherwise.

    • After the dinner party, Mike's guest accidentally broke one of Mike's prized antique vases while leaving the house. Mike felt that his guest had gotten off on the wrong foot, and he didn't know how to handle the situation without causing any awkwardness between them.

      The idiom can be applied to different situations that don't involve people but things, such as accidents or mishaps. In this case, the guest's mistake immediately put him in a negative light for Mike, potentially causing resentment towards the guest.

    • At the soccer game, the referee blew a whistle and awarded a penalty to the opposing team early in the game. Tom's team felt that they had gotten off on the wrong foot, and it seemed as if the other team was determined to destroy their chances of winning.

      The idiom can also be used in sports or competitive situations, describing a scenario in which one team or player gets off to a bad start while the other gains an advantage. In this example, Tom's team started the game at a disadvantage because they received an early penalty, potentially affecting the game's outcome.


    The idiom "get off on the wrong foot" is used to describe a negative or unfavorable start to a situation, relationship, or activity. It implies that the initial steps or actions taken were not successful or well-received, leading to further challenges and complications.

    This idiom can be used in a variety of contexts, such as describing a rocky start to a romantic relationship, an unsuccessful business venture, or a difficult first day at a new job. It can also be used to advise someone against starting something in a negative manner, cautioning that it may lead to further problems down the line.

    Origin of "Get off on the wrong foot"

    The origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated from the superstition that the left foot is associated with bad luck or negative outcomes. Therefore, starting something with the left foot was considered to be unfavorable. Over time, this evolved into the phrase "get off on the wrong foot" to describe a negative start to something.

    Another theory suggests that the idiom originated from the military, where soldiers were expected to march in unison with their left foot first. If someone started marching with their right foot, it was seen as a mistake and could lead to confusion and disorder among the troops.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "get off on the wrong foot" has become a commonly used phrase to describe a negative start to a situation or relationship. It emphasizes the importance of starting things on a positive note and highlights the potential consequences of a negative beginning.