at sixes and sevens

at sixes and sevens

Meaning

  • used to express a situation of uncertainty or confusion
  • to be in complete disarray
  • a state of confusion or bewilderment
  • referring to disagreement between two parties

Example Sentences

  1. I don’t want to be at sixes and sevens with you.
  2. Without the main character, the show would have been at sixes and sevens.
  3. After the power failure, everyone has been left at sixes and sevens.
  4. Her weird attitude has left me at sixes and sevens as to what the matter could be.
  5. After the president’s announcement, we were all left at sixes and sevens.
  6. The flood had destroyed all the road signs, leaving drivers and commuters at sixes and sevens.

Origin

The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 14th century when there was a dispute between the Merchant Taylors (tailors) and the Skinners Livery Companies (fur makers) about what position they would be in the Order of Precedence. Both groups wanted to be in the sixth place. After years of argument, the then Lord Mayor of London named Sir Robert Billesden decided that the groups swap between the sixth and seventh place at the feast of Corpus Christi. Till date, they alternate these positions in the Order of Precedence..

Variant

  • to set the world on six and seven

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