off on the wrong foot

off on the wrong foot


  • off to a bad start
  • begin something incorrectly
  • begin badly
  • start off something in a way that is likely to fail

Example Sentences

  1. Their relationship started off on the wrong foot when they had a huge misunderstanding.
  2. His career started off on the wrong foot when the company he joined had to shut down because of recession.
  3. We had started off on the wrong foot, but over time as we got to know each other, we developed a bond and trust for each other.
  4. Would you give some advice on how to start my new business? I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot.
  5. He started off on the wrong foot in his new job when he had a bit of an argument with his manager.


The origin of the phrase is unclear. There are theories which say that the wrong foot refers to the left foot, since there is an age old bias for the right side. Since we have “right and left” and “right and wrong”, left tends to get associated with wrong. Another theory suggests that the phrase comes from the military, where in a march, all have to start with the same foot, which is usually the left foot. So in this case the right foot is the wrong foot. The phrase has been in use since the 16th century.

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Idiom of the Day

axe to grind

Meaning: have a private or selfish reason for doing something

Example: He should not become the chairman of the committee as he has too many axes of his own to grind. Read on


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