rock the boat


rock the boat


  • to make trouble.
  • to upset the normal flow of things.
  • to disrupt an environment’s harmony.
  • to endanger a stable situation.
  • to tip over a small boat by moving around too violently.
  • to do something you know will cause trouble.
  • it’s often used as a warning not to do something.
  • it’s often a warning to prevent something bad.
  • you normally know when you’re doing it.

Example Sentences

  1. If you don’t want any trouble with your boss, then stop rocking the boat.
  2. We already have too much homework; let’s not rock the boat and get more!
  3. Dad said we could play outside before doing homework. Let’s not rock the boat by asking him to do our homework for us!
  4. Yesterday, I was sent to my principal’s office because my teacher said I was rocking the boat.
  5. John smirked because he knew his decision would rock the boat.
  6. The government asked the Prime Minister not to take firm action against protesters as it certainly doesn’t want anything to rock the boat just before the election.


The origin of this idiom has been traced back to a politician and successful orator. He used it to refer to people willing to start trouble. It was first used in his speech in 1914. People still use it today. Its use normally involves politics and social change.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

Well I have another one, “Ricki rocked the boat when he write a poem about how much he loved Jenny.”

‒ Anonymous January 10, 2020

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