Caught In The Crossfire

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Also:

Caught in the Middle
Cross in the Crosshairs

Meaning of Idiom 'Caught in the Crossfire'

To be caught in the crossfire means to suffer harm because of a dispute between two other individuals or entities even though you yourself are not a part of the dispute.

Caught in the crossfire means much the same as 'caught in the middle' except the former tends to imply suffering actual damage as opposed to just being affected by a dispute.

The idiom 'caught in the crosshairs' can be used as a synonym but it is important to note that the related idiom in the crosshairs has a different meaning.

Usage

"The union was fighting with management and the workers were caught in the crossfire."

"Gordon had close business ties to both companies so when they sued each other he got caught in the crossfire."

Origin

The idiom derives from the literal meaning of the phrase caught in the crossfire, which is to be trapped between two people or groups shooting at each other, and so be vulnerable to passing bullets.

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