Part Of the Furniture

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Meaning of Idiom 'Part of the Furniture'

The idiom part of the furniture refers to a person who has been in a place so long that he or she seems to be a permanent part of the scenery and are taken for granted, undervalued, or ignored. 1,2

Usage

This idiom usually refers to a person, most often in a work environment such as an office.

Examples:

"Maureen has worked here so long it's like she's part of the furniture."

"I've worked in this office for twenty years, said John, and they treat me like part of the furniture. It's time for me to move on."

"With all the attention on the new baby, our first son was starting to feel like part of the furniture."

Origin

This idiom alludes to the fact that the furniture, such as chairs, tables, and desks, in a building tends to remain in the same place and never be moved, so that people who work in the building or visit it frequently do not really notice it, just as they do not notice the decorations or paintings on the walls. Used since at least the latter half of the 1900's.

Sources
1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

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