Back To The Drawing Board

Meaning of Idiom ‘Back to the Drawing Board’

Back to the drawing board means that an effort has failed and it is time to start over from the beginning, or nearly from the beginning, and devise a new plan or approach. To go back to the drawing board is to go back to the initial planning or design stage.

This idiom is similar to the expression back to square one.

Usage

“The experiment completely failed, it’s back to the drawing board.”

“They rejected the new budget plan completely so now we’re back to the drawing board.”

“The product had some problems so instead of trying to fix it we went back to the drawing board.”Back to the Drawing board idiom

Origin

This expression refers to the fact that many new ideas, projects, designs, etc., start as plans on a drawing board when in their earliest phase.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, it probably originated during World War II, from the caption of a cartoon by Peter Arno in The New Yorker magazine. The cartoon featured a man who was holding a set of blueprints while watching an airplane explode. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

 

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013