Get a Word in Edgewise

Also: Get a word in edgeways

Meaning of Idiom ‘Get a Word in Edgewise’

To get a word in edgewise means to find an opportunity to contribute to conversation despite another person or group of people speaking continually without pause. 1Ammer, Christine.  American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,3Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.

See related talk idioms:

Usage

This idiom is usually used in a negative way to express difficulty in being able to make oneself heard in a conversation because another person talks incessantly.

Examples Of Use

“Sherry sure likes to talk. I can never get a word in edgewise.”

“The uproar over the governor’s controversial decision caused a no holds barred shouting match at today’s press conference. The governor could not get a word in edgewise.”

“I like my neighbor but he’ll talk your ear off. It’s impossible to get a word in edgewise.”

Origin

Used since at least the early 1700s.

This idiom alludes figuratively to turning an object on its edge to facilitate inserting it into a small space. 4Ammer, Christine.  American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 4. Ammer, Christine.  American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
3. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.