Rock the Boat

Meaning of Idiom ‘Rock the Boat’

To rock the boat is to do something which causes trouble or upsets a stable or desirable situation. 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

Examples Of Use

“My supervisor is very abusive but I just got a big raise and I don’t want to rock the boat.”

“I really don’t want to rock the boat, but I think someone should say something about Rob’s behavior.”

Origin

The idiom alludes to the fact that rocking a small boat by shifting one’s weight from side to side or by standing up, etc. is likely to cause the boat to capsize. Thus, a stable boat can be upset if it is rocked. The phrase has been used figuratively since the early 1900’s. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with R

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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