Shoe is On the Other Foot, the

Also: The boot is on the other foot (British)

Meaning of Idiom ‘The Shoe Is On the Other Foot’

The shoe is on the other foot means the situation has been reversed so that the person who was in a better position is now in the worse one; the circumstances of two people have reversed; the situation is now the opposite of what it was before. 1Collins Cobuild. Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary. HarperCollins, 2007.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,3Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.


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Usage

This idiom is especially used to imply that a person is experiencing the same things as they used to cause another person to experience.

Examples Of Use

“His brothers used to pick on him because he was so small, but by the time he was fifteen, the shoe was on the other foot.”

“After being the boss for so long losing my job and having to take an entry-level position, I suddenly found the shoe was on the other foot.”

“Now that the shoe is on the other foot maybe you’ll think about the way you’ve been treating those less fortunate than you.”

“The shoe is on the other foot today for this twenty-year veteran of the police force. He was arrested today on drug-related charges.”

Origin

Used since the mid-1800s, this idiom began as the boot is on the other leg.

Originally, shoemakers made shoes entirely by hand and each shoe would be the same and fit either foot. During the 1800s cobblers begain making shoes that were specific to the left and right shoe so that if a shoe were placed on the wrong foot, it was quite uncomfortable. 4Helterbran, Valeri R. Exploring Idioms: a Critical-Thinking Resource for Grades 4-8. Maupin House Pub., 2008.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Collins Cobuild. Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary. HarperCollins, 2007.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
4. Helterbran, Valeri R. Exploring Idioms: a Critical-Thinking Resource for Grades 4-8. Maupin House Pub., 2008.