to switch gears

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 7 15:33:28 UTC 2011

I suspect the phrase is more meaningful to non-Americans, since
drivers in the rest of the world still actually switch gears, while
Americans tend to rely on an automatic transmission.


On Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 9:25 AM,  <ronbutters at> wrote:
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> Subject:      Re: to switch gears
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> This is obviously a metaphor on it's way to becoming an idiom. There are surely a bazillion of these. When does a fairly transparent figurative expression become so commonplace that it crosses the border between cliche and idiom worthy of its own line in all dictionaries? As Burchfield writes in the prefatory material, not every word can be entered in a dictionary--not even an unabridged one. Even the online OED would become impossibly cluttered with material that few if any users would need.
> That said, I would guess that students learning English might be puzzled by this expression.

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