[Ads-l] "take the wall" of someone; not in OED

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Wed Oct 7 20:46:50 UTC 2015

The expression "take[s] the wall" (sometimes with "of <someone>") seems to mean "stand up to, oppose" something or someone, sometimes associated with a quarrel.  See the nine quotations yielded by the online OED.

Is this not a metaphoric use of "wall" that should be in the OED?  

Perhaps it comes from the notion of "storming someone's defenses", his "wall"?  See wall n.1, sense 3.  

Or is it 16.b, fig. of 16.a = "to have the wall, to take the wall (of a person), to have, take the inside position"?  The six quotations don't seem to have that sense, unless "inside position" in 16.a is not always literal but sometimes means "stronger position".

(In passing, I am puzzled that there are four quotations containing "take* the wall" in 16, but they don't show up in my Quotation Text search for that phrase.  E.g., 1757   S. Foote.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list