run someone off their feet: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘run someone off their feet’ mean?

The idiom "run someone off their feet" means to keep someone extremely busy or overwhelmed with work or tasks.

Idiom Explorer

Baffling Footwear Pursuits

The idiom "run someone ragged" is a related expression that has a similar meaning to "run someone off their feet." "To run someone ragged" means to exhaust or tire someone out through physical or mental exertion. It implies that a person is pushed to their limits and left feeling drained or worn out. This idiom emphasizes the intense and demanding nature of the tasks or responsibilities that someone is faced with.

The idiom "sweep someone off their feet" is another related expression, but it has a different meaning. "To sweep someone off their feet" means to completely charm or captivate someone, often leading them to fall deeply in love. This idiom implies a sudden and overwhelming attraction or infatuation. It is used to describe the intense emotions and excitement that can come from a new and passionate relationship.

The idiom

When we consider these related idioms in the context of "run someone off their feet," we can see that they all share a theme of overwhelming or intense experiences. While "run someone off their feet" focuses on the exhaustion and pressure that can come from excessive work or responsibilities, "run someone ragged" highlights the physical and mental toll that can be taken. "Sweep someone off their feet," on the other hand, explores the powerful and overwhelming emotions that can arise in certain relationships. These idioms all emphasize intense experiences and the impact they can have on individuals.

Whether it is being extremely busy and overwhelmed, physically exhausted, or swept away by intense emotions, these idioms paint a vivid picture of the various ways in which someone can be "run" or overwhelmed. They remind us of the capacities of humans to experience and endure different challenges and situations.

The idiom "run someone off their feet" is a widely used expression in the English language. It conveys the idea of overwhelming someone with tasks or activities to the point of exhaustion or being unable to keep up with their responsibilities. While the exact origins of this idiom remain uncertain, its figurative meaning and usage are well-established. This idiom, along with related idioms such as "run someone ragged" and "sweep someone off their feet," serve as powerful reminders of the various ways in which individuals can be pushed to their limits or swept away by different experiences. Whether it is the exhaustion from a heavy workload, the depletion from physical exertion, or the overwhelming emotions of love and attraction, these idioms capture the multifaceted nature of human experiences in a concise and impactful manner.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "run someone off their feet" can be used in a sentence:

  1. She was running off her feet trying to organize the event.
  2. The restaurant was so busy that the waitstaff were running off their feet all night.
  3. The holiday season always runs me off my feet with shopping and family obligations.

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