send someone packing: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘send someone packing’ mean?

The idiom "send someone packing" means to dismiss or reject someone abruptly or forcefully.

Idiom Explorer

Unearthing the Origins

"Send someone packing" is an idiom that means to tell someone to leave or dismiss them abruptly and rudely. It is often used figuratively and is commonly found in spoken and written English.

The origins of this idiom can be traced back to the 16th century in Britain. It was first recorded in the literature in 1610, in the play "Eastward Hoe" written by George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and John Marston. In the play, a character named Touchstone says, "Thy father! Ah no! Thy mother! Where does she lie ... I'faith send men packing, 'tis a craft for catering knaves."

Over time, the idiom gained popularity and became a common phrase in the English language. It is often used in situations where someone is being dismissed or rejected in a forceful manner. The idiom can be used to express displeasure or frustration towards someone, or to assert authority and control.

Send someone packing.

When used literally, the idiom refers to physically sending someone away or packing their belongings. However, it is more commonly used figuratively to suggest that someone is being told to leave or being rejected in a harsh manner. The idiom is often accompanied by a strong tone and body language to emphasize the message being conveyed.

Related to the idiom "send someone packing" is the phrase "send away." This phrase has a similar meaning to the idiom and also conveys the idea of telling someone to leave. It can be used interchangeably with "send someone packing" to emphasize the forceful and abrupt nature of the dismissal.

Another related idiom is "give the sack." This phrase is often used in a professional context and means to fire or dismiss someone from their job. Like "send someone packing," it conveys a sense of abruptness and finality in the dismissal.

The idiom "send someone packing" is a common and widely-used expression in the English language. It originated in the 16th century and has evolved over time to become a phrase that is commonly used in informal settings. Despite its origins, the idiom continues to be used today to convey a sense of authority and dismissal towards the recipient. Its usage and meaning have become ingrained in the English language and culture, making it a familiar and recognizable expression.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "send someone packing" can be used in a sentence include:

1. After discovering that the employee was stealing company funds, the boss immediately sent him packing.

2. The restaurant had terrible service, so we complained to the manager and demanded to send the waiter packing.

3. When the contractor failed to complete the construction project on time, the client decided to send them packing and hire someone else.

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