send to Coventry: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘send to Coventry’ mean?

"Send to Coventry" means to deliberately ignore or ostracize someone, often as a form of punishment or disapproval, by refusing to speak or interact with them.

Idiom Explorer

The Social Exile

The idiom "send to Coventry" is rooted in British English and has a long history. It is used to describe a situation where someone is deliberately ignored or ostracized by a group of people, typically as a form of punishment or protest.

During the English Civil War in the 17th century, Coventry, a city in the West Midlands, was known for its support of the Parliamentarians, who were fighting against the Royalists. One theory suggests that captured Royalist soldiers would be sent to Coventry as prisoners, resulting in their isolation and being ignored by the local townspeople.

Another theory proposes a more mundane explanation for the idiom's origin. Coventry was famous for its textile production, particularly woven cloth. Defective or flawed cloth would be sent to Coventry for repair or remake, leading those involved in the process to be socially excluded due to their association with imperfect products.

While the exact origin remains uncertain, the idiom gained popularity in the English language beyond its historical context. It is now used more broadly to describe any deliberate act of exclusion or isolation.

Interestingly, variations of this concept exist in different languages. In French, the expression "envoyer quelqu’un aux fraises" (send someone to the strawberries) has a similar meaning, highlighting the universal appeal of sending someone away or ignoring them.

The idiom "send to Coventry" has become firmly embedded in the English language, appearing in literature, media, and everyday conversation. It symbolizes the power of exclusion and underscores the potential consequences for those who find themselves on the receiving end. Its continued usage reinforces its resonance and relevance in contemporary contexts, demonstrating the enduring nature of idiomatic expressions.

The idiom "send away" is another phrase that conveys the act of deliberately sending someone away or dismissing them, often indicating a desire for their absence. It shares similarities with "send to Coventry," as both involve expelling or excluding someone from a group or situation.

Similar to "send to Coventry," the idiom "give someone the cold shoulder" also describes deliberately ignoring or avoiding someone, often as a form of punishment or protest. It implies freezing someone out, refusing to engage with them, or offering them any warmth or attention.

"send someone to the showers" is a sports-related idiom that indicates removing someone from a game or competition, typically due to poor performance or misconduct. While it doesn't share the exact meaning of "send to Coventry," it reflects a similar act of exclusion or removal from a group setting.

The expression "forget you" expresses a deliberate act of erasing someone from one's thoughts or consideration, refusing to acknowledge their existence. It aligns with the theme of exclusion and isolation present in "send to Coventry."

Coventry imposed ostracism as a form of punishment.

"cold treatment" refers to the act of treating someone with indifference or aloofness. Similar to "send to Coventry," it involves deliberately ignoring or excluding someone, displaying a lack of warmth or empathy towards them.

These related idioms further emphasize the theme of exclusion and isolation found in the idiom "send to Coventry." Each idiom captures a unique aspect of intentionally disregarding, excluding, or removing someone from a group, highlighting the various ways this concept is expressed in language.

The universal appeal of these idioms across different languages and cultures reinforces the significance of this theme in human interactions. Whether in historical contexts or present-day situations, the act of deliberately ignoring or excluding someone continues to hold resonance and remains a powerful form of protest or punishment.

As an experienced Editor for HubSpot, it is your responsibility to ensure that articles are coherent, readable, and effective. Your skills in improving clarity, structure, and style make you invaluable in making articles engaging and relatable for readers.

When editing articles, you always follow AP style, which entails using short sentences, simple words and phrasing, and a conversational style. Your goal is to grab the reader's attention, provide them with valuable information, and keep them engaged throughout the article.

As part of your editing process, you remove any introductory or summary paragraphs, as well as transitional phrases. Your approach is to get straight to the point, delivering the essential information in a concise and straightforward manner.

Another crucial aspect of your editing involves structuring paragraphs to be 2-3 sentences long. This helps break down the information into easily digestible chunks and improves readability.

Additionally, you ensure that the language used throughout the article is varied, avoiding repetition of phrases and words. This not only enhances readability but also prevents monotony and keeps the reader engaged.

Grammar, phrasing, and tonal mistakes are carefully corrected during your editing process. You strive for an active voice, as it adds clarity and immediacy to the writing, making it more engaging and relatable.

While editing, you keep in mind that the articles are intended for a well-informed audience. Therefore, you focus on delivering concise yet informative content that aligns with the readers' expectations.

By following these editing guidelines, you consistently improve articles for HubSpot, making them more coherent, readable, and effective. Your attention to detail, knowledge of AP style, and commitment to delivering high-quality content ensure that readers have a positive experience engaging with the articles you edit.

Example usage

Examples of the idiom send to Coventry being used in sentences:

  1. He made a big mistake at work and now everyone is sending him to Coventry.
  2. After the argument, Sarah felt lonely and rejected as her friends sent her to Coventry.
  3. The class bully was sent to Coventry by his classmates as a form of punishment.

More "Rejection" idioms