The Top 6 Boot Idioms In The English LanguageThe Top 6 Boot Idioms In The English Language

Boots are as recognizable in fashion today as they have been during the last few centuries. The only thing common for boots is that they should cover the foot and the ankle and extend up the leg. However, other than that boots come in all sizes and styles. In the world of literature, though, boots are used in idioms more than perhaps any other type of footwear. Unfortunately, as we will see, the top 6 idioms containing boots seldom have a positive connotation.

1. The oldest boot idiom is perhaps to "die with one's boots on"; which helps explain why Boot Hill is such a common name for Wild West graveyards. As opposed to dyeing of natural causes, this idiom obviously refers to dying a violent death.

2. To "give someone the boot" basically means that you fire someone from a job, though it could also mean that you have relived someone of their duties in a club or organization. Donald Trump apparently prefers to say straight out that "You're Fired", but giving someone a pair of boots might be an indirect way of giving the same message. The person receiving the boot may not conceive it as being particularly funny, but perhaps you will. On the opposite end of things, there is an urban legend about a person that sent a boot along with his job application to claim that he already had one boot "inside the door".

3. In case of situation where you for example have a previous victor winning, in other words a reversed situation, we may say that the "the boot is on the other foot now". As opposed to the previous two idioms, at least this one has a neutral meaning.

4. While not quite an idiom, the term to "boot up one's computer" basically means to load an operating system into the computer's main memory or random access memory (RAM). One theory explains that the term derives from bootstrap, in other words the small strap or loop at the back of a leather boot that enables you to pull the entire boot on.

5. If you are very frightened, the idiom "shake in one's boots" may come in handy. However, since it has a rather sarcastic flavor, you may prefer to use it about someone else.

6. Finally, in British English you may insult someone by saying that he or she is "a smelly boot". Exactly what kind of smell this is referring to is rather uncertain, but be not surprised if it refers to the smell generated by wearing wet boots for an extended period of time. This term may come in handy if you want to insult someone on a trip to the United Kingdom, but at least now you are warned.

The popular usage of boots in both fashion and language is certain to continue, and we cannot help but look forward to what contributions this fashion item will make in the years ahead. While there are plenty of more boots on the market than there are boots in the language, the combined usage makes us all a little bit richer.
by Crystal Robertson
References and Bibliography
Crystal Robertson is a fashion writer with a particular focus on bags, clothing, and shoes. To find out more about popular boots in fashion today, please visit
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