After learning the idioms spill the beans, and pay through the nose we’re going to speak about the idiom ”bend over backwards”. As I mentioned before, learning the idioms is a great adventure. I can’t show you all the idioms, I can show you some of them, in addition I can recommend some sources that can help you learn them.
What does ”Bend over backwards” mean?
to work very hard to accomplish something for someone; to go out of one's way (to do something) (for someone); to try very hard to do something, especially to help or please someone else; to try very hard;
Let’s see some practical examples:
He will bend over backwards to help you. I bent over backwards for you, and you showed no thanks!
Banks are bending over backwards to help those in difficulties.
We want your business and will bend over backwards to keep it.
I've been bending over backwards trying to help you, and this is all the thanks I get!
He’ll bend over backwards to help any of his friends.
She was giving a very important dinner party and was going to bend over backwards to make the evening success.
I bend over backwards to be pleasant to people.
One of my favorite books about American idioms (101 American English Idioms by Harry Collis) also explains this idiom.
How does this book explain this idiom?
As usual we can learn from Rachel how she explains the meaning and the pronunciation of this idiom.
You can also read the transcript as well.
”Today I'm going to go over the pronunciation for the idiom to bend over backwards. This means to do as much as you possibly can to get your desired results. Perhaps more than what would be expected. For example, let's say I'm trying to hire a new person to come to my firm and I'll do whatever it takes to get him or her to commit. I might say, I'll bend over backwards to get you here. Or, for example, let's say my mother in law was visiting last weekend. I might say, I bent over backwards to make her happy.It begins with the B consonant sound. That is voiced, bb, so your vocal cords are making noise. Then the 'eh' as in 'bed' vowel sound [ε]: be- be-. Nn, tongue moves up into position for the N. Ben-d. Here you would either have the D or the T consonant sound, depending on if you're speaking present/future, or past. Bend/bent. Over begins with the 'oh' as in 'no' diphthong [oʊ]. O - vv, vv, then the V consonant sound, where the bottom lip raises to lightly touch the bottom of the top front teeth. Ov, vv, and you make a sound with the vocal cords. Over. You then have the schwa soun [ə], unaccented, with the R consonant sound [ɹ], over. Backwards begins, again, with the B sound, bb, then the 'aa' as in 'bat' vowel [æ]. Ba-, ba- kk. The K consonant sound, where the tongue goes up and touches in the back, kk, releasing to make that sound. Back, back, -wards. The W consonant sound, where the lips form a tight circle, www, and the schwa sound with the R consonant sound war-, war- ds. The D consonant sound followed by the Z consonant sound, both voiced: dz, dz. Backwards. To bend over backwards.”
I used the following websites and books to write this blog post:
The Free dictionary by Farlex (Idioms)
Idiomatric American English by Barbara K. Gaines
The 800 most commonly used idioms in America by Paul S. Gruber
And now I have a question for you guys: do you know other idioms with a similar meaning? If you do, please write it / them as a comment here.
Kate was very kind to review this blog post. She’s still searching for new students on her Italki profile.
Thank you very much.