What does the idiom "put sb's name forward" mean?

The expression put sb's name forward is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the put sb's name forward idiom.

Meaning of "put sb's name forward"


The phrase “put sb’s name forward” is an idiom meaning to propose someone, usually for a job or role. It can be used to describe a situation where someone suggests that another person should be considered for a particular position or task.


This idiom has its origins in the military and political realms. In military terms, regiments and battalions would move forward under the leadership of one particular individual – and so the phrase, “put sb’s name forward”, first came to be used to refer to the process of suggesting someone to lead a cause or task.

In the political realm, this phrase is used to nominate candidates in elections. In this sense, it can mean to propose that a person should become the leader or representative of a certain group.


This phrase is typically used when talking about a job or a role where a person is being presented as a suitable choice for the position. It is often used in the context of making a formal recommendation or nomination. For example:

“After much deliberation, we’ve decided to put John’s name forward for the position of CEO.”

It is also used more informally to refer to the process of suggestion or recommendation of someone for a job or position without necessarily making a formal recommendation. For example:

“We should put Peter’s name forward for the job; I think he would be perfect for it.”

Example Sentences

  • “I would like to put my colleague’s name forward for the role of project manager.”
  • “We should put Sally’s name forward for the job; she has the right experience and qualifications.”
  • “I think we should put John’s name forward for the board of directors.”
  • “Let’s put Jane’s name forward for the position; she’s the most qualified person for the job.”

The meanings of the words in the "put sb's name forward" idiom

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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