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

The phrase put sb's name forward is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of put sb's name forward.

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

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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