What does the idiom "stand in sb's way" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase stand in sb's way, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression stand in sb's way used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "stand in sb's way"


The idiom “stand in someone’s way” generally means to prevent someone from achieving a goal or succeeding in some kind of endeavor. It is often used to refer to an obstacle that is blocking someone from reaching their intended destination or completing their task. The implication is that the obstacle can be removed with effort or effort. It can also suggest that the obstacle is preventing the success of another person.


The phrase “stand in someone’s way” dates back to the 16th century and was a common phrase that was used to describe anything that acted as an obstacle to success. In the 1700’s it was used to describe someone in the way of progress, as well as something that would failure to materialize. The phrase “stand in someone’s way” has been in use ever since.


The idiom “stand in someone’s way” is commonly used in everyday conversations to refer to an obstacle that is preventing someone from achieving their goal. It is usually used to describe something that can be removed with effort, like an obstacle in a race or a wall blocking access to a certain area. The phrase can also be used metaphorically to refer to a person or group that is getting in the way of someone’s success.

Example Sentences

  • I'm not trying to stand in your way, but I think you should reconsider before making this decision.
  • We can't let the bullies stand in our way. We have to keep fighting for our rights.
  • There are a lot of obstacles standing in our way, but I believe we can find a way to succeed.

The meanings of the words in the "stand in sb's way" idiom

Idioms with similar meanings in different languages

"Barking up the wrong tree" is an English idiom that means to pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action. In German, the similar idiom is "Auf dem Holzweg sein," which translates to "To be on the wrong track." This idiom emphasizes the idea that when you are pursuing the wrong course of action, you are not going to achieve your desired outcome.


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