bend over backwards


to try very hard to do something

TRANSLATION

bend over backwards = sich ein Bein ausreißen --- GOOGLE INDEX bend over backwards: approximately 2,400,000 Google hits

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

City's financial backers believe the Frenchman represents exactly the sort of world-class coach who will attract international superstars to the club and are willing to BEND OVER BACKWARDS to meet Wenger's expectations.

(The Mirror - London, England)

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Our government is more than happy to BEND OVER BACKWARDS to help an arbitrarily-selected group of big financial institutions stay alive -- no matter how irresponsibly they act.

(thestreet.com)

Did you
know?

bend over backward
idiom

- to try very hard to do something

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

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The expression "bend over backwards" stems from the idea of a person bending his or her body completely backward, a feat that is nearly impossible for most of us. Thus in a figurative sense it means to try very hard to do something, usually for someone else.

For good reason, confusion often arises regarding "backwards" versus "backward." In the UK the general practice is to use -wards for the adverb (i.e. spiraling downwards) and -ward for the adjective (i.e. downward pressure). This grammar-based approach is largely neutralized in the U.S. because -ward is applied to both adverbs and adjectives for the most part.

As in all things having to do with the English language, there are always exceptions. When in doubt, consult the Cambridge Guide to English Usage or the American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style, two definitive English language resources.

As for the word "bend," this is a flexible word that is useful in several other expressions such as:

- bend someone's ear = to talk to someone, often too much (Sorry I'm late. One of my customers wanted to bend my ear)

- bend the law = to cheat a little bit without breaking the law (He's not a criminal. He just the bent the law)

- bend one's elbow = to drink alcohol (He has a reputation for bending his elbow during lunch)

- bend someone out of shape = to make someone angry (He's bent out of shape because someone forgot to fill the coffee machine with water)


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SYNONYMS

go out of one's way, go to great lengths, go to the moon

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SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"He's successful because he bends over backwards for his customers."

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