from pillar to post

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Possibly originally "from post to pillar", a reference to the rapid movement of the ball in real tennis

Compactuno: > As a french speaker, I wonder wether it wouldn't be the wrong usage of a word taken from the Evangile. We say in french "renvoyé de Ponce à Pilate" (Poncius Pilatus in Evangile sent Jesus back to the jew authority)and here it would come from "FROM PILATE TO PONCE" ?

Adverb[edit]

from pillar to post (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) From one place (or person, or task) to another; hither and thither
    • 2011‎ April 2, Steve Brenner, “Joey will defy pack of Wolves”, The Sun:
      Back in August, the Toon ace was kicked from pillar to post by Karl Henry in a bone-crunching midfield battle at Molineux.
    • 2011 March 28, “Bihar Assembly Passes Bill for Time-Bound Government Services‎”, Daijiworld.com, Patna:
      When the bill becomes an act, it will provide a big relief to people who now run from pillar to post and are forced to pay bribes to get their work done in government offices.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Normally implies a harassing situation.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • OED 2nd edition 1989