at sixes and sevens
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Unknown, though it may have originated from the game of hazard and the Old French cinc (“five”) and sis (“six”), the riskiest numbers to shoot for, which were misheard and folk-etymologized into English as "six" and "seven".
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- (idiomatic) In a state of confusion.
- 1912, Arthur Quiller-Couch, chapter 23, in Poison Island:
- Oh, what a racket! And everything on deck apparently at sixes and sevens. Mail-bags and passengers mixed up in every direction.
- (idiomatic, of people or groups) In a state of dispute or disagreement.
- 1911, Jack London, chapter 6, in Adventure:
- Her outlook on life was so different from what he conceived a woman's outlook should be, that he was more often than not at sixes and sevens with her.
- 1976, Tim Rice, "Don't Cry For Me Argentina":
- All you will see is a girl you once knew, although she's dressed up to the nines, at sixes and sevens with you.
- (in a state of dispute or disagreement): at loggerheads
in a state of confusion
in a state of dispute or disagreement