in the wrong place at the wrong time
- (literally) Describing actions or activities that the speaker considers inappropriate, misdirected, or unlikely to yield good results.
1844 July, “Come-outerism”, in Orestes Augustus Brownson, editor, Brownson's quarterly review, volume 1, number 3, page 375:
- [The devil] must then chime in with our sentiments, our instincts, even stimulate our devotion to liberty, and defeat liberty by compelling us to seek it in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or by improper means.
- (idiomatic) At a location where something bad is about to happen at just the time of its occurrence.
1951, Motor, volume 98, page 350:
- ... W.H. Waring (Dellow) nearly cut short the life of a native of those parts who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and J.W. Cox got his Dellow up at incredible speed, with the front wheels leaping in the air most of the way.
2009, John A. Rich, Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men, →ISBN, page xvi:
- It is a perplexing expression, since many of these young people were not in the "wrong place." ... I believe that when they say "I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," they are reflecting on the randomness of violence.