send to Coventry
Some believe that the phrase dates from the English Civil War, when a military prison was located in that city. Others say it dates from the 18th century, when Coventry was the nearest town to London that lay outside the jurisdiction of the Bow Street Runners and so London criminals would flee to Coventry to escape arrest.
- (transitive, idiomatic) To ostracize, or systematically ignore someone.
- The group decided to send the unpopular members to Coventry.
2006, H. Irving Hancock, Dave Darrin's Third Year at Annapolis, →ISBN, page 159:
- "For the statement, in the form in which I offered it, Mr. President, I have no retraction or apology to offer, and only such explanation as I have lately given." "Coventry! Coventry!" came the insistent call. "Well, then, you can send me to Coventry, you friends of Darrin, if you feel yourselves justified in doing it!" quivered Midshipman Jetson, tossing his head and glaring defiantly around the room.
- Jennifer Meierhans (6 November 2016), “England's oddest phrases explained”, in BBC News, BBC