send to Coventry

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

Verb[edit]

send to Coventry (third-person singular simple present sends to Coventry, present participle sending to Coventry, simple past and past participle sent to Coventry)

  1. (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 1421818477, 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.