sit on the fence

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sit on the fence ‎(third-person singular simple present sits on the fence, present participle sitting on the fence, simple past and past participle sat on the fence)

1898 British cartoon using the phrase
  1. (idiomatic, intransitive) To remain neutral on a certain topic, to not have a stance or opinion.
    • 1897, John James Procter, The philosopher in the clearing, page 240:
      and Bloomah will sometimes sit on the fence, concerning whose discretion, the same thing may be said...
    • 1956, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain), Theology, page 22:
      The curate refused to label himself; so the squire growled, "Oh, you sit on the fence, do you?"
    • 1972, Joseph Robinson, The first book of Kings, page 207:
      Elijah stepped forward and said to the people, "How long will you sit on the fence? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."

Usage notes[edit]

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This expression implies that it is wiser to not be neutral.

See also[edit]