vote with one's feet

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Verb[edit]

vote with one's feet (third-person singular simple present votes with one's feet, present participle voting with one's feet, simple past and past participle voted with one's feet)

  1. (idiomatic) To express one's preferences through one's actions, by voluntarily participating in or withdrawing from an activity, group, or process; especially, by physical migration to leave a situation one does not like, or to move to a situation one regards as more beneficial.
    • 1958 December 8, "Most Useful Satellite", Time:
      But Khrushchev's economic plan for the East Germans means a new kind of dependence on their old Russian foes, and its fulfillment is a political question—on which East Germans, whatever their phony 99.9% elections say, still vote with their feet by fleeing West at the rate of 2,000 a week.
    • 1973 April 2, "The Ph.D. Glut", Time:
      That would enable the students to "vote with their feet" for programs of proven excellence and presumably for fields where the most jobs are available.
    • 1985 May 13, "Business Notes Airlines", Time:
      TWA expects that its lounger will keep it flying high in transatlantic business, where it now leads all other airlines. Says Jesse Liebman, a TWA vice president: "Passengers vote with their feet."
    • 1991 December 10, "IAP needs you", The Tech:
      Please, vote with your feet—participate in IAP.
    • 2002, Jim Cramer, Confessions of a Street Addict, Simon and Schuster,, →ISBN, page 104:
      Then again, I knew that shareholder democracy meant only that I should vote with my feet if I didn't like what management was doing.
    • 2005, Diane E. Davis, Political Power and Social Theory, Elsevier,, →ISBN, page 188:
      The conventional wisdom ca. 1980 was that if an investor did not like the way a firm was managed, she could vote with her feet, moving her money elsewhere.
    • 2022 April 20, Andrew Roth, “Russia’s latest military failures polarise society even more”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Several big names have voted with their feet. The Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on Monday that Lev Khasis, a former senior executive at the state-owned Sberbank, had left the country for the US.

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