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What does the expression "do not fall on your sword " mean?

English is not my native language and I need the explanation. Does it mean that one should not get upset if anything happens? Emotion: thinking

Thanks.
Full Member167
Thanks to Nona-the-Brit, I now have in my favorites this usefull link to the 'phrase finder' site that she advertises. I didn't know this expression either and found it in there :
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/133350.html
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Thanks! Added to Favorotes' as well Emotion: smile
Kedra, for all its possible honorable origins, 'falling on one's word' is frequently used today in the context of someone taking the blame for someone else's actions. To give you an example, in today's New York Times is an article (nytimes.com, 'In Indictment's Wake, a Focus on Cheney's Powerful Role) on the continuing investigation in the US regarding certain White House officials. One, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, was charged last week with making false statements and perjury. Libby was a confidant of Vice President Cheney. The Times article quotes someone as saying, " Scooter has fallen on his sword, and the focus is on him". There is considerable speculation that Libby sought to protect the Vice President by lying about certain conversations Libby had with reporters and others about a CIA agent.
New Member38
Hi,

Yes, although there is still arguably honour in such an action, even if it's only 'honour among thieves'.

In this discussion of 'falling on one's sword', I find myself thinking of the Japanese custom of 'seppuku', or ritual suicide. I believe the other term used is 'hara-kiri'.

I know this was ritualized much more, and was considerably more painful. What I wonder is whether the term or idea of seppuku is now used in Japan in a figurative sense, similarly to the way that we speak of Scooter Libby as falling on his sword. Perhaps Paco or other Japanese readers could comment?

Finally, I think it would be good for modern society if politicians, CEO's and other leaders returned to the more literal prospect of falling on their swords when their schemes go awry. Or even, perhaps, seppuku?

My apologies to Japanese readers if 'seppuku' is considered an inappropriate subject for humour.

Best wishes, Clive
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Hello Clive

I've read your message just now.

Yes "hara-kiri" or "seppuku" is a ritual to show taking one's own responsibility by suicide. The last seppuku I ever know is the one made by Yukio Mishima, a famous novelist. He, with a score of young people, forcefully broke in the head quarter office of Self Defense Force in Tokyo and then committed suicide in the way samurais did in old days. I still cannot understand why he did such a conduct. But I guess he did so with two reasons. One reason would be to take the responsibility of the responsibility. The other reason would be he wanted to die in that way. He seems to have admired old days' samurais even when he was young. When he committed the suicide, I guess, he would began to feel his ability to create novels was fading away.

"Seppuku" is similar in the sense to "fall on one's sword". But I am not sure it is used to mean figuratively like resigning to take one's responsibility or accepting willingly one's blame. However, a self sacrifice by accepting a blame willingly to protect his/her boss from blames was once regarded a virtue and indeed such conducts were often seen among Japanese belonging to organizations including companies, though most of young people nowadays seemingly deem this sort of self sacrifice as a stupid conduct.

paco
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Many thanks to everybody. Seems like now I got much more knowledge on rituals than on the meaning of the expression. Emotion: wink I do not think that the context of my text has something to do with "someone taking the blame for someone else's actions." This is the text:

"And finally, don't fall on your sword if you lose the job. There could be a dozen reasons your proposal didn't make the cut; none of which have anything to do with the proposal."

Thanks again!
Anonymous:
BeemerKedra, for all its possible honorable origins, 'falling on one's word' is frequently used today in the context of someone taking the blame for someone else's actions. To give you an example, in today's New York Times is an article (nytimes.com, 'In Indictment's Wake, a Focus on Cheney's Powerful Role) on the continuing investigation in the US regarding certain White House officials. One, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, was charged last week with making false statements and perjury. Libby was a confidant of Vice President Cheney. The Times article quotes someone as saying, " Scooter has fallen on his sword, and the focus is on him". There is considerable speculation that Libby sought to protect the Vice President by lying about certain conversations Libby had with reporters and others about a CIA agent.
KedraMany thanks to everybody. Seems like now I got much more knowledge on rituals than on the meaning of the expression. Emotion: wink I do not think that the context of my text has something to do with "someone taking the blame for someone else's actions." This is the text:

"And finally, don't fall on your sword if you lose the job. There could be a dozen reasons your proposal didn't make the cut; none of which have anything to do with the proposal."

Thanks again!

Here it means don't take a fatal step, one that you can't reverse.

Despite all the interesting accounts above, it's more likely to refer to ancient Roman custom, where disgraced citizens would commit suicide by falling onto their swords.
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