Posted by Masakim on October 06, 2001
In Reply to: Stem the tide posted by jim dunphy on October 06, 2001
: does anyone know the meaning and origin of this phrase?
Stem the Tide. Arrest Arrest or divert a trend that is running
against one's interests. ... Fred A. Paley, writing in 1855 on the
tragedies of Ayschylus, said: "Aristophanes evidently saw the trend
that was setting in favour of the new candidate for scenic supremacy,
and he vainly tried to stem the tide by the barrier of his ridicule."
From _The Dictionary of Cliches_ by James Rogers
stem the tide
Stop the course of a trend or tendency, as in It is not easy to stem the tide of public opinion. This idiom uses stem in the sense of "stop" or "restrain." [Mid-1800s]
From _The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms_ by Christine Ammer