phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

The meaning and origin of the expression: Turn the tables

Browse phrases beginning with:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ - Full List


Turn the tables

more like this...
...other phrases about:

Meaning

turn the tablesReverse the positions of adversaries. The phrases is often used when the weaker position subsequently becomes dominant.

Origin

Games like backgammon are known as 'tables' games. The phrase 'turn the tables' derives from these games and from the practise of reversing the board so that players play from their opponent's previous position.

The first known example of the figurative use of the phrase in print is in Robert Sanderson's XII sermons, 1634:

"Whosoever thou art that dost another wrong, do but turn the tables: imagine thy neighbour were now playing thy game, and thou his."

See also: vice-versa.