phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

The best way

Posted by R. Berg on May 08, 2007

In Reply to: The best way posted by ESC on May 07, 2007

: : : I got stuck searching for a phrase in English, that could describe not the most optimal/efficient way of solving the problem or doing something, for example, going from Rome to Milan via New York. Does such phrase exist?

: :
: : There are several, depending on the kind of problem. The directional kind, as in your example, can be called a "roundabout" solution. A machine or device or process that's wildly inefficient can be called a "Rube Goldberg" solution, after the cartoonist who used to draw absurd machines with twenty different steps to accomplish a simple task. (There is a UK equivalent to Rube, from the same era, named Heath Robinson.)

: The computer guys at work talk about a "work around." Not actually solving the problem but coming up a way to work around it. Then there's "beat around the bush" and go "around Robin Hood's barn." See

"Taking the long way around" is used, and not only for journeys. Doing something "the hard way" is common, too, or used to be. ~rb