How Did the Expression “Sitting On the Fence” For Someone Indecisive Originate and What Does the Idiom Mean?

During the Revolutionary War, a prominent New Jersey jurist, Judge Imlay, hadn’t yet committed to either the revolutionaries or the loyalists.

So when Washington encountered one of Imlay’s slaves he asked him which way the judge was leaning.

Washington was so amused by the response that he retold it enough times for it to become part of our language.

how did the expression sitting on the fence for someone indecisive originate and what does the idiom mean

He said, “Until my master knows which is the strongest group, he’s staying on the fence.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.