Broken Glass: When to Use the Idiomatic Expression “Broken Glass”

You may have heard somebody using the idiom broken glass during an English conversation, you may have also wondered what the meaning behind this term was. In this article, we are going to take a look at the meaning of the term as well as looking at the history behind it in order to discover where it first came from. We will also be taking a look at some examples of the phrase being used in a conversation to help us further understand how it functions.

Broken Glass

Broken Glass Definition

The idiom broken glass, or to use its full name ‘walking on broken glass‘ is used as a figurative way to refer to a punishment.

Origin of this phrase

The term broken glass comes from an old punishment of literally walking on broken glass, giving it the meaning it has today.

“Broken Glass” Examples

Example Sentences

We are now going to take a look at some sentences in which the term broken glass might appear.

The first is a statement being made in a letter.

  • My husband found out that I had an affair and he didn’t leave me but he certainly has me on broken glass.

The next sentence is one being said by someone at work.

  • I’m lucky to still have a job after what I did, the boss is going to have me on broken glass for a while.

Conversation Examples

There are a lot of conversations in which you may hear the term broken glass being used. Let’s take a look at some examples of what you might hear.

The first conversation is taking place between two friends.

  • Person 1: “Are you still angry at Jim for crashing your car?”
  • Person 2: “Yes, I am.”
  • Person 1: “How long are you going to have him walking on broken glass for?”

The second conversation is happening between a teacher and a student.

  • Person 1: “You really need to start handing in your homework on time.”
  • Person 2: “I always forget.”
  • Person 1: “I might be understanding but if the head teacher hears about this he will have you on broken glass for a long time.”

Other Ways to Say “Broken Glass”

There are a few other ways in which you can refer to the meaning of the term broken glass.

Let’s take a look at some of these ways to say the phrase with different wording.

  • In trouble
  • Facing someone’s wrath

Learn more with the useful video of popular idioms in English.

Walking on Broken Glass | Image

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