The idiomatic phrase “walk the plank” is one that you may hear or see frequently used in everyday conversation or writing. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and some information regarding the phrase’s origin. You will also see some examples of how to use the phrase properly in conversations/statements and learn other ways the phrase can be said and still convey the same meaning.
Walk The Plank
Walk The Plank Definition
The idiomatic phrase “walk the plank” means forcing someone to quit or leave not of their own accord.
Origin of the English idiom
This idiom originated from a style of execution popular in the 17th century, especially among pirates. Pirates would take prisoners to sea with them and then make them walk the length of a slender piece of wood that extended from the side of the ship out over the water. Once the person reached the end, they were forced to jump in and drown in the ocean as punishment.
“Walk The Plank” Examples
Examples in Statements
A statement made in a local news report by a politician retiring his appointment to office.
- “It is with great sorrow that, due to the health issues I am currently experiencing, I am forced to walk the plank. I know that my successor will continue to do a great job for the community.”
A statement made by a disgruntled celebrity regarding a film she had been a part of.
- “I still can’t believe that the produced forced me to walk the plank. I wanted to be a part of that movie. It seems he had other ideas.”
Examples in Conversation
A conversation between two co-workers.
- Co-worker 1: I can’t believe that Jim up and quit yesterday.
- Co-worker 2: He didn’t quit.
- Co-worker 1: He didn’t? The whole office is buzzing with the news and everyone said he quit.
- Co-worker 2: No, he didn’t quit. He was forced to walk the plank by upper management for the fiasco that occurred last week.
Other Ways to Say “Walk The Plank”
As is the case with all idiomatic phrases, there are many ways to say “walk the plank” and convey the same meaning.
Some other ways you can say this phrase include:
- Forced to say goodbye
- Forced to say farewell
- Forced to quit or leave