wait for the other shoe to drop

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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

A common experience of tenement living in apartment-style housing in New York City, and other large cities, during the manufacturing boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Apartments were built, similar in design, with the bedrooms located directly above and underneath one another. Thus, it was normal to hear a neighbor removing their shoes in the apartment above. As one shoe made a sound hitting the floor, the expectation for the other shoe to make a similar disturbance was created.

VerbEdit

wait for the other shoe to drop

  1. (idiomatic) To defer action or decision until another matter is finished or resolved.
  2. (idiomatic) To await a seemingly inevitable event, especially one that is not desirable.
    • 1969, "Golf: The Confidence Man," Time, 29 Aug.:
      After the tournament, Player admitted that all through the final round he had been nervously waiting for more trouble. "It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop."

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