Understanding the Idiom: "fend away" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English
Etymology: From fend + away.

The idiom “fend away” is a commonly used phrase in English language. It refers to the act of defending oneself or someone else from danger, harm, or unwanted attention. The phrase can also be used in situations where one needs to protect their interests or belongings from others.

Origins and Evolution

The exact origins of the idiom “fend away” are unclear, but it has been used in English language for centuries. The word “fend” comes from Old English “féondian,” meaning to defend or protect against enemies. Over time, it evolved into its current form as an idiomatic expression.

Usage and Examples

Situation Example Sentence
Dangerous Situation “I had to fend away the attacker with my pepper spray.”
Unwanted Attention “She had to fend away his advances at the party.”
Protecting Interests/Belongings “He fended away other bidders at the auction to win the painting.”

The above table provides examples of how the idiom “fend away” can be used in different situations. It is important to note that the phrase is often used in a figurative sense, as well as a literal one.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “fend away”

The idiom “fend away” has a long history that dates back to ancient times. It is believed that the phrase originated from the practice of using a stick or weapon to fend off wild animals or attackers. Over time, the meaning of the phrase evolved to include fending off any kind of danger or threat.

In medieval Europe, knights would use their swords to fend away enemies during battles. The phrase was also commonly used in seafaring communities where sailors would use oars or poles to fend off rocks and other obstacles while navigating through rough waters.

As society progressed, the idiom became more figurative in nature and began to be used in everyday language. Today, it is often used to describe someone who is able to successfully defend themselves against criticism, negativity, or unwanted advances.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “fend away”

When it comes to communication, idioms are an essential part of any language. They add color and depth to our conversations, making them more interesting and engaging. One such idiom is “fend away,” which has its roots in the English language.

The phrase “fend away” means to defend or protect oneself from something or someone. It can also be used to describe someone who is trying to keep a problem or issue at bay. The idiom is often used in situations where one needs to ward off danger or unwanted attention.

There are several variations of this idiom that you may come across in your everyday conversations. For instance, instead of saying “fend away,” some people might say “ward off” or “keep at bay.” These phrases have similar meanings and can be used interchangeably depending on the context.

Another variation of this idiom is “fend for oneself,” which means to take care of oneself without any help from others. This phrase is often used when someone finds themselves in a difficult situation with no one else around to help them out.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “fend away”


– Ward off

– Repel

– Deflect

– Keep at bay

– Resist

These words can be used interchangeably with “fend away” in certain situations. For instance, instead of saying “I fended away the mosquitoes,” one could say “I warded off the mosquitoes.”


– Attract

– Welcome

– Embrace

– Invite

These words have opposite meanings to “fend away.” They suggest that someone or something is being welcomed or embraced rather than repelled. For example, if someone says they are attracting bees instead of fending them away.

Cultural Insights:

The concept of fending something or someone away is not unique to English-speaking cultures. In many cultures around the world, people use gestures or objects to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. In some Asian countries such as Japan and China, people use amulets called omamori to protect themselves from harm.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “fend away”

In order to become proficient in using the idiom “fend away”, it is important to practice its application in various contexts. The following exercises will help you develop a better understanding of how to use this idiom effectively.

Exercise 1: Write five sentences using “fend away” in different situations. For example, “I had to fend away the mosquitoes while camping last weekend.”

Exercise 2: Watch a movie or TV show and identify any instances where a character uses the idiom “fend away”. Take note of the context and try to understand why they used that particular phrase.

Exercise 3: Role-play with a friend or colleague and practice using “fend away” in conversation. This will help you feel more comfortable using the idiom naturally.

Exercise 4: Read articles or books that contain examples of “fend away”. Pay attention to how authors use this idiom and try to incorporate their techniques into your own writing.

Exercise 5: Create flashcards with different scenarios on one side and potential responses containing “fend away” on the other. Practice going through these flashcards until you can easily come up with appropriate responses.

The more you practice using the idiom “fend away”, the easier it will become to incorporate it into your everyday language. By completing these practical exercises, you’ll be well on your way towards mastering this useful expression!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “fend away”

When it comes to using idioms, it’s important to understand their meaning and proper usage. The idiom “fend away” is no exception. However, even with a good grasp of its definition, there are common mistakes that people make when using this phrase.

Mistake #1: Confusing “fend off” with “fend away”

One mistake that people often make when using the idiom “fend away” is confusing it with a similar phrase, “fend off”. While both phrases imply defending oneself against something or someone, they have different meanings. To fend off means to repel or ward off an attack or danger. On the other hand, to fend away means to keep something at bay or prevent it from getting too close without necessarily attacking it.

Mistake #2: Using the wrong preposition

Another common mistake when using the idiom “fend away” is using the wrong preposition after it. The correct preposition to use is “from”, not “off”. For example: He fended his opponent away from him during the boxing match.

Mistake Correction
Fending off mosquitoes Fending mosquitoes away from me
I had to fend him off my property I had to fend him away from my property

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you use the idiom “fend away” correctly and effectively in your conversations and writing.

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