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

Idiom language: English

The Meaning of “send away”

At its core, “send away” means to dismiss or remove something or someone from a particular place or situation. It can be used in both formal and informal settings and is often accompanied by specific actions, such as physically escorting someone out of a room.

Common Usage Examples

There are many ways that “send away” can be used in everyday conversation. Some common examples include:

  • “I had to send my assistant away for the day.”
  • “The boss sent me away when I suggested a new project.”
  • “Can you please send these documents away for me?”

In each of these cases, the speaker is using the idiom “send away” to convey their desire for something or someone to be removed from their current situation.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “send away”

The idiom “send away” has been used in English language for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to Old English, where it was commonly used as a verb phrase meaning to dismiss or discharge someone or something. Over time, the phrase evolved and its usage expanded to include various contexts.

Throughout history, the idiom “send away” has been used in different ways depending on the cultural and social context of the time. In medieval times, lords would send their vassals away when they were no longer needed for military service. During colonial times, slave owners would send slaves away if they were deemed unproductive or disobedient.

In literature and popular culture, the idiom “send away” has also been used extensively. It is often employed as a plot device in novels and films where characters are sent away from home or forced to leave their loved ones behind.

Today, the idiom “send away” is still widely used in everyday conversation. It can refer to anything from sending an email or letter to dismissing an employee from work. Despite its long history and varied usage over time, this idiomatic expression remains a relevant part of modern English language.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “send away”

When it comes to idioms, there are often many variations in their usage depending on the context. The same is true for the idiom “send away”. This phrase can be used in a variety of ways to convey different meanings and emotions.

One common use of “send away” is to indicate that someone has been dismissed or asked to leave. For example, if a customer at a restaurant was being disruptive, they might be sent away by the manager. In this case, “send away” implies that the person is unwanted and needs to go elsewhere.

Another way that “send away” can be used is to describe sending something or someone off on a journey or mission. For instance, if someone were going on a business trip overseas, they might say that they were being sent away by their company. Here, “send away” suggests an obligation or duty rather than dismissal.

There are also more figurative uses of this idiom. For example, one might say that they have sent their worries or fears away in order to focus on something else. In this case, “send away” means letting go of negative thoughts or emotions.

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


Some common synonyms for “send away” include:

  • Dismiss: This word has a formal connotation and is often used in professional settings.
  • Send off: This phrase is more casual than “dismiss” but still implies a sense of finality.
  • Banish: This word has a negative connotation and suggests that someone or something is being forced to leave against their will.
  • Exile: Similar to banish, this word implies that someone or something is being sent away from their home or familiar surroundings.


Antonyms are words with opposite meanings. Some antonyms for “send away” include:

  • Welcome: This word means to greet someone warmly and invite them in rather than send them away.
  • Invite: To invite someone means to ask them to come rather than dismiss them.
  • Retain: To retain something means to keep it rather than send it away.

Cultural Insights:

The use of idioms varies across cultures, so it’s important to understand how they are perceived by different groups of people. In some cultures, such as Japan, it’s considered impolite to directly tell someone to leave. Instead, they may use indirect language or gestures to suggest that it’s time for the person to go. In other cultures, such as the United States, it’s more common to use straightforward language when dismissing someone.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “send away”

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blanks

Complete the following sentences by using appropriate forms of “send away”.

  1. The boss decided to _________ the lazy employee.
  2. I will ___________ my old clothes to charity.
  3. The hotel staff refused to ___________ the noisy guests.
  4. We should ___________ our fears and doubts before making a decision.

Exercise 2: Role Play

Divide into pairs and act out a scenario where one person needs to ask another person to leave or go away. Use “send away” in your conversation as much as possible. Switch roles after each round and try different situations, such as asking someone to leave a party or telling an unwanted visitor to go home.

By practicing these exercises, you can improve your ability to use “send away” correctly and effectively in everyday communication. Keep practicing until it becomes second nature!

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

When using the idiom “send away,” it is important to be aware of common mistakes that can lead to confusion or miscommunication. Here are some tips on how to avoid these mistakes:

Avoid Taking the Literal Meaning

The idiom “send away” does not mean physically sending someone or something away. It means dismissing, rejecting, or refusing someone or something. Therefore, taking its literal meaning can lead to misunderstandings.

Avoid Using It in Inappropriate Situations

The idiom “send away” should only be used in situations where it is appropriate and necessary. Using it casually or in inappropriate situations can come across as rude or dismissive.

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