Observing rather than taking part, out of the action, as in Bolivia’s neighbors remained on the sidelines, waiting to see which faction in the dispute would prevail. This idiom comes from sports. The sidelines are the two lines defining the sides of the court or playing field and the area immediately beyond them where, in such sports as football, the non-playing team members sit. [ First half of 1900s ]
- On the shake
adverb phrase Practicing extortion, blackmail, etc: You knew they was on the shake [1940s+; fr shakedown]
[on-th uh-spot, awn-] /ˈɒn ðəˌspɒt, ˈɔn-/ adjective 1. done or occurring at the time or place in question: an on-the-spot recording.
- On the side of the angels
Supporting the good side, as in Whatever you may think of him, on important issues he’s usually on the side of the angels. This expression was coined by Benjamin Disraeli in 1864 in a speech about Darwin’s theory that man is descended from apes: “The question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? […]
- On the throne
adverb phrase On the toilet; in the bathroom