Give An Inch Take A Mile

Contents: Meaning | Origin | Spread

Meaning

What does Give An Inch Take A Mile mean?

Give an inch take a mile build on the premise that if you give someone a small concession, then they tend to and will take advantage of you eventually.

In these situations, the person who is taking advantage of you has no boundaries and will repeatedly try to redo the particular action or behavior.

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Origin

What's the origin of Give An Inch Take A Mile?

The term goes back to the late 1800s, although we can’t bypass the famous work of John Heywood, which he published in 1546.

The publication was called “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue”.

In this book there is a line found which says: “Give him an inch and he’ll take an ell.”

An ell is a unit of measurement for cloth, but the underlying meaning of this sentence implicates the same as give and inch take a mile.

Spread & Usage

How did Give An Inch Take A Mile spread?

Give an inch take a mile is a commonly used idiom within English-speaking communities.

The Canadian punk-rock band named The Mods have a song called I Give You an Inch (You Take a Mile), which came out in the year 1966.

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