살다보면 뜻하지 않게 남의 기분을 상하게 할 수 있다. 마치 의도치 않게 누군가의 발을 밟는 것처럼 말이다.

예를 들지면,
  1. 리더는 따로 지정되어있는데, 한 멤버가 너무 나서면서 리더의 위상을 떨어뜨릴 때
  2. 상사에게 잘 보이려고 한 행동이, 동료에게 피해가 갈 때 (은연중에 나는 효율적이고, 동료는 게으르다는 인상을 남김)
  3. “아우 여기 음식점 음식이 왜 이렇게 맛 없어?“라고 옆 친구에게 투덜댔는데, 알고보니 친구 아버님이 운영하시는 식당일 때
이렇게 남의 기분을 상하게 하는 행동을 영어로 어떻게 표현할까? “ I just want to make sure I am not accidently stepping on anybody’s toes here


  1. to upset someone, esp. by getting involved in something that is that person’s responsibility:


이 표현은 잘만사용하면 elegant한 인상을 줄 수 있다. 특히 사람을 상대하는 일에서 말이다.

궁극적으로는 “upset someone” 의 의미를 가지고 있지만,
실수로 발을 밟는 것처럼
“의도되지 않은 ” 뉘앙스 띄기 때문이다 이런 이유때문인지 몰라도, 사람들과 정치를 잘하는 사람들이 이 표현을 적절하게 쓰는 것을 몇번 들었다. “Opps. Did I step on someone’s toes here?”


  • Oh, you know, I knew as soon as I opened my mouth that I was stepping on toes, but Amita’s geographic network was not going to work. What else could I do? (Numb3rs)
  • What I meant to say is, since you’re acting director, you can’t be afraid to step on toes. (24 6AFF20)
  • But she was the one who got things done. Ticked people off, stepped on toes, but the food was on the table. (Remedy)
  • Robert stepped on toes to close a deal, I suppose, but he was shooting for v. P. By the end of the year. (Criminal Minds)
  • As far as stepped on toes and wounded pride, I’ll buy everyone a drink when we head for home. Not until. I got more to worry about. (Perfect World)


  • Manuel’s call for lower tariffs in autos stepped on toes across the political spectrum. (Bloomberg)
  • Sometimes you have to step on toes to get your way. (NYT)
  • As one MBA student surveyed by BusinessWeek noted: “This is not a place where people throw sharp elbows or step on toes for personal gain.” (Bloomberg)


  • Ok I just wanted to make sure. I am not hear to step on toes or cause problems for anyone.
  • It’s difficult to know which bridge to cross and which to burn. Especially in an industry like this, stepping on toes has become inevitable.
  • you should never be afraid to step on toes to get to the top, as long as you don’t betray those who’s shoulders helped carry you there


  • Now let me say one more thing that may step on a few toes


  • Is it a slang? No
  • Can I use it in a email? Yes
  • Can I use it in a formal setting? Yes

context plot Source: Davies, Mark. (2008-) The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/