Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

get (your) (lines/wires) crossed

get your lines crossedget your wires crossed
Meaning(s)
1) have a misunderstanding or miscommunication with somebody
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional LowSocial
    • we seem to have our wires crossed
  • Analysis
    This expression takes a term originally used in a literal sense to describe a misplacement of a call at a telephone operator's switchboard and transfers it to a figurative miscommunication between people. It can be used in reference to any form of communication and is often heard in a professional context where a breakdown in communication is more likely to occur and have greater consequences. To 'get your wires crossed' means to experience a miscommunication between two people or groups. Expressions with similar meanings are 'get the wrong end of the stick,' and 'be at cross purposes.'
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. We seem to have got our wires crossed. You thought your appointment was today but I have you down in my diary for next week.
    2. Tom must have his lines crossed. I ordered 200 units, not 20!
    3. Sorry, I seem to have served you the wrong main course. I've been getting my wires crossed all evening!
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. Sorry, I think this was a big misunderstanding I didn't mean to upset you. I think we got our wires crossed.
    2. Did we get our wires crossed? I thought we were meeting today at lunchtime.
  • Further Suggestions
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