Idiom – At Sixes and Sevens
At sixes and sevens – Idiom of the Day
A chaotic state of affairs
History dates back to the 14th century. Merchant Taylors who were tailors and Skinners Livery Companies who were fur makers were competing for the sixth position in order of precedence. After a lot of squabble, Sir Robert Billesden, Lord Mayor of London, sorted out the issue. He ordered that these trading companies take the sixth and seventh position alternatively, every year. The practice continues till date and each takes the sixth position every alternative year.
Friend 1: Did you hear the news? The famous actress is about to tie the knot with the richest businessman in the city.
Friend 2: That’s old news. She has recently bagged an offer from Hollywood.
Friend 1: So is the news about the wedding is a rumour?
Friend 2: No one knows. The news must have left the businessman at sixes and sevens for sure.
(Two friends on a bike during a procession)
Friend 1: Hey look! The policeman is asking us to take a diversion. Let’s take left.
Friend 2: That’s a better idea.
Friend 1: Oh No! There is a policeman here as well. He is asking people to move straight.
Friend 2: There aren’t any proper arrangements for the procession. It has left us at sixes and sevens.
Brother: From the will, it is not clear as to whom the redwood dining table should go to.
Sister: I told father to mention it clearly in the will. But he did not do it.
Brother: Yes. The will has left us at sixes and sevens.
Go through the examples to understand the usage of the idiom:
1. The new budget is at sixes and sevens on the taxes.
2. The unpredictable northwest monsoons always keeps the farmers at sixes and sevens.
3. The new syllabi has left the students at sixes and sevens.