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  1. #1
    okok is offline Junior Member
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    Question Lean in to / Lean back

    All the hype around an upcoming book by Facebook's COO on women and work, titled "Lean ln", made me wonder about the exact meaning of the phrases "Lean ln" and "Lean back".

    One of the reviews includes an explanation: "The title comes from her advice ... for women to lean in to their work rather than lean back, as many tend to do for a variety of reasons at key points in their careers."

    I get the general idea, but not clearly enough. Is this a metaphor? An image of someone leaning forward or backward I should have in my mind? Are these expressions with a known meaning that would be clear to native English speakers?

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    Quote Originally Posted by okok View Post
    All the hype around an upcoming book by Facebook's COO on women and work, titled "Lean ln", made me wonder about the exact meaning of the phrases "Lean ln" and "Lean back".

    One of the reviews includes an explanation: "The title comes from her advice ... for women to lean in to their work rather than lean back, as many tend to do for a variety of reasons at key points in their careers."

    I get the general idea, but not clearly enough. Is this a metaphor? An image of someone leaning forward or backward I should have in my mind? Are these expressions with a known meaning that would be clear to native English speakers?
    I've never met with them.

  3. #3
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    Quote Originally Posted by okok View Post
    All the hype around an upcoming book by Facebook's COO on women and work, titled "Lean ln", made me wonder about the exact meaning of the phrases "Lean ln" and "Lean back".

    One of the reviews includes an explanation: "The title comes from her advice ... for women to lean in to their work rather than lean back, as many tend to do for a variety of reasons at key points in their careers."

    I get the general idea, but not clearly enough. Is this a metaphor? An image of someone leaning forward or backward I should have in my mind? Are these expressions with a known meaning that would be clear to native English speakers?
    If you lean into something you go toward it. A person can lean into their work (become very active in their work) as a person can lean into the engine of an automobile (bend forward toward the engine). If you lean back from something, you go away from it.

  4. #4
    okok is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    Thanks. Is this expression an original coinage of the author, or something that has been used before?

  5. #5
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    Quote Originally Posted by okok View Post
    Thanks. Is this expression an original coinage of the author, or something that has been used before?
    It's fairly common where I live.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    It's fairly common where I live.
    I have no argument with that.

    I just have to say that I (a speaker of old-fashioned BrE) understood neither 'lean in' nor 'lean back' in those sentences.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    As a speaker of AusE, I'd have to admit that, while not knowing those terms, I would make of them what Gil said.
    But I'd question whether some women - such as SCUBA divers, sword swallowers, waltz dancers - really should be leaning forwards into their work rather than backwards.

  8. #8
    okok is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Lean in to / Lean back

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    As a speaker of AusE, I'd have to admit that, while not knowing those terms, I would make of them what Gil said.
    But I'd question whether some women - such as SCUBA divers, sword swallowers, waltz dancers - really should be leaning forwards into their work rather than backwards.


    Thanks for all the answers.

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