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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    missing the woods for the trees

    please give me the meaning of this idiom

  2. Hi_there_Carl's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
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    #2

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    The idiom is "I/you/they can't see the forest for the trees"

    It is is used in business a lot. It means that people are too busy with the details to focus on the problem.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #3

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Hi_there_Carl View Post
    The idiom is "I/you/they can't see the forest for the trees"

    It is is used in business a lot. It means that people are too busy with the details to focus on the problem.

    In little old Britain, it is "You can't see the wood for the trees" {{We are too small to have forests}}

  3. Hi_there_Carl's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    Ah, thank you Anglika... I did not know the idiom was different across the pond. Wood - a dense growth of trees usually greater in extent than a grove and smaller than a forest. As you may know this definition of "wood" is not in frequent use in North America. Thank you for your correction.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #5

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    Not really a correction - just filling in the full picture

    I am interested that across the pond "forest" has become the accepted word.


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    #6

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Hi_there_Carl View Post
    Ah, thank you Anglika... I did not know the idiom was different across the pond. Wood - a dense growth of trees usually greater in extent than a grove and smaller than a forest. As you may know this definition of "wood" is not in frequent use in North America.
    Isn't the word that you're thinking of 'woods', Carl? [I underlined it in your text.]


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    #7

  4. Hi_there_Carl's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
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    #8

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    Well we would usually say woods meaning a small forest... but in England they just say "wood" as in "He lived in a three acre wood."and that definition is also in our dictionary... so I guess you can use either "wood" or "woods" to mean the same thing.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #9

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    I'm not clear on what point it is that you're trying to make here, Anglika. We all readily agree that such an idiom exists.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #10

    Re: missing the woods for the trees

    Carl seems to have understood.

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