Most of what we are exposed to on the internet in today’s society is driven by popularity. Everyone follows a set routine when they first get online at the start of the day: checking e-mail, browsing some of our preferred websites, updating friends on our lives via social media etc., but despite what you may think, the order in which we choose to seek out information online after this point is largely predetermined. No matter the website, we are more likely to click on information that is featured on the homepage before executing our own searches for information. This is also present on social media in the form of trending lists or hashtags. Each respective list is trying to vie for viewer attention and send the message that these are the most important topics or stories of the day. If you’ve ever felt duped by one of these stories, you can relate to our latest idiom: “walk free.”

Idiom: Walk Free

Definition: To “walk free” is to literally and figuratively walk without restrictions. The phrase is often used in conversations involving wrongdoings, bails, punishments and paroles.

walk freeThe phrase “walk free” is predominantly used in legal proceedings concerning criminal charges and punishments. It means being released from a charge without its usual punishment. Alternatively, it may also mean receiving a lesser form of penalty than what is expected or deserved.

Example sentence: To the dismay of everyone, the judge allowed the alleged perpetrator to walk free due to a technicality.

Origin: Before being part of the American criminal vocabulary, the idiom “walk free” had been used in its literal form countless times. The phrase was first cited in print in 1764 from a book entitled Seneca’s Morals by Way of Abstract. The use of the phrase in the book is loosely connected to today’s common use of the term.

To date, the earliest use of the idiom relating to American crime and punishment was in 1925, from the Connecticut broadsheet, The Bridgeport Telegram. After a while, Americans had shortened the two-word phrase into a single word with the same implication. Walk free is now synonymous to just ‘walk.’

Accent Reduction idioms series

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