I recently picked up this phrase on a Netflix series and wonder what it means specifically. The situation was that a guy got information accidentally and was then chased by hostiles because he was aware of this information. The detective then said s.th. like "he probably turned a wrong rock".

I would assume that it means s.th. like

accidentally getting confidential information or information you shouldn't know of which brings you in a bad position

How would you describe it? And is there any similar phrase you could suggest to describe s.th. like this?

  • I am reminded of the childhood activity of searching for small crabs or other creatures under rocks on beaches. This guy turned over a pebble and found an angry bear, so to speak (more information than is appropriate for him to be aware of). Sep 8, 2020 at 16:59
  • Was about to say these idioms always use the word "stone" instead of "rock", but a quick web search tells me I'm wrong and there are in fact people that use the word "rock".
    – Dan Getz
    Sep 8, 2020 at 21:42
  • 1
    I think the expression is probably: He turned over the wrong rock. And not: turned a rock.
    – Lambie
    Sep 11, 2020 at 14:43

1 Answer 1



Following comments from @Tanner Swett and @Lambie, I revise my inputs.

The clause should more appropriately be

'He probably turned over the wrong rock".

Your interpretation is likely right, that it means accidentally discovering information which one should not be seen to know.

Besides that clause, perhaps bahramdipity can be considered.

'The detective then said something like he has probably become a victim of Bahramdipity.'

Bahramdipity the suppression of discovery, sometimes a serendipitous discovery, by the often- egomaniacal act of a more powerful individual who does cruelly punish, not merely disdain, a person (or persons) of lesser power...


  • The question is what the phrase "he probably turned a wrong rock" means. This post doesn't seem to answer the question. Sep 11, 2020 at 16:35

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