The idiom "wide of the mark" is mostly found with the verbs "to be" and "to fall".

Would it be expedient to use this expression freely with other verbs? If it would, what can these verbs be?

For example: "If all our developments turn wide of the mark we will come short of any further advance."?

  • Hit, strike, land, that I know of for figurative use; arrive is mainly literal. I don't think 'turn' would work; it's all about the arrival. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


The idiom "wide of the mark" has its origins in target shooting, whether modern or historical weapons (e.g. archery) or other similar situations (e.g. darts).

Your shot has landed "wide of the mark", i.e. you've missed the marked target. This is by extension used to refer to someone being wrong about something.

As such, an appropriate verb would have to be related to missing targets.

  • How do you think, will phrasal verbs work? Such as:"...developments came off wide of the mark" or "...came out wide of the mark"? Maybe some other phrasal verbs can be used?
    – Eugene
    Commented Feb 5, 2022 at 9:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .