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People often say "Coming through!" to announce their arrival and it's implied that the crowd should make room for them.

There's a more direct phrasal verb that I can't recollect right now. What is it? What are the other ways to convey the same?

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    Why can't use use your own "Make way"? Sep 13, 2022 at 17:34
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    FYI - Be aware that making your way through a crowd and using a rude or aggressive phrase can make people in the crowd quite angry with you. Coming through and Out of my way are going to result in two different reactions from the crowd. Coming through indicates to the crowd that you will be pushing through them, all they have to do is be prepared. Out of my way tells people in the crowd you expect them to move for you -- not a good first impression -- someone will probably respond rudely to you.
    – EllieK
    Sep 13, 2022 at 18:15
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    @EllieK-Don'tsupporther - 'someone will probably respond rudely to you.' - possibly by not getting out of your way. I know I might. UK people tend to say 'excuse me!" many times. Sep 13, 2022 at 18:43
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    @Satya - Yes it would work just fine. You may want to add an occasional excuse me as you bump into people while wending your way through the crowd.
    – EllieK
    Sep 13, 2022 at 20:53
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    To build on @EllieK-Don'tsupporther's comment, I can think of three basic uses of the command. (1) Civilly requesting priority, (2) uncivilly demanding priority, and (3) an authorized demand for priority. (1) Someone late to work may call out "coming through!" But they're far more likely to say "excuse me" or "please let me pass." (2) A bully would say "out of the way!" or "Move!" (3) The police might yell "Police! Stand aside!" or an officer on a naval vessel might say, "Make a hole!" (1) may be irritating, but most won't take offense. (2) is always offensive. (3) is obligatory, liked or not.
    – JBH
    Sep 14, 2022 at 3:49

5 Answers 5

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In American English we say make way (you have to scroll to the end of the verb definitions to find it), while the British tend to say gangway. Both of these are interjections you would shout at a crowd in the hopes they'd make room for you.

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    UV for the gangway. I was about to post "make way" but OP has already used this. Sep 13, 2022 at 17:41
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    Except no one would ever say make way or gangway when pushing through a crowd, not in the U.S. Well, maybe if they were in a movie from the 1930s but not in the modern world. Your only options here are excuse me and coming through. They would most often be combined into excuse me, coming through.
    – EllieK
    Sep 13, 2022 at 18:23
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    @Satya Yes, "Let me through" is 100% natural
    – gotube
    Sep 13, 2022 at 20:40
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    As a native BrE speaker, if someone shouted "gangway" at me I would have no idea what they were talking about. This phrase is either very obscure or very old-fashioned. To me, "gangway" just means the thing you walk along to access a ship. Sep 14, 2022 at 7:53
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    For what it's worth, the OED defines the interjection gangway as follows: "Originally Military. As a demand or warning to get out of the way: ’Make way!’ ‘Stand back!’"; the latest use listed in the OED is from 1992 ("‘Gangway, gangway, serious casualty here. Make way, make way’, he yelled, butting at the bodies in front of him."). This supports the comments that question gangway's appropriateness for a normal, non-official use.
    – Schmuddi
    Sep 14, 2022 at 15:28
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I would have to say that all the suggestions offered seem to me rather abrupt and would all be improved by the addition of please.

Another alternative used in my experience (BrE) is "Mind your backs" but "Excuse me" is probably more common.

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"Make way" is a bit formal, but it's firm and can be polite. Some less polite alternate phrasal verbs include:

  • Move over!
  • Move aside!
  • Step aside!

Not a phrasal verb, but similar in meaning and rudeness:

  • Out of the way!
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Another alternative is "make a hole", although I would say "make way" is far more common.

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    I've never heard this. Is it British?
    – Barmar
    Sep 14, 2022 at 14:30
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    I've only ever heard it from sailors (as in US Navy), but at least in the 90s it was common. Don't think I've ever heard it from a civilian though. Sep 14, 2022 at 16:37
  • "Make a path" would sound a little more natural to me, and I think I've heard it before, though perhaps not often enough enough for it to really be called an idiom. In any case, I've PROBABLY heard both. I'm a native English speaker from Texas, by the way.
    – Mr. Nichan
    Sep 14, 2022 at 23:15
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If you are coming up from behind someone else, and especially if you are moving quickly or need to get somewhere urgently, I would also suggest "on your left!" or "on your right!" (depending on which side of the person you intend to pass). This phrase is commonly exclaimed by bikers or joggers (as seen in the above linked clip from the Captain America movie) as they pass someone on their route. I have also heard this exclaimed by a flight attendant as they needed to get past people on a crowded jet bridge.

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