What is the correct way to interpret the expression " Fall over each other with doing something"? Not sure if this question should be posted to English Learners our Chinese Stack Exchange, asI found this definition as the explanation of the meaning of the Chinese character 争 (zheng1) in a bilingual dictionary. Thanks.

  • 1
    See here.
    – user3395
    Jun 1 '16 at 10:21
  • 4
    Imagine an old movie: When the beautiful woman takes out a cigarette from her purse, the rival suitors are "falling over each other" to light it for her. Jun 1 '16 at 10:25

It means being extremely eager to do something, especially when the haste to do it right away causes problems or errors.

When the Admiral sneezed, junior officers were falling all over each other to pass her a tissue. Two even collided with each other and had to go to sick bay.

Imagine a group of navy officers all pushing one another out of the way to get in the Admiral's good graces.

When Boeing announced their intent to open a new plant, State Governments were falling over each other to offer tax incentives and favourable legal environments.

State representatives, in their eagerness to get a big contract for their state, might find themselves offering so many incentives to the company that they end up losing money overall.

When Michelle, my high-school crush, asked for help with her homework, I was falling over myself to do it for her.

So eager to help the girl that the speaker perhaps put themselves in a bad position.


The meaning of this phrase is "to be excessively eager to do something" (ODO).

  • 2
    Falling all over each other - a group of excessively eager people. Falling all over himself - a single excessively eager person
    – miltonaut
    Jun 1 '16 at 11:21

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