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Hard: At sixes and sevens

Hard: At sixes and sevens

Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.

Summary

Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase at sixes and sevens

You can find more lessons on the side of this page.

Transcript

Rich: Hello my name's Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.

Jack: Hi there! I'm Jack. We're here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.

Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

Jack: This episode is hard so we're looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.


Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: to be at sixes and sevens.

Jack: To be at sixes and sevens is an idiom which is used to describe being in a difficult, confusing or disorganised situation. Have a listen to this example:

Rich: How are things after moving house?

Jack: Everything's at sixes and sevens, to be honest. Boxes everywhere and I can't find anything. Everything's higgledy-piggledy.

Rich: A bit of unpacking still to do then.

Jack: Just a bit, yes.

Rich: So, in this example, Jack's house is very disorganised and he's in a state of total confusion because he can't find anything. Everything is very messy. Both the house and Jack are at sixes and sevens.

Jack: The idiom to be at sixes and sevens is very old and was even used by Chaucer and Shakespeare hundreds of years ago

Rich: They didn't connect it to football though, did they?

Jack: Not to my knowledge, no.


Rich: This idiom is quite common when we talk about football, especially when we're talking about defending. Have a listen to this example:

Jack: Not a great performance at the back. Every time they attacked we were at sixes and sevens. We were all over the place.

Rich: The defending for the third goal was awful.

Jack: We were at sixes and sevens. No organisation at all.

Rich: In this example, we're using the idiom to be at sixes and sevens to talk about defending but more specifically bad defending.

Jack: The defence is supposed to be the most organised part of a team so when we use this idiom we are saying the opposite.

Rich: We're describing bad defensive organization.


Jack: There is the final whistle!

Rich: We'll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.

Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.

Discuss

  • When was the last time you were at sixes and sevens?
  • Can you think of any other idioms or phrases that mean the same thing?

Write your answers in the comments section below.

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Comentários

Michaelsun
17/02/2022
CN
738
points

To give up is the some meaning of the phrase to be at six or seven.


Michaelsun
17/02/2022 09:56
China
Manchester United
738

To give up is the some meaning of the phrase to be at six or seven.

Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
30/04/2021
BR
1512
points

When the COVID 19 pandemics started. It was difficult to adapt my routine working from home.
I think when we say "messy" it could be the same meaning.


Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
30/04/2021 14:49
Brazil
Arsenal
1512

When the COVID 19 pandemics started. It was difficult to adapt my routine working from home.
I think when we say "messy" it could be the same meaning.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020
UA
6297
points

"In a muddle" and "in a jumble" are synonyms of "at sixes and sevens".


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020 18:44
Ukraine
Liverpool
6297

"In a muddle" and "in a jumble" are synonyms of "at sixes and sevens".

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020
UA
6297
points

at sixes and sevensIn complete disorder. The most likely source of the phrase is an old dice game called hazard, in which to bet on cinque and sice (from the French words for “five” and “six”) was particularly risky business. Anyone who did so was considered careless or confused. English-speaking players misheard or chose to pronounce cinque and sice as “sixes and sevens.” (c)


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020 18:36
Ukraine
Liverpool
6297

at sixes and sevensIn complete disorder. The most likely source of the phrase is an old dice game called hazard, in which to bet on cinque and sice (from the French words for “five” and “six”) was particularly risky business. Anyone who did so was considered careless or confused. English-speaking players misheard or chose to pronounce cinque and sice as “sixes and sevens.” (c)

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/09/2020
UA
6297
points

"Upside-down" could mean the same imho.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/09/2020 09:13
Ukraine
Liverpool
6297

"Upside-down" could mean the same imho.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/09/2020
UA
6297
points

My flat now looks a bit at sixes and sevens, but I'll take measures.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/09/2020 09:10
Ukraine
Liverpool
6297

My flat now looks a bit at sixes and sevens, but I'll take measures.

Hector Pinzon's picture
Hector Pinzon
24/04/2020
CO
496
points

when I have to organised my kitchen I am at sixes and sevens.


Hector Pinzon's picture
Hector Pinzon
24/04/2020 20:40
Colombia
Manchester United
496

when I have to organised my kitchen I am at sixes and sevens.

hsn's picture
hsn
20/04/2020
TR
5537
points

When I was retired without any notification. I was sixes and sevens.


hsn's picture
hsn
20/04/2020 18:33
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5537

When I was retired without any notification. I was sixes and sevens.

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3hsn5537
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4Serbia27344
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1Manchester United142699
2Liverpool110237
3Chelsea89350
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8West Ham United7538
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