to sit on the fence

Idiom Definition

"to sit on the fence"

not able to or not willing to make a decision;

often not being able to decide for an extended period

Idiom Definition - to sit on the fence


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to sit on the fence

Gail is in her last semester of high school.  She has been accepted to attend three different colleges.  Gail has been trying to make a decision for three weeks.  She has looked at the benefits of each college.  She has filled out all the application forms but still she is not able to make a decision.  Gail is sitting at her desk staring at the forms when her mother says, "Gail, the deadline for application to college is tomorrow. You must make a decision."

"You can not sit on the fence any longer!"

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to sit on the fence

Barbara has been Steve's girlfriend for almost two years.  In that time, she has almost ended the relationship many times.  She knows that they have no future together but Barbara just can not make the decision to end the relationship.  The decision has taken so long that the process of deciding has become painful to even think about.  Barbara thinks to herself...

"I need to quit sitting on the fence.

Sometimes, when a person sits on the fence for too long, the decision becomes very difficult and can produce a great deal of anxiety.

to sit on the fence - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   856   click for frequency by country

to sit on the fence - Gerund Form:

Sitting on the fence could be interpreted as procrastination.

to sit on the fence - Examples:

1)  I sit on the fence when I can not make a decision.

2)  You sit on the fence because a decision is difficult.

3)  He sits on the fence when he feels unsure.

4)  She sits on the fence in order to postpone a decision.

5)  The government sits on the fence when elections are near.

6)  We sit on the fence when we need more time.

7)  You (all) sit on the fence when there is an important decision to make.

8)  They sit on the fence until they miss the deadline.

9)  They can choose to support their government or they can choose to sit on the fence. The bottom line is that we need to be patient.

10) Few people know the price he's paid for refusing to sit on the fence about controversial social issues. 

11)  Some I suspect will sit on the fence for a while longer to see how the race plays out.

12)  Women sit on the fence for months, often years before leaving a toxic relationship.

13)  Were I to be Clegg I would sit on the fence and watch how things develop.

14)  Those that do choose to sit on the fence are doomed to mediocrity and are at risk of appearing boring.

15)  I'm sorry to sit on the fence but I don't think there's a right or wrong answer.

16)  The official stance of the US was to sit on the fence whilst they thought that Argentina might still back down.

17)  I think I'll sit on the fence on this one, don't want to get mud slung in my face.

18)  You can not sit on the fence an entire year, but that's exactly what the EU has been doing.

19)  I will sit on the fence, not because of the decision, but I am just not convinced.

20)  This time we'll sit on the fence and let you decide.