far be it from » far be it for

Chiefly in:   far be it for me

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Far be it for me or anyone else to decide when it is time for any man to retire but he does not have alot of professional football left! (tsn.ca forum)
  • Far Be It For Me to Give Advice… (The Eleven Day Empire, blog, September 03, 2003)
  • Far be it for us to denounce leaks. (NYT Editorial, July 13, 2005)
  • Far be it for him to offer prescriptions for the GOP. “I’m not elected to represent the Republicans,” Schwarzenegger said over the course of a 55-minute interview with The Washington Monthly. (Washington Monthly, May 5, 2005)
  • If your mother-in-law is legitimately afraid of Pa, far be it for you to try to convince her otherwise. (KTVU.com, August 2, 2005)

First pointed out to me by Brian Joseph on 8 January 2005. On 11 January there were ca. 19,500 Google web hits.

Possibly a blend of “far be it from X” and “it’s not for X”, both of which take infinitival complements. This analysis is suggested by the fact that the first idiom seems to be most comfortable in the first-person singular (??”Far be it from Kim/you/anyone to complain!”), while the second is not so constrained (”It’s not for Kim/you/anyone to complain!”), and “far be it for” is like the second:

(For what it’s worth, on 16 March 2005 I got ca. 601 Google web hits for “far be it for him”. Much less that for “far be it for me”, but not close to zero.)

[Entry updated following Tom Rossen’s comment. I have added a persistent link (free registration required) to the archived NYT editorial, which starts with the quoted sentence. CW, Aug 9, 2005]

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/03/16 |

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.