"In the dock" means being on trial or under accusation for an alleged crime or wrongdoing. The dock in this phrase refers to a spot in a courtroom where an accused individual sits throughout their trial. Figuratively, it describes a scenario in which someone faces questioning or criticism for their actions. In both situations, this phrase signifies being under close examination or judgment.
The phrase "in the dock" means someone is under intense scrutiny or judgment. People primarily use it in legal settings to describe a person on trial in a courtroom. However, its use has expanded to other situations where someone faces close questioning or examination.
Let's explore its core meanings and usage:
The expression "in the dock" originated from the legal system, specifically in British courts. The term "dock" refers to the enclosure or space where defendants sit during their trials. The metaphorical use of the phrase evolved to mean being in a situation where one is being judged or questioned about something, much like a defendant is in court.
"Upon considering all these circumstances I think that the motion will have to be granted, and that the prisoner will be placed in the dock."
- Report of the Proceedings in the Case of the United States Vs. Charles J Guiteau, 1882
To help you understand when to use this phrase, let's look at some examples from various situations:
The phrase might not be as prevalent in pop culture, but its concept has influenced various works, reflecting themes of judgment or scrutiny.
Let's explore some instances:
Below are some expressions that convey a similar meaning to in the dock:
"In the dock" refers to someone being under scrutiny, often for accusations of wrongdoing or an error they've committed. It can also mean the literal or metaphorical place of standing trial or facing judgment.
You can use it to indicate that someone is being examined or judged. For example: “My jaw dropped when they put him in the dock for such a minor offense.”
The phrase "in the dock" originates from legal jargon, referring to the place in a criminal court where the accused stands during a trial. It has evolved to symbolize being under examination or judgment in various contexts.
No, "in the dock" can be used in various situations to signify someone being judged or scrutinized, not just in legal settings.
Yes, organizations, companies, or even governments can be described as "in the dock" if they are under investigation or facing criticism.
Generally, being "in the dock" carries a negative connotation, as it implies being judged for wrongdoing or facing serious examination.
"In the dock" and "on trial" share similarities, but being "on trial" strictly refers to legal proceedings, while "in the dock" can be used metaphorically in various scenarios where someone is under scrutiny.
Yes, "in the dock" can be used in casual conversations to mean someone is under scrutiny or judgment by friends, family, or peers.
Some synonyms for "in the dock" include "under scrutiny," "being judged," "on the spot," or "under examination."
"In the dock" is more common in British English and may be understood differently in other English-speaking cultures. Understanding its use might depend on familiarity with legal terminology or context.
The idiom "in the dock" plays a significant role in both legal and everyday language. Its origins are rooted in legal terminology, but its usage has expanded to include a variety of contexts. Whether in a courtroom or in a social setting, being "in the dock" evokes a vivid image of being under scrutiny or judgment, adding depth and richness to our conversations.