I just used the phrase "to go off the reservation" -- in the context of the workplace, to go in a direction that management might not approve of -- and realized how strange it is. What are the (historical and present-day) connotations of that term?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
The Wiktionary entry for "off the reservation" three definitions for the expression:
The second definition also finds an entry in Safire's Political Dictionary which additionally also adds a note on its origin:
For an Indian to go off the reservation is to engage in disruptive activity outside normal bounds, so yes, it is offensive. Please do not use it. Reservations were prisons set up for people who were pushed off their own land. They are place of drunken misery and poverty.
protected by tchrist Jun 19 '14 at 18:35
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?