English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What does the phrase "red rovering" mean? Here is the context:

Over a decade ago, Billy Bob’s career began in the corporate world before red-rovering to agency life.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, StoneyB, Carlo_R., Kris, MετάEd Nov 25 '12 at 9:26

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It’s from the children’s game of Red Rover.

It just means he “went over” to the other team, whatever that is in this context.

Although the children’s game is innocent enough, the Red Rover from James Fenimore Cooper’s tale is not a rover in the sense of some idle roamer or wanderer, but rather rover in the sense of a reaver — so a pirate. It almost asks to be taken as having some connotation of corporate raiding.

share|improve this answer
I'm intrigued by what else is implied by that choice of expression. As you implied, the context isn't really known. – Kristina Lopez Nov 23 '12 at 17:53
@KristinaLopez What more is implied? Considering that J.F. Cooper’s famed Red Rover was a reaver-type rover, not a roaming-type rover, perhaps the implication might be more of a predatory raider or pirate thing than someone who’s merely wandered off on walkabout one day. Just musing here. – tchrist Nov 23 '12 at 18:00
+1, and you beat me to it. "Red Rover, Red Rover, let Tommy come over!" – Robusto Nov 23 '12 at 18:18
@tchrist, if I wanted to imply red-rovering, I would not assume a walkabout. In the game, you only get to go back to your team if you break through - so what does joining the other team imply? Weakness, concession? hmmmm! – Kristina Lopez Nov 23 '12 at 18:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.