You get in the way of someone walking towards you, and both of you stop. You step to the left, and so does the other person. You step to the right, so does the other person. You basically mirror each other's movements for a short time unintentionally, before finally figuring out a way.

This happens quite often in everyday life. How do I describe this in short? Is there a widely understood or immediately obvious phrase for it?

EDIT: Max Williams's answer has a link to a reddit post. One of the users there suggests "sidewalk shuffle". I've never heard of it myself, but I feel it's pretty obvious what it means. Is this a common phrase in the US or other English speaking countries?

  • Note I found that duplicate while googling 'sidewalk shuffle' define. The OP is invited to do the same. – Arm the good guys in America Nov 2 '17 at 14:15
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    Funny how that post doesn't mention "sidewalk shuffle" anywhere. Nevertheless, the question IS an exact duplicate. – insanity Nov 2 '17 at 14:42
  • Yeah, you, or someone else, could write an answer, based on Google results of sidewalk shuffle (I myself don't use the term). And @MaxWilliams could transfer his answer to the other question if he wanted; I've never heard of the word he mentions. – Arm the good guys in America Nov 2 '17 at 14:47

It's a blisterfeld (note 'feld' not 'field', a common misspelling).


Meaning : The situation in which when one is walking and nearly collides with another person, then each awkwardly shuffles from side to side in an attempt to pass the other, but they each take a step to the same side, and therefore block one another once again. This one step to the side is usually followed up by another step to the other side, by both people. One typically then relinquishes walking space to the other, so that they may continue on their way.

Example : I was walking down the street, when I had a blisterfeld with this other guy. It took us a couple of seconds to get past each other.

This isn't a widely used word, I think, but I don't know of a more widely used one.

There are lots of interesting non-English words/phrases for it, and amusing suggestions, here.

  • I like some of the phrases in the linked page. Specifically "Sidewalk shuffle". Is that a common enough phrase? – insanity Nov 2 '17 at 12:40
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    @insanity I don't know. I think that, unlike "blisterfeld", someone could guess the meaning of it. – Max Williams Nov 2 '17 at 13:09

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