back and fill
Vacillate, be undecided, as in This measure will never be passed if the town meeting continues to back and fill. This term comes from sailing ships, where it signifies alternately backing and filling the sails, a method used when the wind is running against a ship in a narrow channel. The sail is hauled back against the wind and braced so that the tide or current carries the ship forward against the wind. Then the sail must be swung around and filled, to keep the ship on course. The term's figurative use for indecisiveness dates from the mid-1800s.
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Example sentences from the Web for back and fill
As an example of good science-and-society policymaking, the history of fluoride may be more of a cautionary tale.
Think back to the Bush-Kerry race of 2004, the Thrilla in Vanilla.
Back in New York, the slow pace and inward focus of her yoga practice was less fulfilling.How Taryn Toomey’s ‘The Class’ Became New York’s Latest Fitness Craze|Lizzie Crocker|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Music is a huge part of the tone of Black Dynamite overall—going back to the original 2009 movie on which the series is based.‘Black Dynamite’ Presents Police Brutality: The Musical|Stereo Williams|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The al Qaeda-linked gunmen shot back, but only managed to injure one officer before they were taken out.
I waited three months more, in great impatience, then sent him back to the same post, to see if there might be a reply.The Boarded-Up House|Augusta Huiell Seaman
Ages back—let musty geologists tell us how long ago—'twas a lake, larger than the Lake of Geneva.
The boys were tumbling about, clinging to his legs, imploring that numerous things be brought back to them.
With a suffocating gasp, she fell back into the chair on which she sat, and covered her face with her hands.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
She was holding the back of her chair with one hand; her loose sleeve had slipped almost to the shoulder of her uplifted arm.