march to a different beat

Also, march to a different drummer. Act independently, differ in conduct or ideas from most others, as in Joe wanted to be married on a mountain top—he always marches to a different beat, or Sarah has her own ideas for the campaign; she marches to a different drummer. This idiom, alluding to being out of step in a parade, is a version of Henry David Thoreau's statement in Walden (1854): “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” It came into wide use in the mid-1900s.

Nearby words

  1. march fly,
  2. march fracture,
  3. march hare,
  4. march hemoglobinuria,
  5. march past,
  6. march, fredric,
  7. march-order,
  8. march-past,
  9. march.,
  10. marche

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.