Antonym of lean towards something

TheCrociato91

Senior Member
Italian - Northern Italy
Hello everyone.

Earlier today I was watching a stream and the streamer (a Welshman, native English speaker), in response to someone asking if he was still sold on a given idea, the first time replied "I'm starting to lean off this idea", while the second time he said "I'm starting to lean away from it".

I am fairly confident he was trying to said he was not convinced about the idea any longer, and he worded his sentence by using what I felt to be a "possible" antonym of the phrasal verb "to lean towards something".
I have done some research and haven't found many results as to verbs like "lean off something" or "lean away from something".
So my question is: is there an antonym of the verb "to lean towards something" which contains the verb "to lean"? Is any of the aforementioned (lean off/away from something) correct? (At this point I have the feeling they're not frequently used).

Thanks in advance.
 
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  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hello TheCrociato91, your interpretation is absolutely right in all respects. "Lean off" or "lean away from" [an idea, in the figurative sense of "lean"] doesn't exist, but the meaning - in the context, as always - is clear. In the physical sense I suppose you can "lean towards" or "lean away from" something, but that would probably tend to describe a "state" rather than an action. As always, we'd have to look at a specific full sentence in context to comment in greater detail.
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    Thanks for chiming in. I'll provide more context.

    The person was playing a videogame and trying to find an item hidden somewhere on the map. Having been given several hints, at first he started scouring through an area of the map which the game referred to as "plant pots". After searching for a while to no avail, he realized he might be wrong and said: "I'm starting to lean off/away from the plant pots" (i.e., he was no longer convinced about the idea of the plant pots being the spot where the item could have been hidden).

    I take it that he must have made the verb up by way of contrast with the existing verb "lean toward something".
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Yes, in conversation, when the context is clear, and especially for brevity, it's possible to use "lean away from" in this figurative sense. Otherwise he would have to say something like "I'm starting to think I was probably wrong in assuming that the treasure is near the plant pots", which is a lot longer.
    What he said was clearly understandable in the context. "Lean off" doesn't work here.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    These are examples of how I use the expression when I do. I don't know if it helps.

    I tend to lean away from the mainstream tourist attractions when I'm on vacation, preferring to ............
    I tend to lean away from the classic dress style, going for a more sophisticated casual look.
    I usually lean away from processed foodstuffs, preferring to eat more natural, organic foods.
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    It does help, but I feel like it has a slightly different nuance in meaning.

    Your examples suggest that you're avoiding/staying away from something because you have a better choice, an alternative.

    Instead, what that person implied is that he started being unconvinced of that solution not necessarily because he was led to believe another solution was better, rather because his quest had borne no fruit.

    Regardless, thanks for providing examples of actual usage of the verb.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Yes, Ripper's sentences are all fine to my ear too. They express a preference so, as I noted earlier, in that sense the verb is stative, not dynamic. On the other hand we wouldn't say (in the dynamic sense of the verb): lean away from / lean off that wall, you'll get marks on your jacket! :cross:

    In the figurative sense (e.g. an idea) then, lean towards can, when the context is clear, have the antonym "lean away from". But I suspect we might say something like "I'm starting to go off the idea", or "I (tend to) avoid processed foods", etc.
     
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    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    It does help, but I feel like it has a slightly different nuance in meaning.

    Your examples suggest that you're avoiding/staying away from something because you have a better choice, an alternative.

    Instead, what that person implied is that he started being unconvinced of that solution not necessarily because he was led to believe another solution was better, rather because his quest had borne no fruit.

    Regardless, thanks for providing examples of actual usage of the verb.
    I've never heard it used the way it is in the OP. Maybe it's a way of using it that is peculiar to the Welsh.
     
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    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    go off the idea
    I think "Go off something" is possibly the phrasal verb closest in meaning to what that person implied.
    Considering that it is labeled as a strictly UK English expression, I presume that person must have "drawn inspiration" from this verb (especially when he said "lean off it").
    Thanks again.
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I think "Go off something" is possibly the phrasal verb closest in meaning to what that person implied.
    Considering that it is labeled as a strictly UK English expression, I presume that person must have "drawn ispiration" from this verb (especially when he said "lean off it").
    Yes, I'd have said "I'm starting to go off it [this idea]". :)

    I don't think I've ever come across "lean off/away from" being used like that.
     
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