in crocodile formation

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Does "in crocodile formation" mean that the children are one behind the other, each with their hands on the shoulders on the one in front? Or does it mean they walk in pairs, each pair behind another? And do they have to keep their hands on the shoulders of kids in the pair in front?

I'm confused because I saw one photo showing the first, and one WR dictionary entry saying the second.

My book is not of much help:
"The little post office and general stores was just half a mile from the school gates, and we would pass in crocodile formation on supervised walks through the village, turning out heads in unison towards its inviting windows like cadets honouring their monarch with an eyes right."
(Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles)

Thank you!
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    An English school crocodile formation would normally be two by two (in pairs), and no, they would not have their hands on the shoulders of the children in front of them.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    At school I never walked in a crocodile myself - or at least the word was not used. I only know this expression from old-fashioned books, of the vintage of Famous Five and Swallows & Amazons; I've never been clear precisely how the children are arranged.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I've never been clear precisely how the children are arranged.
    As a generalisation:
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x O :arrow:
    O
    ------------------------------------------------

    Where
    x = child
    O = teacher (or senior pupil)
    ------- is the edge of the footpath
    :arrow: is direction of travel
     
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