to roll over

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Senior Member
Russia: Russian
Hello :)

Here a character is telling about his marriage:

"Look, it just happened, We'd been seeing each other for - I don't know - quite a few years. She brought up the idea of marriage."
"And you rolled over?"
"Hey." He shot her a look. "No one rolled over."

Would you kindly explain what is "to roll over" in this context?
Thank you in advance!
  • Trisia

    Senior Member
    Hi, Masha.

    Just a guess here. Maybe it's a reference to the way a trained pet would respond -- by rolling over, of course.

    It means she's the boss in their relationship, he acted like he couldn't think or decide for himself, he just played along with what she said ('Sit! Steady now, say "I do." Good boy! Here's a doggy treat for you!')


    Senior Member
    To "roll over" in this context means that you surrender without a fight, much like a dog who turns belly up when confronted by a larger, more dominant dog. It's an image of submission. It's usually an insult to a man, implying that he has no "backbone", no courage or ability to stand up for himself.


    Senior Member
    I actually read it used that way today, bibliolept, when I was checking examples of "roll over". Let me see if I can find it:

    "She'd be damned if she was going to roll over and play dead. She was going to show them, and herself, that she was one of the best reporters KEY News ever had.""&sig=x58iAyz3woZe1W-UAZqZSevK65k#PPA222,M1

    "Up ahead, most of the early field was finding that The Country Club course, after yielding a number of low scores during the practice rounds, was showing no inclination to roll over and play dead."

    There are several more to read at if you do a search for "roll over and play dead."
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