"wear out one's welcome" in another context

Xander2024

Senior Member
Russian
Hello again,

I was wondering if the expression "to wear out one's welcome" could be used in a context other than "to come more often or stay longer than is acceptable or pleasing". For example, I've borrowed my friend's car several times over the past month and today I told him I wouldn't do so again. He said, "Why not?" I said I didn't want to presume on his kindness and then I wondered if using "wear out my welcome" would be correct in this case. :confused:

Thanks in advance.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, I think you could use the expression in this context. It's perhaps not conventional usage but your friend, or the person you're talking to, would understand.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I think "wear out one's welcome" would be understandable in the context, but it really isn't right.
     

    Xander2024

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks, Biffo and kalamazoo. That's where I need to know native speakers' opinion because it's just impossible for a non-native to draw a line between "idiomatic/understandable/plain wrong"
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    It's perhaps not conventional usage but your friend, or the person you're talking to, would understand.
    :thumbsup: I most definitely would. I would know it was somewhat unusual, but I would understand it. Why would I? Because when you want to borrow something you do expect an answer like 'Sure, most welcome!'
     

    Xander2024

    Senior Member
    Russian
    That's exactly why I was asking - when one says "Thanks a lot (for) ..." one often hears "You are welcome" in reply. Thus I came to the decision that the "welcome" may not necessarily be related to somebody's "coming to stay way too often or for longer than is pleasing".
     

    Embonpoint

    Senior Member
    English--American
    I would not use "wear out my welcome" in this context. It would be understandable, yes, but that does not make it good usage.

    Other options (in AE) are:
    I didn't want to abuse your kindness.
    I've already imposed on you enough.
    I didn't want to overdo it.
    I didn't want to abuse the privilege.
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Why would I? Because when you want to borrow something you do expect an answer like 'Sure, most welcome!'
    That's not exactly the same "welcome" in "wear out my welcome." The "welcome" being worn out is the one of "Welcome to my home! I'm glad to see you."
    Your way seems to say that the other person is tired of being thanked by you when the phrase means the other person is tired of your presence.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "wear out your welcome" still doesn't work in the context of borrowing something repeatedly, despite the word "welcome" in "you're welcome to borrow this." It's understandable, but not something a native speaker would say.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    I agree, Kalamazoo, but there are some non-literal uses that still work. It wouldn't work for borrowing a car, but it would work for getting a ride to work with a friend. The key requirement, if I may use that word, is that what you're saying is "I don't want you to get tired of being around me."
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I think it would kind of work for getting a ride in someone else's car, because you are still basically entering their space when they are there, but not for borrowing their car when they aren't also in the car. You aren't 'around' someone if you borrow something from them, but you are around them if you are in the car with them.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I know that, Myridon, but it is 'welcome' nonetheless. :)
    For the purposes of using the idiom properly, it's not the same - even if you use a smiley. They are different entries in the dictionary.

    • 1 (of a guest or new arrival) gladly received.

    • 2 very pleasing because much needed or desired.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    For the purposes of using the idiom properly, it's not the same - even if you use a smiley. They are different entries in the dictionary.

    • 1 (of a guest or new arrival) gladly received.

    • 2 very pleasing because much needed or desired.
    Okay, Myrdon, I will refrain from using smileys. So what are you trying to prove? That the two dictionary entries of the same word are completely unrelated in meaning and that no association is possible between them? Frankly, I don't buy that. Besides which, I believe you picked the wrong entry. Number 3 refers to Xander's context:
    • 3 allowed or invited to do a specified thing: you are welcome to join in.

    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/welcome

    In addition, I have known and used the idiom correctly since boyhood, albeit quite rarely. All I said was that Xander's proposed usage was perfectly understandable, if unusual, and I said it while agreeing with Heypresto. Which part of it do you disagree with?
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I don't think it is correct to use this expression in the context of borrowing something. Joining in is a different situation which does make sense because the expression refers to entering in. I don't think Xander's proposed usage is correct.
     
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