Barge Right In
Felicia from Oak Park, IL, writes: “My uncle used a phrase when any of us kids would interrupt a conversation. With annoyance in his voice, he would say, Why don’t you just barge right in? I’m wondering about the origin of the phrase.
In a not-too-convoluted way, it goes back to barge, the boat. The original barge was a light boat furnished with sails. Ultimately, this evolved into the flat-bottomed boat used to convey goods on a river, canal, or ocean port. This freight barge usually couldn’t move on its own power; it had to be pushed or towed by a powered vessel. The word scow (as in garbage scow) is also used.
When the barge broke away, it would free-float until it banged up against something -- a bridge support or the bank of the river, for instance.
The metaphorical sense meant to bump heavily or clumsily into an object or, in your uncle’s use, to burst inconsiderately and rudely into a situation.
SIDEBAR 1: Freight barges being loaded on the Thames
SIDEBAR 2: Runaway barge
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