To put out feelers

to put out feelers phrase meaning

Photo credit: unpics.com

Every day I go on to the website for translators – proz.com – in the hope of getting some work (so far to no avail, I must say, but I keep trying). Almost every day there’s a new survey and discussion for translators and recently there was one about translating apps. One participant wrote something along the lines of ‘I haven’t translated any apps so far, but my neighbour is an app developer and he has already started to put out feelers‘. I’ve never come across this expression before and to me it seemed a really good one and what’s more it’s also easy to visualise it.

To put out feelers means ‘to begin to find out what people think about something you are hoping to do’ (MacMillan Dictionary).

Read on for more examples:

– The Russians earlier made promises they did not keep and have now secured all they wanted, including the retention of extra troops and even military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia (see article), despite EU demands that troops return to pre-war positions. Russia’s neighbours have few places to turn. Yet even Belarus, previously a reliable Russian ally, has reacted to the August war by nervously putting out feelers to Brussels (The Economist).

– Not only that, but Russia’s relations with the West, however difficult, have never been more intimate. What passes for the rule of law in Russia makes Westerners blench, yet business thrives. Russia is close to joining the World Trade Organisation, even though that means putting out feelers both to Poland’s new government and to Georgia’s recently re-elected one (both of whom could block Russia’s membership), whatever the differences over NATO and missile defences (The Economist).

– Alarmed at events across its disputed Golan Heights border, Israel has put out diplomatic feelers, suggesting that at this time of crisis, Tel Aviv and Ankara should set aside old differences and work together (The Guardian).

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