A Stone’s Throw

Meanings of “A Stone’s Throw”

The phrase “a stone’s throw” is used to indicate a short distance. The phrase also means the distance a stone can be thrown.

Origin of “A Stone’s Throw”

The phrase “a stone’s throw” was first sighted in the Wycliffe’s Bible, published in 1526, where it is stated as; “…he gat himself from them, about a stone’s cast…”

Later, the term was used by John Arbuthnot in his work, The History of John Bull, published in 1712. The expression was used as “a stone’s throw” with reference to the lady that nobody dares come near here. Since then, the phrase has been used in multiple contexts by various authors conveying different nuances.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

A Stones Throw by Elma Mitchell

“For justice must be done
Specially when
It tastes so good.

And then – this guru,
Preacher, God-merchant, God-knows-what –
Spoilt the whole thing,
Speaking to her
(Should never speak to them)
Squatting on the ground – her level,
Writing in the dust
Something we couldn’t read.
And saw in her
Something we couldn’t see
At least until
He turned his eyes on us,
Her eyes on us,
Our eyes upon ourselves.

We walked away
Still holding stones
That we may throw
Another day
Given the urge.”

The poem features an adulterous woman captured by a crowd, and she was at a stone’s throw from justice. The group gathered around intended to stone her to death because punishing a sinner is a source of pleasure for them. Fortunately, the lady had a narrow escape from that violent punishment when a preacher appeared on the scene and wrote something on the ground which they could not interpret. Also, he gave the lady a chance to judge them the way they were judging her. He read the woman’s heart and turned the people’s hearts, too; the angry and violent group stepped back, hoping to serve justice some other day. The phrase shows the use of an extended metaphor.

Example #2

A Stone’s Throw by Dr. Stewart Snook

“Dad Spoke farmer’s talk:
“About a stone’s throw”
He’s measure distance
Not far, over there.

“About a stone’s throw”
Such a common phrase!
Jesus went that distance,
Just to kneel and pray.

And in that prayer,
He prays for himself,
That the father’s will be done
That the father be glorified.

About a stone’s throw away
He strongly prayed for us.
That our faith fail not,
That we be united in him.

He’s just a stone’s throw away,
Our high priest and advocate.
Heaven’s not far, heaven is near,
About a stone’s throw away.”

The poem explores the relationship between man and God. It begins when the speaker’s father tries to make sense of a common saying, a stone’s throw and connects the expression with faith and religion. He, then, makes his children understand the concept of a stone’s throw, which to him, relates to God. To add more to their faith, he further explains that God is the great advocate of human beings, implying he will surely direct his people to heaven. Therefore, we all need to follow the path He has shown us and should pray for a better end. The phrase shows its use as a repetition. The speaker has repeated the phrase to emphasize emotions.

Example #3

A Stone’s Throw by Fiona Shaw

The author, in this classic fiction, introduces us to a beautiful and tender portrayal of life and shows how careful decision-making leads us to choose better paths in life. Depicting three generations, the writer has fictionalized Meg’s journey from innocence to heart-wrenching emotions of regret and loss. The first part of the novel details her childhood memories related to the war, while the second part throws light on her son and the grave loss she faced in life. As the book details how tragedies and mishaps are always at a stone’s throw from us, it shows the use of this phrase in the title to present its metaphorical representation.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Last night, Ammy forgot to turn on her alarm clock and woke up late in the morning. However, she managed to reach the bus stop as it was only a stone’s throw from our apartment.”

Example #2: “Although I am comfortable with the new building, I always miss my old station. It was just a stone throw from my house and I often had a chance to have lunch with my parents.”

Example #3: “Since I am moving to Europe for good, I intend to sell my property that is at a stone’s throw from the city center, Public Park and library.”

Example #4: “I just love the serenity of the place I rented last month; everything was readily available. and most importantly the beach was located just a stone’s throw from my residence.”

Example #5: “With an intention to have a shorter commute, Bob shifted to a room that is a stone’s throw from his workplace.”