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To go round by Robin Hood's barn

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2015-07-26. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-08.

The meaning of the proverbial expression To go round by Robin Hood's barn is "to take the longest way round".[1] A (relatively modern US?) variant is "all the way around Robin Hood's Bush".[2]

Collections and lists


1913 - Hatfield, James Taft – Untitled book review

Equally clear is Professor Wood's supreme piety toward the aged Goethe. He works from the principle that even the most phantasmagoric episode in Faust contains some adequate, worthy meaning, which he purposes to chase to its capture, though the hunt should lead around Robin Hood's barn; he will let go of no hint until he has harried it to quiescence.[3]

1922 - Bailey, Margaret Emerson - Robin Hood's Barn

[Book title:] Robin Hood's Barn: the Confessions of a Garden Adventurer[4]

Studies and criticism

Brief mention


  1. Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), p. 292.
  2. See forum thread at Wordwizard.
  3. Hatfield, James Taft, review. '[Review of:] Faust-Studien. Ein Beitrag zum Verständnis Goethes in seiner Dichtung. Von Henry Wood. Berlin, Georg Reimer, 1912. vi + 294 pp.', Modern Language Notes, vol. XXVIII (1913), pp. 186-88; see p. 186.
  4. Bailey, Margaret Emerson. Robin Hood's Barn: the Confessions of a Garden Adventurer (New York, ©1922).