behind the lighthouse adv phr, adj phr [Perh folk-etym var of behind the lighter (at astern of the lighter adv phr)]
= astern of the lighter adv phr.
1839 Daily Picayune (New Orleans LA) 2 Apr /2, [Account of a horse race:] The moment Kavenaugh saw that Cippus was “behind the lighthouse,” he went to work himself, [and] soon passed the old black. 1849 Water-Cure Jrl. 7.192, It belongs to the progressive school, and will not be found away back, behind the lighthouse, on any occasion, on any subject. 1859 Alexandria Gaz. (VA) 5 Aug /4, The American Gaslight Journal for August furnishes the following: “ . . [I]n 1822, the city of Boston, Mass., ventured to risk the experiment of adopting it. New York city, not usually ‘behind the lighthouse,’ followed suit in the succeeding year.” 1898 Daily Herald (Delphos OH) [27 Sept 7]/1 (newspaperarchive.com) sePA, Spain is behind the lighthouse of civilization, and has stood there for 300 years. . .—Rev. J. M. Scovell, Baptist, Philadelphia, Pa. 1913 Duluth News Tribune (MN) 28 Jan 1/6, They were of the opinion that it would fail of passage by two or three votes. It was behind the lighthouse two votes two years ago. 1942 Mason City Globe–Gaz. (IA) 15 July /2 (newspaperarchive.com) MN, Fairmont Sentinel: Most deluded chap is the one who thinks that tomorrow will be like yesterday. He’s doomed to be forever behind the lighthouse.