Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pull out all the stops

To pull out all the stops means to do everything possible to achieve something.

‘If we’re going to win the contract, we’re going to have to pull out all the stops!’

‘To survive the crisis, we’re going to have to pull out all the stops.’

But what is a ‘stop’ and why are we pulling it out?

This is an idiom with quite a specific origin which is the organ; not the electric sort but the traditional kind pushed by air pushed through bellows,

The large organs found in churches and cathedrals have large metal pipes. On the keyboard area of the organ, there are many valves or ‘stops’ that control how much air is allowed into the pipes. As a very basic piece of science, by pulling out all the stops, you increase the volume!

So now you know!

Here’s an example.

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