Pull Your Finger Out (Phrase Origins) | Albert Jack

A pair of 18th-century Spanish cannons outside the museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Caernarfon Castle.

A pair of 18th century Spanish cannons outside the museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Caernarfon Castle.

Originally posted on Albert Jack.

The phrase these days is associated with encouraging someone to get a move on, or hurry up and complete a task more quickly than they are presently doing. Like so many English phrases it has a military or naval origin. Loaded cannons would have gunpowder poured into a small ignition hole, which was then held in place with a wooden plug.

But in times of battle, when speed was of the essence, the powder would be pushed in and then held in place by a gun crew-member using his finger. Impatient artillerymen, anxious to fire their cannons at the advancing enemy, would…

via Pull Your Finger Out (Phrase Origins) | Albert Jack.

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