Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Hoisted by One’s Own Petard’ (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Hoisted by One’s Own Petard’"?

The term hoisted by one’s own petard means to fall foul of your own deceit or fall into your own trap. This term has its origin in medieval times when a military commander would send forward one of his engineers with a cast-iron container full of gunpowder, called a petard, to blow up a castle gate, obstacle, or bridge. The fuses on these bombs were very unreliable, and sometimes the engineers would be killed when the petards exploded prematurely. The explosion would blow (or hoist) the engineer into the air.



Would you like to offer another origin for the saying "Hoisted by One’s Own Petard’"? Please tell us using this form.