To Pull Your Finger Out (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "To Pull Your Finger Out"?

When you tell someone to pull your finger out, you are telling them to hurry up or to complete a task quicker. This term derives from when artillerymen would push gunpowder into the ignition chamber of their guns with their fingers and hold the powder in place by keeping their finger in the hole of the ignition chamber. (Normally, a wooden plug would be used for this purpose, but it was quicker to use a finger.) Keen to fire the weapon, the gun commander would shout pull your finger out to the powder filler just before the gun was fired.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs