To Whistle for It (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "To Whistle for It"?

The term to whistle for it means to ask for something with little chance of obtaining it. The term derives from when sail ships were stuck at sea with no wind to fill their sails. In such conditions, sailors would whistle in attempt to summon a wind. Somewhat unsurprisingly, this made little difference to wind conditions.
To Whistle for It (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • When I asked for a promotion, the CEO said I might as well whistle for it.
  • The boss promised he'd pay us overtime for the late evenings, but when I asked him for the extra money, he told me to whistle for it.
  • Jack doesn't pay his bets. When I tried to collect the beer I'd won off him, he told me to whistle for it.

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