gird up one's loins

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Likely a Hebraism, often used in the King James Bible (e.g., 2 Kings 4:29). Literally referred to the need to strap a belt around one's waist when getting up in order to avoid the cloak falling off.

Verb[edit]

gird up one’s loins

  1. (idiomatic, intransitive) To prepare oneself for something demanding.
    • 1857, Herman Melville, The Confidence Man, ch. 37:
      Man came into this world, not to sit down and muse, not to befog himself with vain subtleties, but to gird up his loins and to work.
    • 1920, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside, ch. 9:
      Then Susan said briskly, "Well, we must just gird up our loins and pitch in."
    • 2004, "Editorial," nepalnews.com (Nepal), vol. 24, no. 6 (Aug 3-19):
      King Gyanendra must gird up his loins and prepare himself for all exigencies.

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