all hands on deck

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Alternative forms[edit]


all hands on deck

  1. (nautical) An order, on board ship, for all seamen of all watches to muster on deck immediately; normally shortened to "All hands"
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Chapter V”, in The Land That Time Forgot:
      As soon as the boche and his guard were aboard again, I called all hands on deck, including von Schoenvorts, and there I explained to them that the time had come for us to enter into some sort of an agreement among ourselves that would relieve us of the annoyance and embarrassment of being divided into two antagonistic parts--prisoners and captors.
  2. (by extension) A call for everyone to participate in something.
    Synonym: all hands to the pump
    • 2000 March 12, Stuart Barnes, “Swindon stunner for Curbishley”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      It was all hands to the deck in the Swindon penalty box.
    • 2015, Marie Bostwick, The Second Sister:
      Summer, with its good weather and accompanying onslaught of tourists, was the time when they made most of their money for the year, and so it was all hands on deck.


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