batten down the hatches

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From the practice aboard a ship of sealing hatches to prevent water getting below-decks in a storm by using covers secured by strips of material, called battens, firmly attached to the frame of the hatch opening.


batten down the hatches (third-person singular simple present battens down the hatches, present participle battening down the hatches, simple past and past participle battened down the hatches)

  1. (idiomatic) To prepare for trouble.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Other determiners (eg, these, those, all the) and modifiers (eg, virtual, financial) can modify hatches.