go to the mattresses
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From Mario Puzo's gangster novel The Godfather (1969). Those involved in such a conflict might be expected to stay in hideouts where they would sleep on mattresses rather than in beds.
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go to the mattresses (third-person singular simple present goes to the mattresses, present participle going to the mattresses, simple past went to the mattresses, past participle gone to the mattresses)
- (idiomatic) To go to war; to use ruthless tactics; to act without restraint.
- 1969, Mario Puzo, The Godfather, Putnam, page 132:
- I want Sollozzo. If not, it's all-out war. We'll go to the mattresses.
- 1988 December 18, Glen Waggoner, “Sports: Collusion Is Over, but Excess Is Back”, in New York Times, retrieved 21 September 2008:
- They will have to go to the mattresses; that is they will have to risk a long ugly strike.
- 2008, "Transcript: CNN LARRY KING LIVE—Interview with Senator Hillary Clinton," CNN analyst Jamal Simmons speaking, 21 Apr.:
- Now, when you're fighting Republicans . . . Democrats are all rallied around and ready to go ahead and go to the mattresses.