hitch one's wagon to a star

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Coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay "Civilization" (1870).


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hitch one's wagon to a star (third-person singular simple present hitches one's wagon to a star, present participle hitching one's wagon to a star, simple past and past participle hitched one's wagon to a star)

  1. (Canada, US, idiomatic) To commit to an aspirational goal or course of action that will lead to fulfillment.
    • 1891, Henry Augustin Beers, “The Concord Writers 1837-1861”, in Initial Studies in American Letters:
      [Emerson] was not afraid to be homely and racy in expressing thought of the highest spirituality. "Hitch your wagon to a star" is a good instance of his favorite manner.
    • 1909, Jack London, chapter 41, in Martin Eden:
      Well, he was done, he solaced himself. He had hitched his wagon to a star and been landed in a pestiferous marsh.
    • 2002, Luis S. R. Vas, Business Ideas You Can Turn Into Cash:
      So if you've had enough of life as an employee and you're planning to set up your own home-based business, do the sensible thing and hitch your wagon to the fastest rising star today — the Internet.
    • 2014, Ozana Giusca, More and Better Customers - Blogging Action Plan, page 19:
      Pick a star, or hero, or whatever product/service/idea you are presenting, and hitch your wagon to it.