keep it on the barber pole

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From the artificial horizon used in aircraft, which is similar to a barber's pole


keep it on the barber pole

  1. (intransitive, slang) To do something correctly.

Usage notes[edit]

It is a variation of the colloquial “straighten up and fly right” expression with a similar meaning. Its origin is that in many airplanes the artificial horizon has a solid pattern above the horizon indicator and strips (similar to a barber pole’s) below this line. When the plane indicator is sitting “on the barber pole” the airplane is flying level.

See also[edit]