man down

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An Aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis) in falconry training. Part of a raptor’s training involves manning it down (sense 3) – making it accustomed to people.

man (to brace (oneself), to fortify or steel (oneself) in a manly way; to supply (something) with staff or crew; to accustom (a hawk or other bird) to the presence of men) + down.



man down (third-person singular simple present mans down, present participle manning down, simple past and past participle manned down)

  1. (transitive, idiomatic) To lose courage or cause to lose courage.
    • 1901, New Zealand House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates, volume 116, Wellington: Government Printer, OCLC 173828135, page 171, column 2:
      Ministers and a good many of their supporters worked in relays, and had so manned down the feeble and numerically small Opposition till we had not strength nor mental energy enough to resist.
    • 1924, George Allan England, The White Wilderness: A Story of the Great Newfoundland Seal-hunt, of Artic Floes, of Perils and Adventures Manifold, London; New York, N.Y.: Cassell and Co., OCLC 19615039, page 160:
      A famous champion, he; super-expert in the art of "manning down" his opponent, and sometimes in the heat of battle glowing with such an ardour of excitement that he would make wide jumps, quite against every rule, and sweep off pieces wholesale.
    • 2013, Alexei Auld, Tonto Canto Pocahontas, [United States]: TemRose Publishing, ISBN 978-0-615-91179-3:
      Normally, I'd psych myself out of approaching her. I looked at her, trying to find something that reinforced my manning down.
  2. (transitive) To reduce in manpower.
    • 2011, Denise A. Bates, House of Bull: Book Three, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, ISBN 978-1-4520-1162-2, page 392:
      These men have gotten word that the fort we left, Ridgeway, is manning down. So we have no worries about that.
  3. (transitive, chiefly falconry) To train (a raptor or other type of bird) to become accustomed to the presence of people; to man.
    • 1995, Main Conference Proceedings: Annual Conference & Expo, August 28 – September 2, 1995, Orlando, Fla.: Association of Avian Veterinarians, OCLC 34381117, page 176:
      Eyasses begin a transition period in the late summer as their falconry training begins. This critical period involves manning down the raptor, slowly lowering the body weight, and controlled flight training.
    • 2014, Ben Crane, Sparrowhawks: A Falconer's Guide, Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire: The Crowood Press, ISBN 978-1-84797-709-0:
      When taken directly from the chamber, initially Mrs Woods [a sparrowhawk] showed a high level of fear but when manned down, she went on to show no aggression whatsoever.