Don’t give up the ship

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Don’t give up the ship is an American idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom don’t give up the ship, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Don’t give up the ship is an exhortation to keep going, to not quit, to never surrender, to keep trying, to keep working. The exclamation don’t give up the ship was uttered by Commander James Lawrence of the U.S.S. Chesapeake during the War of 1812. Lawrence was told to avoid engaging the enemy, but he disobeyed those orders and engaged the British frigate, the Shannon. Lawrence was mortally wounded, yet exhorted his crew: “Tell them to fire faster; don’t give up the ship.” However, the crew did surrender as they were boarded. Commodore Perry had the phrase “Don’t give up the ship!” embroidered on his ship’s flag and was often credited with inventing the phrase. Today, the phrase is a motto of the U.S. Navy and the idiom don’t give up the ship is used is situations other than naval ones.


He also plans to fly a “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag, a motto LaMarre has used as a rallying cry as the port remains embroiled in a regulatory dispute with U. S. Customs and Border Patrol. (The Monroe News)

One of their favorite back-and-forth sayings was, “Don’t Give Up The Ship,” which carried more meaning when Francis C. became ill right before his passing in 1997. (The Pioneer)

A timely message, but I just bought a flag for the office that says “Don’t Give Up the Ship” to hang above my desk. (Forbes Magazine)

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