Get the lead out

Get the lead out is a twentieth century idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common saying get the lead out, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Get the lead out is an exhortation to hurry, to move faster, to stop procrastinating. Related phrases are gets the lead out, got the lead out, have gotten the lead out, getting the lead out; however, these forms are rarely used. The expression get the lead out is the abbreviated version of two variations of the idiom: get the lead out of your feet or get the lead out of your pants. The term get the lead out came into use in the 1920s, and its popularity zoomed during World War II. Though the exact origin is unknown, most believe it is simply an allusion to the fact that lead is heavy and weighs one down.

Examples

Instead, Hansberry told him to get the lead out and do more.  (NPR)

“I know there’s nothing much to do in Shepherdstown, but get the lead out of your boots/ You better stop hangin’ ’round,” Lloyd sings. (Wide Open Country Magazine)

Prime Minister, get the lead out of your PNM backside and use the Big stick to beat COVID 19 spreaders and law breakers into submission. (Loop News)