Gird Your Loins – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Aren’t idioms and figurative phrases just so whimsical? I love working them into my conversations and the books I write because they add so much color and flare. Gird your loins is an expression that’s popped up before. But what does gird your loins mean? So I’ll explain all the details and help you learn how to use this phrase in a sentence.

Gird Your Loins Meaning Explained

Gird Your Loins Idiom Origin Meaning

At first, gird your loins might sound like the advice given to medieval knights before they march off to battle, or perhaps, an obscure reference to the proper way to wear a kilt. But it’s not as perplexing (or as risqué) as you might think.

As an idiom, the phrase gird your loins suggests you should prepare yourself mentally or physically for something that’s rather difficult or challenging. It’s like the old-timey version of buckle your seatbelts or brace yourselves, but with a lot more garment-related confusion involved.

Gird Up Your Loins or Gird Your Loins?

Gird Up Your Loins vs Gird Your Loins Ngram
Gird up your loins and gird your loins usage trend.

You might have heard this version before, which probably only added to the confusion surrounding the phrase. In truth, gird up your loins and gird your loins are two sides of the same coin. The word gird means to bind or tighten. The up is optional, like wearing socks with sandals or putting pineapple on pizza. To each their own, I suppose.

Origin and Etymology Behind Gird Your Loins

To understand the origin of gird your loins, we’ve got to go back to the days when tunics were trendy, and thou was the most common pronoun.

It’s an expression you’ll find in the King James Bible (1 Peter 1:13). It basically means you need to prepare for action by pulling up your robe and tying it around your waist so you can both move easier and ride your horse comfortably. The expression was, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Other Ways to Say Gird Your Loins

  • Brace yourself
  • Gear up
  • Steady on
  • Buckle up
  • Prepare for the worst

Gird Your Loins Examples in a Sentence

Gird Your Loins Idiom Origin Meaning 1
  • As the season finale of our favorite show approached, my husband and I are girding our loins for the inevitable cliffhanger ending that every season ends on.
  • “Gird your loins and unbutton your pants, everyone! Aunt Bertha is making her infamous meatloaf for dinner tonight.”
  • As the storm approached, the townsfolk girded up their loins, knowing they had a long night ahead of them as they waited it out.
  • Gird your loins, dear readers; I’m releasing a new book in the Fall!
  • Hearing utter silence from the next room where my toddler was, I girded my loins as I went to see what chaos ensued.

Gird Your Loins

So, the next time someone throws you a massive curveball, just remember to gird your loins, or at the very least, ensure your metaphorical robe is securely fastened. Now, go ahead and impress everyone with your new, slightly bizarre linguistic knowledge. And be sure to have a peek at my other idiom guides to add even more awesome words and phrases to your English arsenal.