Gird one’s loins

The idiom gird one’s loins comes from a practice during Biblical times. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom gird one’s loins, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To gird one’s loins means to prepare to tackle a difficult project or task, to mentally prepare oneself for a difficult situation. The idiom gird one’s loins is derived from the Bible. People who lived during the time that the Bible was written wore flowing tunics. If a person had to take part in a difficult physical activity it was necessary to tie up the flowing fabric and tuck it in his girdle or substantial belt. The expression gird one’s loins was used in the King James Bible: “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;” (1 Peter 1:13). Related phrases are girds one’s loins, girded or girt one’s loins, girding one’s loins.


Yet if I said I was thinking about going to the Chicago Hellenic Museum benefit last Thursday night, but worried about getting shot on my way into the Harris Theater, you’d consider me cowardly, observe that shootings are not generally right off North Michigan Avenue, and I should gird my loins and go. (The Chicago Sun Times)

I may even have meant it at the time – because our first full day in the Costa Dorada park coincided with one of its occasional White Nights, when many of the rides stay open until 3am, so there was plenty of time to gird my loins. (The Independent)

I girded my loins for the desert of Facebook engagement that typically plagues our page, which rarely garners likes, comments or shares. (The Dallas Morning News)

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