Hit the deck

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Hit the deck is an idiom with an interesting origin. We will examine the meaning of the idiom hit the deck, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Hit the deck is a common idiom; its meaning depends on the context. Hit the deck is a way of saying to jump out of bed or to begin tackling a project. It may be considered the opposite of hit the hay or hit the sack, which mean to go to bed. Hit the deck is also a popular expression used to mean to drop to the ground. In this context, hit the deck is often used as a command when someone is under gunfire. The word deck refers to the floor of a ship. The expression hit the deck came into use at the turn of the twentieth century, originating in the navy, and achieved its peak popularity during World War II.


Another said she thought she should “hit the deck” for her own safety. (The Whidbey News-Times)

“At this time, Christopher Mullins ‘hit the deck’ and could hear the firearm discharge in an unknown location,” Thomas wrote. (The Appalachian News-Express)

Former marine Mace Williams said that he hit the deck when the anchor line on Buddy Vanderhoop’s boat snapped, a knee-jerk reaction to thinking that they were under fire. (The Vineyard Gazette)