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Lower the boom

  • Lower the boom is an American idiom. An idiom is a commonly used 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 like an often-used metaphor 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 common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, 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, because 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; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom lower the boom, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

     

    Lower the boom means to act suddenly and forcefully to punish someone or force him to adhere to a set of rules. Lower the boom means to harshly reprimand someone or punish him severely. The expression lower the boom came into use in the United States in the early twentieth century and has a roundabout etymology. The phrase was first used to mean to deliver a knockout punch in a boxing bout; however, it is an allusion to the boom on a ship, which is a spar on a mast that may be raised and lowered. Related phrases are lowers the boom, lowered the boom, lowering the boom.

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    Examples

    African gang clears over ¥100 million in marriage scams before police lower the boom (Japan Today)

    Sure, the bill was written to lower the boom on big social media platforms like Facebook, but what’s to stop a newly emboldened Legislature from passing more laws that punish other businesses for speech they don’t like? (Orlando Sentinel)

    The board was afraid the Michigan Legislature was going to lower the boom on the university and start taking away state aid in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual assaults scandal. (Detroit Free Press)


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