Move heaven and earth

Move heaven and earth is an idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the meaning of the idiom move heaven and earth, where it may have come from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To move heaven and earth means to put tremendous effort into accomplishing something, to do everything one can to make something happen. The expression move heaven and earth came into use in the 1700s, but its origin is uncertain. Some believe it is related to Archimedes’ statement: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” However, Archimedes lived in the 200s B.C. and the idiom did not come into use until 2,000 years later. Others attribute the idiom to a passage in the Bible, Haggai 2:6: “…I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land…” However, the word “move” is not an accurate synonym of the word “shake,” here. Related phrases are moves heaven and earth, moved heaven and earth, moving heaven and earth.

You might also want to read about when to capitalize “earth”.

Examples

Police say they will “move heaven and earth” to track down the murderers of a 19-year-old law student gunned down in a drive-by shooting. (Aberdeen Evening Press)

Time to demonstrate that the game is important enough to those who oversee it and those who play it to move heaven and earth to keep it breathing now. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

We’ve heard tales of people dying in hospital rooms without their families, connected only by the grace of technology and medical staff willing to move heaven and earth to allow them a last moment. (The Times Herald-Record)