Run it up the flagpole

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Run it up the flagpole is an American idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom run it up the flagpole, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Run it up the flagpole is an idiom that means to float an idea and see what the reaction is, to try something out and see how it works. Run it up the flagpole is the first half of a longer idiom, run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it. The expression was coined by American advertising executives in the mid-nineteenth century. The idiom is an allusion to raising the American flag upon a flagpole; the assumption is that if one respects it, one will salute it.


“But the individuals involved have done some innovative things in Salem, so they deserve the chance to run it up the flagpole.” (The Salem News)

And even if he has, Jerry Jones needs to at least run it up the flagpole and see how many draft picks it would take to get Payton to Dallas. (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

If someone really believes in something, then let ’em run it up the flagpole and see what happens. (Billboard Magazine)

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