Stick to one’s guns and stand to one’s guns

Stick to one’s guns and stand to one’s guns are two iterations of an 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 sayings stick to one’s guns and stand to one’s guns, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

Stick to one’s guns is an idiom that means to stand up for one’s beliefs or opinions, especially when others do not agree or believe as you do. When you stick to your guns you not only hold to your conviction, but you also defend your conviction to others, no matter what. Related phrases are sticks to one’s guns, stuck to one’s guns, sticking to one’s guns. The expression stick to one’s guns can be traced to the military; it came into figurative use in the 1700s. Stick to one’s guns is considered American English.

Stand to one’s guns also means to stand up for one’s beliefs or opinions; this form of the idiom is considered British English. Related phrases are stands to one’s guns, stood to one’s guns, standing to one’s guns. Though stand to one’s guns is an idiom that is older than stick to one’s guns, today, stick to one’s guns is immensely more popular than stand to one’s guns.


“When it becomes an attempt to creep on turf, we believe the best option is to call the bluff of the Executive, assert the independence, stick to one’s guns and proceed with one’s mandate.” (Pulse Ghana)

But it is commendable to stick to one’s guns and create something genuine and heartfelt rather than jumping on the bandwagon and succumbing to the pressures of music labels. (The Hindu)

Dismissive, defiant, steadfast and downright insulting, Justice — the owner of the aforementioned resort and the girls basketball coach at Greenbrier East High School — stuck to his guns in delaying the prep sports season until at least March 1 and seems determined to do so, even if one those guns eventually goes off and shoots a hole in his foot. (Huntington Herald Dispatch)

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