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Let one’s guard down and drop one’s guard

  • Let one’s guard down and drop one’s guard are two variations of an idiom that may not be as old as you think. 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 let one’s guard down and drop one’s guard, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

     

    Let one’s guard down and drop one’s guard are expressions that both mean to relax, to stop being vigilant, to be less careful, to be less alert. The idioms let one’s guard down and drop one’s guard invoke the imagery of relaxing a military stance or lowering one’s weapon. The expressions let one’s guard down and drop one’s guard, in a figurative sense, seem to have only become popular in the mid-twentieth century, though the phrases have been in use in a literal sense for many years before that. The phrase let one’s guard down is about twice as common as drop one’s guard.

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    Examples

    If not for your own health, for the sake of others’ do not let your guard down – not for a minute. (Minot Daily News)

    “Don’t let your guard down at any cost even though you have been vaccinated.” (Times of India)

    It’s 2020, and yes the year is almost over, but don’t drop your guard now. (Houstonia Magazine)

    DON’T DROP YOUR GUARD THIS CHRISTMAS, CAUTIONS BOSTIC (Barbados Advocate)


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