mast

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nail (one's) colors to the mast

To refuse to cease or surrender. Because lowering a ship's flag was a customary indication of surrender, this nautical phrase emphasizes the resolve of a ship's crew. We will nail our colors to the mast and fight on—they will never capture us! We're going to have a tough time beating this team now that they are playing with such determination. I fear they've nailed their colors to the mast.
See also: color, mast, nail

at half-mast

Partially raised or lowered. The phrase most often describes a flag that has been lowered to honor a recently-deceased person. After our former president died, flags were at half-mast all across the country. My daughter came home from the park covered in dirt, her ponytail at half-mast.

be at half-mast

To be partially raised or lowered. The phrase most often describes a flag that has been lowered to honor a recently-deceased person. After our former president died, flags were at half-mast all across the country. When my daughter came home from the park, she was covered in dirt, and her ponytail was at half-mast.

nail (one's) colours to the mast

To refuse to cease or surrender. Because lowering a ship's flag was a customary indication of surrender, this nautical phrase emphasizes the resolve of a ship's crew. We will nail our colours to the mast and fight on—they will never capture us! We're going to have a tough time beating this team now that they are playing with such determination. I fear they've nailed their colours to the mast.
See also: colour, mast, nail

at half-mast

 and at half-staff
[of a flag] halfway up or down its flagpole. The flag was flying at half-mast because the general had died. Americans fly flags at half-staff on Memorial Day.

at half-mast

Halfway up or down, as in The church bells tolled off and on all day and the flags were at half-mast. This term refers to placing a flag halfway up a ship's mast or flagpole, a practice used as a mark of respect for a person who has died or, at sea, as a distress signal. Occasionally the term is transferred to other objects, as in Tom's pants were at half-mast as he raced around the playground, or The puppy's tail was at half-mast. [First half of 1600s]

nail your colours to the mast

BRITISH, JOURNALISM
1. If you nail your colours to the mast, you state your opinions or beliefs about something clearly and publicly. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Let me nail my colours to the mast straightaway. I both like and admire him immensely.
2. If you nail your colours to the mast, you say clearly and publicly that you support a particular person, idea, or theory. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. In the Thatcher years, the young MP nailed his colours to Mrs T's mast more firmly than most. This was the moment he nailed his colours to the mast of Social Security reform. Note: Battleships used to lower their colours to show that they were surrendering. Sometimes the colours were nailed to the mast as a sign of determination to fight to the end.
See also: colour, mast, nail