a kick up the arse

a kick up the arse

A forceful gesture or message of some kind (usually delivered with good intentions) that acts as motivation to the (previously unmotivated) recipient. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The threat of divorce was the kick up the arse he needed to start working on improving his marriage.
See also: arse, kick, up
References in classic literature ?
They had just started to cross this queer bridge when a sharp growl made them all look up, and to their horror they saw running toward them two great beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers.
Toto had run on ahead, frisking playfully, when suddenly he uttered a sharp bark of fear and came running back to them with his tail between his legs, as dogs do when they are frightened.
Among other things he found a sharp hunting knife, on the keen blade of which he immediately proceeded to cut his finger.
Fiercely he strove to disengage his weapon, but Hordle John bent his arm slowly back until, with a sharp crack, like a breaking stave, it turned limp in his grasp, and the mace dropped from the nerveless fingers.
AN American Statesman who had twisted the tail of the British Lion until his arms ached was at last rewarded by a sharp, rasping sound.
The Ass replied that passing through a hedge he had trod with his foot upon a sharp thorn.
But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athene had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders.
Besides that, to have two bits instead of one -- and mine was a sharp one, it hurt my tongue and my jaw, and the blood from my tongue colored the froth that kept flying from my lips as I chafed and fretted at the bits and rein.
Moreover, just as Pierre was speaking a sharp rattle of drums was suddenly heard from both sides.
But Ned Land had disentangled the Captain, who, getting up without any wound, went straight to the Indian, quickly cut the cord which held him to his stone, took him in his arms, and, with a sharp blow of his heel, mounted to the surface.
But at the first word the young woman started, and exclaimed in a sharp, bantering tone.
There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect.
From this state he was awakened -- ages later, it seemed to him -- by the pain of a sharp pressure upon his throat, followed by a sense of suffocation.
The Victoria, which was skimming along the tops of immense forests, soon came to a sharp halt.
It was a slap rather than a blow, but the woman gave a sharp cry and cowered up against the barrow with her hand to her cheek.