circle the wagons


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Related to circle the wagons: circle the waggons

circle the wagons

1. To become defensive. (Conestoga wagons under attack were traditionally brought into a circular defensive position.) I'm not questioning your decision, so don't circle the wagons—I'm just looking for some more information.
2. To confer only with people within a trusted group. Callie's new group of friends really circles the wagons, so she hardly talks to me anymore. Circle the wagons, people. We can't have word of this getting out to the press.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons

mainly AMERICAN
If a group of people who are in difficulty or danger circle the wagons, they unite in order to protect themselves and fight whoever is attacking them. She accused Collier and other senior officials of trying to circle the wagons in their recent defense of the bureau's performance. Note: You can also say that people pull or get their wagons in a circle. This is designed to get the wagons in a circle and defend the smoking franchise. Note: These expressions are usually used to show disapproval. Note: According to some Wild West stories, when wagon trains were attacked by Native Americans, the settlers drove the wagons into a circle in order to defend themselves better.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons

(of a group) unite in defence of a common interest. North American informal
In South Africa the Afrikaans word laager , meaning ‘a defensive circle of ox wagons’, is used in similar metaphorical contexts.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons

To take a defensive position; become defensive.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons!

Prepare your defenses. A line in Western movies, when the Indians were about to attack a wagon train, was the wagon master's shout to “circle the wagons!” The Conestogas and prairie schooners then formed a circle to make a barricade behind which men fired their rifles at their attackers who galloped around the perimeter while the womenfolk reloaded the weapons or tended to the injured. (Another “oater” convention had the cavalry appear over the horizon and charge to the rescue). You didn't have to wear a ten-gallon hat and carry a Winchester 73 to use the phrase. When trouble appeared, such as an advertising agency about to lose an important account, a “Mad Man” would summon his department with a “Let's get the wagons in a circle and save this sinking ship” (mixed metaphors were not unknown in the advertising business).
See also: circle
References in periodicals archive ?
Blues go to Parnaby's old club Middlesbrough tomorrow and won't just circle the wagons at the Riverside.
LaMountain said, "It was a nice feeling to see us circle the wagons around one of our own.
Although I knew it would be tough, I wrongly and overconfidently believed in my ability to circle the wagons without our coaches, introducing a new philosophy.
He added: "We need to circle the wagons and get a couple of wins make sure of our safety.
Circle the wagons and call home the hungry cowboys.
Instead of "holding up their hands and admitting a mistake," when something goes wrong "they circle the wagons, and protect each other, which allows insti tutional inertia to set in, whereby one level of the Prison Service supports another level of the Prison Service, which supports another level of the Prison Service.
And if something does go wrong, the initial instinct is to circle the wagons.
Circle the wagons boys, cause this Native American beauty is on the war path.
As the fantastic attendance on Wednesday showed, when we're under attack, we might moan, but we circle the wagons and pull together.
McConnell's spokesman hit back: "The First Minister believes that the worst kneejerk reaction of all is from social workers and union leaders whose first instinct is always to circle the wagons and defend their staff whenever questions are asked about protecting vulnerable children.
Mr Mandelson's decision could not have come at a worse time for the UUP leader as his party critics circle the wagons around him and prepare to depose him from his leadership throne.