go to the mattresses

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go to the mattresses

To enter into or prepare for a lengthy war, battle, or conflict; to adopt a combative or warlike position. While the true origin is uncertain, the phrase was popularized in English by The Godfather novel and films, where it referred to warring mafia families housing their soldiers in small, secure apartments to await orders. While Republicans have shown some flexibility over other contentious issues, it looks as though they're ready to go to the mattresses over the issue of gun control. We'll go to the mattresses if that's what it takes to defend ourselves!
See also: mattress
References in periodicals archive ?
Even if you have the temerity to talk about Measure 11, you go to the mattresses and start World War III.
Most of the Democrats have a stake in serving the system; few have the independence or willingness to go to the mattresses or stand up for what they say they claim, at times, to believe in.
Then there are the feuds, such as that between the Hatfields and McCoys, or such as those in the Mafia, when the guys go to the mattresses, and with about the same amount of good sense that fostered them and with the same stupid result.
We can be thoughtful and methodical like last year in meeting with the governor - the Michael Corleone style; or we can do the Sonny Corleone style and go to the mattresses and make it a big public fight for nine months,'' Cedillo Press Secretary Edward Headington said Monday, referencing the Mafia movie ``The Godfather.
Clemenza said it best: It's time to go to the mattresses.
But the idea that 'let's all go to the mattresses here and fight about this in the law courts'--we think that's unjust to everybody.