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die in harness

To die while still actively working or still of the age or physical condition to do so (i.e., before retirement). With medicine and healthcare improving at such vast rates, far fewer people die in harness than ever before.
See also: die, harness

*back in(to) (the) harness

Fig. back doing one's job. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) I don't look forward to getting back into the harness next Monday. When my vacation is over, I have to get back into harness the very next day. I'm not looking forward to having to get back in harness after my trip abroad.
See also: back, harness

harness an animal up

to put a harness on an animal, such as a horse. You had better harness the horses up so we can go. Please harness up the mare for me.
See also: animal, harness, up

harness someone (or an animal) to something

to attach someone, something, or an animal to something with a harness. The instructor harnessed me to the hang glider, and I really began to get nervous. Andrew harnessed the horses to the little wagon.
See also: harness

be back in harness

  (mainly British)
to have returned to work again after not working for a period of time How does it feel to be back in harness after 8 months?
See also: back, harness

in harness

if two or more people work in harness, they work together to achieve something French and British police are working in harness to solve the problem.
See also: harness

die with one's boots on

Also, die in harness. Expire while working, keep working to the end, as in He'll never retire-he'll die with his boots on, or She knows she'll never get promoted, but she wants to die in harness. Both phrases probably allude to soldiers who died on active duty. Until the early 1600s the noun boot denoted a piece of armor for the legs, which may have given rise to this usage; and Shakespeare used harness in the sense of armor when he wrote: "At least we'll die with harness on our back" ( Macbeth 5:5).
See also: boot, die

in harness

On duty or at work. For example, Despite his illness he's determined to continue in harness. It also is put as be back in harness, meaning "to return to duty or work," as in After a long vacation she's finally back in harness. This expression alludes to horses harnessed to perform work. [First half of 1800s] Also see die with one's boots on (in harness).
See also: harness

in harness

On duty or at work.
See also: harness
References in classic literature ?
An hour's time saw the sled loaded with the ingoing mail and grub, fresh dogs harnessed, and a fresh Indian engaged.
Only the one wheel-dog remained, and Daylight harnessed the Indian and himself to the sled.
At Selkirk, the old team of dogs, fresh and in condition, were harnessed, and the same day saw Daylight plodding on, alternating places at the gee-pole, as a matter of course, with the Le Barge Indian who had volunteered on the way out.
Not that I on that account upbraid them: but serving ones do they remain, and harnessed ones, even though they glitter in golden harness.
The commissary having been buried with all the decorations suitable to the service (the whole team of proprieties were harnessed to his hearse, and they all had feathers and black velvet housings with his coat of arms in the corner), Mrs General began to inquire what quantity of dust and ashes was deposited at the bankers'.
I researched the level of physical development required for a child to walk with a harnessed children's visual companion dog; performed a review of the literature on the role of movement and motivation in development; considered the common movement concerns related to blind children; provided parents opportunities to learn about early harness travel and observe their child's trial harness walk; and collected insights, opinions, and observations through a survey and follow-up discussion.
It's the highly sophisticated feather light two-wheel vehicle where the driver sits, which is harnessed to the specially bred trotting horse.
Dogs had been getting bone spurs in their shoulders from the pressure of pulling while harnessed.
Biomass could produce 750,000 TWh and a further 16,000 TWh could be harnessed from hydro, tidal and wave power.
Montana's wind has been harnessed by each generation of Montanans.
The spare processing power on their PC networks can now be harnessed to accelerate their drug discovery efforts.