keep your powder dry


Also found in: Acronyms.

keep (one's) powder dry

To be prepared to act with little advance notice. The phrase refers to gunpowder, which needs to be kept dry in order to work properly. I know this job opportunity didn't work out, but keep your powder dry for the next one that comes along.
See also: dry, keep, powder

keep your powder dry

If you keep your powder dry, you remain ready to take action if necessary. He must keep his powder dry for the really important issues. Note: The powder referred to here is gunpowder. The expression comes from a story about the English leader Oliver Cromwell. He is said to have ended a speech to his soldiers, who were about to cross a river and go into battle, by saying: `Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.'
See also: dry, keep, powder

keep your powder dry

be ready for action; remain alert for a possible emergency.
When his troops were about to cross a river, the English statesman and general Oliver Cromwell ( 1599–1658 ) is said to have exorted them: ‘Put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry’. The powder referred to is gunpowder.
1998 Independent Instead of keeping its powder dry for the important things, New Labour's political fate is being inextricably bound up with events over which mere politicians can have no control.
See also: dry, keep, powder

keep your ˈpowder dry

(old-fashioned) remain ready for a possible emergency: The bank is not cutting interest rates at the moment, preferring to keep its powder dry in case it’s forced to cut them in the future.This comes from advice given by Oliver Cromwell to his troops when they were crossing a river before battle. Powder here refers to the gunpowder used to fire bullets.
See also: dry, keep, powder
References in periodicals archive ?
If you can't get who you want I think it's better to keep your powder dry and wait until the summer.
The movie is moderately entertaining but if you're after outrageous characters with tremendous shock value, keep your powder dry for Howard Stern's Private Parts.
However the game is harder to call than the prices suggest, so it may pay to keep your powder dry for the weekend's Super League Murrayfield Magic extravaganza.
But keep your powder dry for tomorrow night's Ricky Hatton v Paulie Malignaggi in Las Vegas.
Better to keep your powder dry and wait for the final couple of fences, because if he still has company he might just be worried out of it.
You won't go far wrong with a low-drawn prominent runner in big-field handicaps over ten furlongs at York, so it is advisable to keep your powder dry until the final declarations are known, but one to catch the eye is James Caird.
SRI LANKA and India clash in Johannesburg on Monday but with a serious injury worry over Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, it's best to keep your powder dry until nearer the time, writes Ed Hawkins.