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nail (one's) colors to the mast

To refuse to cease or surrender. Because lowering a ship's flag was a customary indication of surrender, this nautical phrase emphasizes the resolve of a ship's crew. We will nail our colors to the mast and fight on—they will never capture us! We're going to have a tough time beating this team now that they are playing with such determination. I fear they've nailed their colors to the mast.
See also: color, mast, nail

at half-mast

 and at half-staff
[of a flag] halfway up or down its flagpole. The flag was flying at half-mast because the general had died. Americans fly flags at half-staff on Memorial Day.

nail your colours to the mast

  (British & Australian) also nail your colors to the mast (American & Australian)
to publicly state your opinions about a subject Nobody knows which way he's going to vote because he has so far refused to nail his colours to the mast.
See nail colours to the mast, show in true colours
See also: colour, mast, nail

be at half-mast

  (British humorous)
if someone's trousers are at half-mast, they are too short His hair was dirty and his trousers at half-mast.

at half-mast

Halfway up or down, as in The church bells tolled off and on all day and the flags were at half-mast. This term refers to placing a flag halfway up a ship's mast or flagpole, a practice used as a mark of respect for a person who has died or, at sea, as a distress signal. Occasionally the term is transferred to other objects, as in Tom's pants were at half-mast as he raced around the playground, or The puppy's tail was at half-mast. [First half of 1600s]