nail (one's) colours to the mast

(redirected from nail their colours to the mast)

nail (one's) colours 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 colours 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 colours to the mast.
See also: colour, mast, nail

nail your colours to the mast

BRITISH, JOURNALISM
1. If you nail your colours to the mast, you state your opinions or beliefs about something clearly and publicly. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Let me nail my colours to the mast straightaway. I both like and admire him immensely.
2. If you nail your colours to the mast, you say clearly and publicly that you support a particular person, idea, or theory. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. In the Thatcher years, the young MP nailed his colours to Mrs T's mast more firmly than most. This was the moment he nailed his colours to the mast of Social Security reform. Note: Battleships used to lower their colours to show that they were surrendering. Sometimes the colours were nailed to the mast as a sign of determination to fight to the end.
See also: colour, mast, nail

nail (or pin) your colours to the mast

declare openly and firmly what you believe or favour.
See also: colour, mast, nail

nail your colours to the ˈmast

(especially British English) show clearly which side you support: It’s time to nail our colours to the mast and condemn this dreadful policy. OPPOSITE: sit on the fenceIn this expression, colours are flags. In a battle at sea, a ship would nail its colours to the mast to show its intention to continue fighting and not surrender.
See also: colour, mast, nail
References in periodicals archive ?
Noises coming from Tipperary and Cork suggest they will be voting against the proposal though O Fearghail that it would be premature of any county to nail their colours to the mast at this stage.
com spokesman Paul Petrie said: "With clubs starting to nail their colours to the mast it seems likely the newco Rangers will not be allowed to start life in the SPL.
Others were very unimpressed with the actions of some managers and have decided to nail their colours to the mast with NZNO and the Service and Food Workers' Union.
Were they suddenly faced with an attack of shyness when faced with so many residents, unlike the half a dozen who turn up at the council chamber, or were they simply unwilling to nail their colours to the mast in public?
What we need is those guys to nail their colours to the mast, get off that treatment table and say they want to play for this club and help us have a fantastic season.
To the First Minister's left and right were other ministers who are holding metaphoric hammers with which they will shortly nail their colours to the mast of the man or woman they want to succeed the Cardiff West AM.
How many MPs nail their colours to the mast and have the bottle to resign to show their principles.
During the initial debates most delegations signalled their hopes of seeing EU government leaders nail their colours to the mast on asylum and immigration policy.
But north of the border it is a very different story with bookies not as keen to nail their colours to the mast.
PUNTERS continued to nail their colours to the mast on Aidan O'Brien's Race For The Stars in the 1000 Guineas.
Cllr Dowd said Merseyside MPs must nail their colours to the mast to ensure the Bill's success.
Now I am calling on the SNP to nail their colours to the mast and get behind the scrapping of prescription charges for Scots.