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spike (one's) guns

To ruin one's plans or prevent one's success. The phrase refers to the former military practice of inserting spikes into enemy guns to prevent them from firing. I'm afraid the rain has spiked our guns. We cannot hold the rally as planned.
See also: gun, spike

spike someone's guns

If you spike someone's guns, you do something to prevent someone's plans from succeeding. Parkers spiked their rival's guns by launching their product two months before Jones were able to do so. Note: In the past, when soldiers captured a large enemy gun which they could not move, they hammered a nail or spike into the hole where the gunpowder was put. This meant that the gunpowder could not be lit and so the gun would not work.
See also: gun, spike

spike someone's guns

take steps to thwart someone's intended course of action.
First recorded in English in the late 17th century, the expression referred literally to the practice of hammering a metal spike into a captured enemy cannon so that it could not be fired.
See also: gun, spike

spike somebody’s ˈdrink

add (more) alcohol or drugs to somebody’s drink, without their knowledge: ...I discovered later that they’d spiked my drink. That’s why I was so ill!
See also: drink, spike

spike somebody’s ˈguns

(British English) spoil somebody’s plans because you do not want them to succeed: She was jealous of David’s progress in the company, so she spiked his guns by telling the boss that David had a drinking problem.This refers to pushing a metal spike (= a thin object with a sharp point) into the enemy’s gun or cannon so that it cannot be fired.
See also: gun, spike


1. n. a hypodermic needle; a hypodermic syringe and needle; a medicine dropper and a needle. (Drugs.) The addict caught some strange disease from a dirty spike.
2. tv. to add ether or alcohol to beer, originally by injecting it through the cork with a hypodermic needle; to add alcohol to a nonalcoholic drink. (see also spiked.) He spiked the beer with ether, which is a dangerous thing to do.
3. tv. to puncture an idea. I explained the plan, but the boss spiked it immediately.


1. mod. having to do with a drink with alcohol added; having to do with a punch with an alcoholic content. Is the punch spiked? I want some without.
2. mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. I knew that Mrs. Wilmington-Thorpe was spiked when she belched like a real country thunder-boomer.
3. mod. having to do with hair that stands up straight. His spiked hair wouldn’t look so bad if it wasn’t orange.
See also: spike
References in periodicals archive ?
The SSM measure Q takes values in [0, 1], with 0 when spike trains are desynchronized and 1 when there is perfect coincidence of spikes.
Challenging participants from advertising and communication organisations to create an integrated campaign in response to a brief set by a charity or non-profit organisation, the Young Spikes Integrated competition brings teams of two in front of a panel of experts to present their campaigns.
You guys know me," Spikes said playfully, "I do things a little bit different from everybody else.
We've made it essentially impossible for web based malware to breach companies through the Spikes Browser.
Quick Spikes are an apparatus that stretches around the base of your footwear and attaches golf spikes to the shoe or sneaker, thus turning it into a golf shoe.
Under-study traits in this research included plant height, fertile tillers number, length of main spike, length of secondary spikes, main spike weight, secondary spike weight, grains number per main spike, number of grains per secondary spikes, grain weight per main spike, grain weight per secondary spikes, 1000 grain weight per main spike, 1000 grain weight per secondary spikes, biological yield, straw yield, harvest index and grain yield.
i -th neuron gets spikes from i -th global input channel.
I have been told that soft spikes for summer and steel spikes for winter is the best way to go.
Stronger cardboard and boxboard that is fixed by the spikes is directed to the end of the installation where it is removed from the spikes by a counter-rotating roller and ejected separately from the installation.
We typically handle spikes in about a two-week period of time, but in this particular case, we had gone six weeks getting beat up by this particular spike and that alarmed us.
Within a few hours, spikes up to 5 centimeters tall formed.
To make matters worse, these little spikes wreak havoc in terms of logic confusion, system errors and frozen screens.
The barrier-gate operator and auto-spikes operate in synchronization so the spikes are always up when the barrier arm is down and vice versa.
As a result, office investors are projecting rent spikes in many metropolitan areas.
The price spikes will be generated by political turmoil set against a backdrop of steadily rising global demand for oil.