wagon

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fix someone's wagon

Fig. to punish someone; to get even with someone; to plot against someone. If you ever do that again, I'll fix your wagon! Tommy! You clean up your room this instant, or I'll fix your wagon! He reported me to the boss, but I fixed his wagon. I knocked his lunch on the floor.
See also: fix, wagon

Hitch your wagon to a star.

Prov. Always aspire to do great things.; Do not set pessimistic goals. (From Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Civilization.") The speaker who delivered the high school commencement address challenged the graduating students to hitch their wagons to a star. Bob: What do you want to be when you grow up? Child: I used to want to be a great actor, but my dad told me hardly anybody gets to be an actor, so now I have to pick something else. Bob: Nonsense. If you want to be an actor, then do your best to be an actor. Hitch your wagon to a star!
See also: hitch, star, wagon

*off the wagon

 
1. Fig. drinking liquor after a period of abstinence. (*Typically: be ~; fall ~; get ~.) Poor John fell off the wagon again. Drunk as a skunk. He was off the wagon for a year the last time before he sobered up.
2. Fig. back on drugs after a period of abstinence. (*Typically: be ~; fall ~; get ~.) Wilbur is off the wagon and shooting up again. He can't be off the wagon, because he has never stopped using, even for a day.
See also: off, wagon

on the wagon

Fig. not drinking alcohol. No, I don't care for a cocktail. I'm on the wagon. Bob's old drinking buddies complained that he was no fun when he went on the wagon.
See also: on, wagon

off the wagon

drinking alcohol again, after having stopped If she falls off the wagon again, she'll just have to pick herself up and try to stop drinking.
Usage notes: usually said about someone who has an alcohol problem
Opposite of: on the wagon
See also: off, wagon

on the wagon

not drinking any alcohol, after a period of drinking regularly He's been on the wagon for ten years now.
Usage notes: usually said about someone who has an alcohol problem
Opposite of: off the wagon
See also: on, wagon

circle the wagons

to stop communicating with people not in your group to avoid their ideas or beliefs Americans are feeling it is an especially good time to spend time with family, to circle the wagons.
Etymology: based on the custom of bringing wagons (vehicles pulled by horses) into a circle when they are being attacked
See also: circle, wagon

fall off the wagon

to start drinking alcohol again, especially too much alcohol, after a period when you have not drunk any Six months later he fell off the wagon in spectacular fashion with a three-day drinking spree.
See also: fall, off, wagon

hitch your wagon to somebody/something

  also hitch your wagon to a star
to try to become successful by becoming involved with someone or something that is already successful or has a good chance of becoming successful He wisely decided to hitch his wagon to the environmentalist movement, which was then gaining support throughout the country. She hitched her wagon to a rising young star on the music scene.
See also: hitch, wagon

be on the wagon

someone who is on the wagon has decided not to drink any alcohol for a period of time He'd been an alcoholic once, but when I met him he'd been on the wagon for about five years.
See fall off the wagon, hitch wagon to
See also: on, wagon

fix someone's wagon

Get even with someone, get revenge on someone, spoil someone's chance of success. For example, He may think he can win the election, but these ads will fix his wagon, or After what he did to her, her family's out to fix his wagon. This term uses fix in the sense of "punish someone" or "put someone in an awkward position," a usage dating from about 1800. The wagon was added in the 1900s, presumably making the phrase refer to putting sand in a wagon axle or similar sabotage.
See also: fix, wagon

hitch one's wagon to a star

Aim high, as in Bill's hitching his wagon to a star-he plans to be a partner by age thirty. This metaphoric expression was invented by essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1870.
See also: hitch, star, wagon

on the wagon

Abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages, as in Don't offer her wine; she's on the wagon. This expression is a shortening of on the water wagon, referring to the horse-drawn water car once used to spray dirt roads to keep down the dust. Its present meaning dates from about 1900. The antonym off the wagon, used for a resumption of drinking, dates from the same period. B.J. Taylor used it in Extra Dry (1906): "It is better to have been on and off the wagon than never to have been on at all."
See also: on, wagon

draggin’-wagon

n. a fast car; a car customized for racing. Your draggin’-wagon can’t be driven in town, can it?

fall off the wagon

1. in. to resume drinking after having stopped. (The wagon is presumed to be the water wagon.) It looks to me like he wanted nothing more than to fall off the wagon.
2. in. to resume any previously stopped behavior including smoking, drug use, overeating, or any other disavowed behavior. He’s back to watching TV again. Fell off the wagon I guess.
See also: fall, off, wagon

honey wagon

1. and honey cart n. any vehicle used for or designed for carrying excrement: a farm manure wagon; a tank truck used to pump out septic tanks; a tank truck used to pump out airplane toilets; a portable latrine truck used in movie making. I drove a honey cart in Hollywood for a year. How’s that for glamour?
2. n. a beer truck. What time does the honey wagon bring in new supplies?
See also: honey, wagon

meat wagon

n. an ambulance. The meat wagon showed up just as they were pulling what was left of Marty out of what was left of her car.
See also: meat, wagon

monkey wagon

n. drug addiction. (Drugs.) Some of these treatment centers won’t get you off the monkey wagon unless you have insurance.
See also: monkey, wagon

off the wagon

1. mod. drinking liquor after a period of abstinence. Poor John fell off the wagon again. Drunk as a skunk.
2. mod. back on drugs after a period of abstinence. Harry the Horse is off the wagon and shooting up again.
See also: off, wagon

on the wagon

mod. not now drinking alcoholic liquor. How long has John been on the wagon this time?
See also: on, wagon

paddy wagon

n. a police van used to take suspected criminals to the police station. The cop put the woman in handcuffs and then called the paddy wagon.
See also: paddy, wagon

wagon

n. the police wagon. I called the wagon. It’ll come and get these two thugs in about fifteen minutes.

circle the wagons

To take a defensive position; become defensive.
See also: circle, wagon

fix (someone's) wagon

To get revenge on another.
See also: fix, wagon

off the wagon

Slang
No longer abstaining from alcoholic beverages.
See also: off, wagon

on the wagon

Slang
Abstaining from alcoholic beverages.
See also: on, wagon

circle the wagons!

Prepare your defenses. A line in Western movies, when the Indians were about to attack a wagon train, was the wagon master's shout to “circle the wagons!” The Conestogas and prairie schooners then formed a circle to make a barricade behind which men fired their rifles at their attackers who galloped around the perimeter while the womenfolk reloaded the weapons or tended to the injured. (Another “oater” convention had the cavalry appear over the horizon and charge to the rescue). You didn't have to wear a ten-gallon hat and carry a Winchester 73 to use the phrase. When trouble appeared, such as an advertising agency about to lose an important account, a “Mad Man” would summon his department with a “Let's get the wagons in a circle and save this sinking ship” (mixed metaphors were not unknown in the advertising business).
See also: circle

hitch your wagon to a star

Set high goals. The phrase come from an 1862 Ralph Waldo Emerson essay “American Civilization”: “Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor, to hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods themselves. That is the way we are strong, by borrowing the might of the elements. The forces of steam, gravity, galvanism, light, magnets, wind, fire, serve us day by day, and cost us nothing.” It used to be heard among other bit of avuncular or graduation speech advice. Then advice for the future became more specific, like “plastics” in the movie The Graduate. Nowadays, in this economy, your guess is as good as mine.
See also: hitch, star, wagon