all hands on deck


Also found in: Acronyms.

all hands on deck

1. A call for all members of a ship's crew to come to the deck, usually in a time of crisis. (A "hand" is a member of a ship's crew.) We're under attack! All hands on deck!
2. By extension, everyone available to help with a problem, or a call for those people to help. Your grandmother arrives tomorrow and the house is still a mess—I need all hands on deck to help me clean! All hands on deck! We've got to roll out this tarp before the rain starts. Now let's go!
See also: all, deck, hand, on

all hands on deck

mainly BRITISH
If a situation requires all hands on deck, it needs everyone to work hard to achieve an aim or do a task. Come on then, boys, all hands on deck tonight, we need all the help we can get. Your job was so big that we needed all hands on deck. Note: Members of a ship's crew are sometimes called hands and `deck' refers to the floor of a ship.
See also: all, deck, hand, on

all ˌhands on ˈdeck

(also all ˌhands to the ˈpump) (saying, humorous) everyone helps or must help, especially in an emergency: There are 10 staff off sick this week, so it’s all hands on deck.When the kitchen staff became ill, it was all hands to the pump and even the manager did some cooking.
On a ship, a hand is a sailor.
See also: all, deck, hand, on