box the compass


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box the compass

1. To count off all 32 points of a compass in a clockwise order. Sailor! Box the compass for me, posthaste!
2. To completely reverse one's position or stance on something, such an issue, belief, argument, etc. After seeing so much evidence regarding climate change, I was forced to box the compass.
See also: box, compass
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

box the compass

Make a complete turnabout or reversal, as in With a change of ownership, the editorial page boxed the compass politically, now supporting the Senator . Originally this was (and continues to be) a nautical term, meaning "repeat the 32 points of the compass in order." In the early 1800s it began to be used figuratively.
See also: box, compass
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

box the compass

1. To name the 32 points of the compass in proper order.
2. To make a complete revolution or reversal.
See also: box, compass
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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