canoe


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paddle (one's) own canoe

To act independently. Now that you're 30, people expect you to paddle your own canoe—you can't just live with your parents forever.
See also: canoe, own, paddle

paddle one's own canoe

Fig. to do something by oneself; to be alone. I've been left to paddle my own canoe too many times. Sally isn't with us. She's off paddling her own canoe.
See also: canoe, own, paddle

paddle one's own canoe

Be independent and self-reliant, as in It's time Bill learned to paddle his own canoe. This idiom alludes to steering one's own boat. [c. 1800]
See also: canoe, own, paddle

paddle your own canoe

If you paddle your own canoe, you control what you want to do without anyone's help or interference. With no one managing him, he was basically left to paddle his own canoe. As far as the rest of Europe is concerned we've just got to paddle our own canoe.
See also: canoe, own, paddle

paddle your own canoe

be independent and self-sufficient. informal
This expression has been in figurative use from the early 19th century: it was the title of a popular song by Sarah T. Bolton in 1854 .
See also: canoe, own, paddle

paddle one's own canoe, to

To be independent and self-reliant. The analogy to steering one’s boat is very old indeed; Euripides drew it in his play Cyclops (ca. 440 b.c.). Canoes being largely a Western Hemisphere conveyance, this particular version of the term is American in origin. It dates from about 1800. An early appearance in print occurs in Frederick Marryat’s Settlers in Canada (1840). A few years later Harper’s Monthly (May 1854) published the following ditty: “Voyager upon life’s sea, to yourself be true, And whate’er your lot may be, paddle your own canoe.” It became a popular music-hall song.
See also: own, paddle
References in classic literature ?
As it touched Tarzan spoke a few low words to Sheeta and Akut, so that before the attacking warriors could draw away there sprang upon them with a blood-freezing scream a huge panther, and into the other end of their canoe clambered a great ape.
At one end the panther wrought fearful havoc with his mighty talons and long, sharp fangs, while Akut at the other buried his yellow canines in the necks of those that came within his reach, hurling the terror-stricken blacks overboard as he made his way toward the centre of the canoe.
Again he aimed and fired, the bullet splintering the gunwale of the canoe close by Baynes' face.
Here lay the canoes that had been used in bringing the party from the opposite shore.
For there were a number of canoes filled with the goods of the party, while the members themselves occupied a larger one with their personal baggage.
At the promised time he had the canoes and paddlers on hand and the goods safely stowed away while one big craft was fitted up as comfortably as possible for the men of the party.
The Indian made no other answer than by dropping his paddle into the water, and urging forward the canoe. As he held the office of directing its course, his resolution was sufficiently indicated by the movement.
Uncas pointed toward a rocky shore a little in their front, whence another war canoe was darting directly across their course.
As the Indians of the plains who depend upon the chase are bold and expert riders, and pride themselves upon their horses, so these piscatory tribes of the coast excel in the management of canoes, and are never more at home than when riding upon the waves.
In managing their canoes they kneel two and two along the bottom, sitting on their heels, and wielding paddles from four to five feet long, while one sits on the stern and steers with a paddle of the same kind.
He pulled it in rapidly, hand under hand, and landed a big gasping rock cod in the bottom of the canoe.
The gang-plank being on the port side, Dag Daughtry paddled around to the starboard and brought the canoe to a stop under a certain open port.
It was about dark now; so I dropped the canoe down the river under some willows that hung over the bank, and waited for the moon to rise.
Elizabeth examined the light ashen timbers and thin bark covering of the canoe, in admiration of its neat but simple execution, and with wonder that any human being could he so daring as to trust his life in so frail a vessel.
And each Somo boy sat on his trade-box to prevent it from being tossed into the waiting canoes by some Langa-Langa boy.