circle the wagons

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Related to circled the wagons: circle the waggons

circle the wagons

1. To become defensive. (Conestoga wagons under attack were traditionally brought into a circular defensive position.) I'm not questioning your decision, so don't circle the wagons—I'm just looking for some more information.
2. To confer only with people within a trusted group. Callie's new group of friends really circles the wagons, so she hardly talks to me anymore. Circle the wagons, people. We can't have word of this getting out to the press.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons

mainly AMERICAN
If a group of people who are in difficulty or danger circle the wagons, they unite in order to protect themselves and fight whoever is attacking them. She accused Collier and other senior officials of trying to circle the wagons in their recent defense of the bureau's performance. Note: You can also say that people pull or get their wagons in a circle. This is designed to get the wagons in a circle and defend the smoking franchise. Note: These expressions are usually used to show disapproval. Note: According to some Wild West stories, when wagon trains were attacked by Native Americans, the settlers drove the wagons into a circle in order to defend themselves better.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons

(of a group) unite in defence of a common interest. North American informal
In South Africa the Afrikaans word laager , meaning ‘a defensive circle of ox wagons’, is used in similar metaphorical contexts.
See also: circle, wagon

circle the wagons

To take a defensive position; become defensive.
See also: circle, 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
References in periodicals archive ?
Beaten by a scant one household share point, KATV nevertheless circled the wagons: It canned Matt Mosler and Julie May-berry and retooled its "Daybreak" morning show, finally hired a promotions director, tweaked its newscast and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A hard core of company stalwarts has circled the wagons to launch the 2001-2002 season of Boston Ballet, which was designed by longtime music director and principal conductor Jonathan McPhee.
As the powerful Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) challenges MP3 players in the courts (CI No 3,526), five pioneers of the standard have circled the wagons to form the MP3 Association.
Out-numbered in the opinion polls and out-gunned by Labour, John Major's government have circled the wagons for the General Election show-down.
It circled the wagons into a closed system of self-referential language studed with fancy opaque buzzwords.
But he acknowledges many are "reluctant to accept culpability" in racist issues and cites Liverpool and Chelsea as clubs who have "circled the wagons" under the glare of scrutiny.