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take time by the forelock

To act decisively; to accept an opportunity without hesitation. If time is pictured with just a forelock of hair, then it can only be grabbed as it comes toward you, not as it leaves. What are you waiting for? Take time by the forelock and accept that fantastic internship! My anxiety usually keeps me from taking time by the forelock.
See also: forelock, take, time


Showing excessive deference toward someone in a superior position. I hate being in meetings with the CEO because then I have to witness all of the managers' forelock-tugging.

tug your forelock

If someone tugs their forelock, they show a lot of respect to someone in a high social position. I don't know how you can stand bowing and scraping and tugging your forelock to all those rich old crones. Note: You can also say that someone touches their forelock. A lot of people seem to think we're supposed to go round touching our forelock and scraping our heads against the floor. We're not. Note: You can refer to this kind of behaviour as forelock-tugging or forelock-touching. The idea of forelock-tugging is totally alien to us, as is the idea that some people are born to rule. Note: These expressions are used to show that the speaker thinks that too much respect is being shown. Note: A forelock is a lock of hair that falls over a person's forehead. In the past, it was customary for lower class people to remove their hats in front of upper class people. If they were not wearing a hat, they touched their forelock instead.
See also: forelock, tug

take time by the forelock

seize an opportunity. literary
The Latin writer Phaedrus described Opportunity or Occasion as being bald except for a long forelock, a personification that was illustrated in Renaissance emblem books and was applied also to Time.
See also: forelock, take, time

touch (or tug) your forelock

raise a hand to your forehead in deference when meeting a person of higher social rank.
See also: forelock, touch

touch/tug your ˈforelock

(disapproving) show too much respect for a person of a higher rank or status: This is a democratic country and we don’t want people tugging their forelocks.In the past, people either took off their hats or pulled on their forelocks (= the hair above the forehead) to show respect.
See also: forelock, touch, tug
References in classic literature ?
Let me water you first,' he went on, speaking to the horse just as to someone who understood the words he was using, and having whisked the dusty, grooved back of the well-fed young stallion with the skirt of his coat, he put a bridle on his handsome head, straightened his ears and forelock, and having taken off his halter led him out to water.
absently pulled at his forelock some hours after a Saracen scimitar
If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal And duty--zeal and duty are not slow, But on Occasion's forelock watchful wait: They themselves rather are occasion best-- Zeal of thy Father's house, duty to free Thy country from her heathen servitude.
Arnold Brinkworth, may you always be as ready to take Time by the forelock as you are now
Please, sir," he said, touching his forelock, "I have the cab downstairs.
I am not surprised that the suggestion that our children should be compelled to stand and sing it has come from "one of our would-be masters" who would have us back to the good old forelock tugging, bowing and scraping, "walk in the gutter, know your place" days.
The Jordanian actress unashamedly chopped off her locks in a French style of one side buzzed off and the other side with an elongated forelock.
I am also told, that because we are in the EU, the forelock must be tugged to offer the construction of it, to other European countries.
Those physically capable of doing so immediately bent the knee before him, touching forelocks (those who had enough forelock to touch).
To tug the forelock, accept what we are given and, above all, not to rock the boat.
Mr Hughes said: "When they start, some of the students don't know what a forelock is so it is an anatomical teaching aid.
I advise all students to catch the time by its forelock and keep flying with the same momentum.
30pm) which will see News At Ten's Julie Etchingham tug her forelock as she joins Princes William and Harry on their joint charity tourofsouthernAfrica.
He's very unpopular and seen as some sort of throwback to the days of forelock tugging and colonialism.
There is not a moving creature, but He hath grasp of its forelock.