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Related to harness: harness racing
die in harness
To die while still actively working or still of the age or physical condition to do so (i.e., before retirement). With medicine and healthcare improving at such vast rates, far fewer people die in harness than ever before.
back in(to) (the) harness
Resuming one's daily work. I'm not thrilled to get back into the harness on Monday. When do you get back in harness after your trip?
be back in harness
To resume one's daily work. Primarily heard in UK. I'm not thrilled to be back in harness on Monday. When are you back in harness after your trip?
Doing one's usual job; at work. I know you're not thrilled to be in harness on this Monday, gentlemen, but please try to focus. When are you back in harness after your trip?
*back in(to) (the) harness
Fig. back doing one's job. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) I don't look forward to getting back into the harness next Monday. When my vacation is over, I have to get back into harness the very next day. I'm not looking forward to having to get back in harness after my trip abroad.
harness an animal up
to put a harness on an animal, such as a horse. You had better harness the horses up so we can go. Please harness up the mare for me.
harness someone (or an animal) to something
to attach someone, something, or an animal to something with a harness. The instructor harnessed me to the hang glider, and I really began to get nervous. Andrew harnessed the horses to the little wagon.
die with one's boots on
Also, die in harness. Expire while working, keep working to the end, as in He'll never retire-he'll die with his boots on, or She knows she'll never get promoted, but she wants to die in harness. Both phrases probably allude to soldiers who died on active duty. Until the early 1600s the noun boot denoted a piece of armor for the legs, which may have given rise to this usage; and Shakespeare used harness in the sense of armor when he wrote: "At least we'll die with harness on our back" ( Macbeth 5:5).
On duty or at work. For example, Despite his illness he's determined to continue in harness. It also is put as be back in harness, meaning "to return to duty or work," as in After a long vacation she's finally back in harness. This expression alludes to horses harnessed to perform work. [First half of 1800s] Also see die with one's boots on (in harness).
in harnessmainly BRITISH
1. If someone is in harness, they are actively doing their job. Note: A harness is a set of straps like the one that is fitted to a horse when it pulls a cart. Random jumped at the chance to be back in harness. Other workers may die in harness, in which case their beneficiaries receive the money.
2. If two or more people or things work in harness, they work together or produce something together. Note: A harness is a set of straps like the one that is fitted to a horse when it pulls a cart. Experts in statistics and computing may work in harness on a single project. What is fundamental to creativity is for the two hemispheres of the brain to be working in harness.
die in harnessdie before retirement.
This expression is drawing a comparison between a person at work and a horse in harness drawing a plough or cart.
1992 Harper's Magazine Don't overly concern yourself with the union pension fund. Musicians mostly die in harness.
in harness1 in the routine of daily work. 2 working closely with someone to achieve something.
The image is of a horse or other animal being used for driving or draught work.
die in ˈharnessdie while you are still working
in ˈharness(British English) doing your normal work, especially after a rest or a holiday/vacation: After so many weeks away, it felt good to be back in harness again.
A harness is a set of strips of leather and metal pieces that is used for controlling a horse.
in ˈharness (with somebody)(British English) working closely with somebody in order to achieve something: The manager told us to remember that we’re a team, and that we can achieve much greater results if we’re working in harness.
On duty or at work.
die in harness, to
To keep on working to the end. The analogy of a draft horse working until it drops dates from Shakespeare’s time (or earlier). “At least we’ll die with harness on our back,” says Macbeth before his fateful battle with Macduff (Macbeth, 5.5). Such a death, incidentally, is considered desirable and admirable. “It is a man dying with his harness on that angels love to escort upward,” said the American preacher Henry Ward Beecher (Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887). Precisely the same is meant by to die with one’s boots on, although more likely this expression comes from the battlefield (soldiers dying on active duty).
See also: die