nail (one's) colours to the mast

(redirected from nail our colours to the mast)

nail (one's) colours to the mast

To refuse to cease or surrender. Because lowering a ship's flag was a customary indication of surrender, this nautical phrase emphasizes the resolve of a ship's crew. We will nail our colours to the mast and fight on—they will never capture us! We're going to have a tough time beating this team now that they are playing with such determination. I fear they've nailed their colours to the mast.
See also: colour, mast, nail

nail your colours to the mast

BRITISH, JOURNALISM
1. If you nail your colours to the mast, you state your opinions or beliefs about something clearly and publicly. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Let me nail my colours to the mast straightaway. I both like and admire him immensely.
2. If you nail your colours to the mast, you say clearly and publicly that you support a particular person, idea, or theory. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. In the Thatcher years, the young MP nailed his colours to Mrs T's mast more firmly than most. This was the moment he nailed his colours to the mast of Social Security reform. Note: Battleships used to lower their colours to show that they were surrendering. Sometimes the colours were nailed to the mast as a sign of determination to fight to the end.
See also: colour, mast, nail

nail (or pin) your colours to the mast

declare openly and firmly what you believe or favour.
See also: colour, mast, nail

nail your colours to the ˈmast

(especially British English) show clearly which side you support: It’s time to nail our colours to the mast and condemn this dreadful policy. OPPOSITE: sit on the fenceIn this expression, colours are flags. In a battle at sea, a ship would nail its colours to the mast to show its intention to continue fighting and not surrender.
See also: colour, mast, nail
References in periodicals archive ?
TODAY we nail our colours to the mast and come out in support of a Remain vote in June 23's historic referendum.
If I (a retired native of Coventry), others and Professor Keith Cowling (an adopted Coventrian and lecturer at the University of Warwick) can nail our colours to the mast concerning our hopes for Coventry, I just can not understand why the city ambassadors who we are led to believe are the top brains and business people of Coventry can not do the same.
WE have been happy to nail our colours to the mast of the Llanishen Reservoir campaign because we believe its loss would be a huge blow to Cardiff.
Elsewhere, we're going to nail our colours to the mast and go for a promotion four-timer.