nail (one's) colours to the mast

(redirected from nailing his 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 ?
DEAR Editor, We are pleased to see that Councillor Mike Sharp is nailing his colours to the mast in support of conservation areas.
Yet, after nailing his colours to the mast in the summer, the onetime Deportivo la Coruna ace hopes to crown this season with silverware by helping make Newcastle Coca-Cola Championship title winners.
By nailing his colours to the mast for this clash Giggs made it clear he feels Wales have a bright future.
By nailing his colours to the mast for this clash Giggs made it clear that despite their heartbreaking Euro 2004 play-off defeat to Russia last November, he feels Wales have a bright future.
By finally nailing his colours to the mast he's even lost the support of his most trusted aide - Alistair Campbell who'll be supporting Scotland.