put a bomb under (someone or something)

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put a bomb under (someone or something)

To motivate or give someone an incentive to do something faster, better, or with greater energy or enthusiasm. Primarily heard in UK. It's been over a week now and we still haven't gotten our delivery! I think it's time you called customer support and put a bomb under them. Here's hoping the new manager will put a bomb under his squad, because they've been looking like amateurs the past few games.
See also: bomb, put
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

put a bomb under something

If you say that you want to put a bomb under an organization, a person or a system, you mean that you want them to hurry up or completely change the way they operate. One half of us admired and valued the BBC's high standards, the other half longed to put a bomb under it and propel it into innovation. Note: You can also say that someone or something needs a bomb under them. We are ready for radical change. I have said before, we need a bomb under the system.
See also: bomb, put, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

put a bomb under

1 take drastic steps to rouse (an inactive or dilatory person) to action. 2 have a profound or radical effect on (something, especially something that has been accepted or unchanged for a long time). informal
2 2003 John Ray Dissecting Leftism In my academic posting of May 16th about psychopathy, I report findings that should put a bomb under a major field of psychological research.
See also: bomb, put
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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