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spike (one's) guns

To ruin one's plans or prevent one's success. The phrase refers to the former military practice of inserting spikes into enemy guns to prevent them from firing. I'm afraid the rain has spiked our guns. We cannot hold the rally as planned.
See also: gun, spike

spike someone's guns

If you spike someone's guns, you do something to prevent someone's plans from succeeding. Parkers spiked their rival's guns by launching their product two months before Jones were able to do so. Note: In the past, when soldiers captured a large enemy gun which they could not move, they hammered a nail or spike into the hole where the gunpowder was put. This meant that the gunpowder could not be lit and so the gun would not work.
See also: gun, spike

spike someone's guns

take steps to thwart someone's intended course of action.
First recorded in English in the late 17th century, the expression referred literally to the practice of hammering a metal spike into a captured enemy cannon so that it could not be fired.
See also: gun, spike

spike somebody’s ˈdrink

add (more) alcohol or drugs to somebody’s drink, without their knowledge: ...I discovered later that they’d spiked my drink. That’s why I was so ill!
See also: drink, spike

spike somebody’s ˈguns

(British English) spoil somebody’s plans because you do not want them to succeed: She was jealous of David’s progress in the company, so she spiked his guns by telling the boss that David had a drinking problem.This refers to pushing a metal spike (= a thin object with a sharp point) into the enemy’s gun or cannon so that it cannot be fired.
See also: gun, spike


1. n. a hypodermic needle; a hypodermic syringe and needle; a medicine dropper and a needle. (Drugs.) The addict caught some strange disease from a dirty spike.
2. tv. to add ether or alcohol to beer, originally by injecting it through the cork with a hypodermic needle; to add alcohol to a nonalcoholic drink. (see also spiked.) He spiked the beer with ether, which is a dangerous thing to do.
3. tv. to puncture an idea. I explained the plan, but the boss spiked it immediately.


1. mod. having to do with a drink with alcohol added; having to do with a punch with an alcoholic content. Is the punch spiked? I want some without.
2. mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. I knew that Mrs. Wilmington-Thorpe was spiked when she belched like a real country thunder-boomer.
3. mod. having to do with hair that stands up straight. His spiked hair wouldn’t look so bad if it wasn’t orange.
See also: spike
References in periodicals archive ?
The SSM measure of spike synchronization was estimated for each patient from successive EEG segments of 30.
The Spike app will showcase the best of Bellator MMA and selected episodes of "COPS," now a Spike original series.
Results of variance analysis of twelve bread wheat genotypes (Table 1) indicated there is significant difference between genotypes in terms of plant height, main spike length, main spike weight, number of grain per main spike, number of grain per secondary spikes, grain weight per main spike, one-thousand grain weight for main spike, one-thousand grain weight for secondary spikes, biological yield and straw yield at probability level of 5 and 1 percent.
Intensity of density of probability of spike generation [lambda](u(t)) at the time moment t depends non-linearly (we use the sigmoidal dependence) on proximity of membrane voltage u(t) value with some threshold value.
Gulfstream and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base are testing the Quiet Spike on NASA's F-15B test aircraft, a converted Air Force fighter jet.
To make matters worse, these little spikes wreak havoc in terms of logic confusion, system errors and frozen screens.
Spike Lee once again takes center stage in the final chapter, "Taking the A-Train: The City, the Train, and Migration in Spike Lee's Clockers," where Massood credits the film maker for acknowledging in his films the historical influence of movement and migration on African American cultural production.
As an ancillary benefit, the spike systems also will enable the USGS to re-measure the isotopic composition of atmospheric argon and calculate a new atomic weight for argon.
Thus, since the abortionists' instruments failed to deny these survivors life, the media has used its own deadly instrument, the spike, to deny their existence.
In the picture book Please, Baby, Please, filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya, recollect some of the "terrible twos" antics that they witnessed while raising their own children--Jackson and Satchel.
If Spike wins, he said, "you'll find Javelin will not get any sales in Europe.
It executes two plays, a spike, and then kicks the field goal to tie the score and go into overtime.
CHEEKY cult character Spike has "met" his all-time hero Gareth Edwards - thanks to some hi-tech BBC camera trickery.
COMEDIAN Spike Milligan has been rushed to hospital after suffering severe kidney failure.