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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. Primarily heard in UK. I'm afraid the rain has spiked our guns. We cannot hold the rally as planned.
spike someone's gunsBRITISH
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.
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