Friday, December 14, 2012

To "get off the stick"

I found myself searching for the origin of a phrase today. All my life I've heard people say, "Get off the stick". It means get going, or stop making excuses and do it. The meaning has always been clear.

But when I searched for the phrase, I found nothing. For one thing, people seemed to think the phrase was "get on the stick". I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that. Some folks suggested it had to do with gears and planes, but no one really knew where it originated.

Which of these phrases do you hear in your area? And is your understanding the same as mine? (Oddly, the reverse saying -- "get on the stick" -- means the same thing: get going.) Anyone know where this comes from? I'm always interested in phrase origins.

I checked my two dictionaries of phrase origins, too. Nope. And after writing this post, I wonder if people who say "get off the stick" are committing a common error. They're aiming at "get on the stick" but they're echoing "get off the pot". Hmmm. Words. I love 'em.