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Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Posted by Robert Strong on April 28, 2000

Contrary to you entry in your phrase definition and origin section I believe that the phrase 'Pull yourself up by your bootstraps' pre-dates the era of the computer and was used by the computer folk to indicate what clever chaps they were to be able to persuade an empty computer to self load complex and relatively large programs following the operator keying in just a few instructions - the bootstrap.

Now I know all about bootstraps in the computer sense as I'm old enough to have used just about every model produced between the early fifties, sixties and seventies and continue to struggle with some of the models produced up to the present day. However, I can find no definitive reference to this phrase which pre-dates the computer age. Please don't tell me that a bunch of computer nerds really did invent it; I just couldn't bear that.