In Reply to: Bull at a gate posted by Smokey Stover on October 19, 2008 at 20:19:
: : I would like the origin of 'Bull at a gate'.
: Used how? I have often seen a bull at a gate, but I don't remember any particular associations. I do know that one would use caution on opening a gate behind which was a bull, but what else? Context would be welcome.
I had hoped this would be a (US) rodeo reference, but it appears to be Australian:
"Charge like a bull at a gate - Australian slang, said of a person acting with unchecked violence or impetuosity: scientists have been trained in what can and what cannot be, it's useless for them to charge like a bull at a gate, they are not breaking bricks." A Collection of Confusible Phrases: False 'friends' and 'enemies' in Idioms and Collocations By Yuri Dolgopolov (punctuation is Dolgopolov's)
In some contexts, the association of "Bull" and "Gate" is supposed to celebrate the victory of Henry VIII at Boulogne in the 16th century. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, for example, gives this as the reason "Bull and Gate" sometimes appears in the names of pubs.