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The meaning and origin of the expression: Rise and shine

Rise and shine

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Rise and shine'?

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Get out of bed and prepare for work.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Rise and shine'?

The earliest use of 'rise and shine' in print allude to a biblical reference, in Isaiah 60:1. King James Version, 1611, gives that as:

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Rise and shineThe earliest examples of the actual phrase 'rise and shine' don't come from the bible itself but are clearly directly influenced by it; for example, The Testimony of William Erbery, 1658, a book of religious observations directed "To the Christian Reader":

They [the Christian saints] shall so rise and shine, that the glory shall rise upon them.

The link to Isaiah 60:1 is even clearer in the use of the phrase 'arise, and shine', which is found in several Christian texts of the mid 17th century - for instance Robert Gell's An Essay toward the Amendment of the last English-Translation of the Bible, 1659 and Thomas Douglas's Jerubbaal: or, A Vindication of the Sober Testimony against Sinful Complyance, 1664.

The first non-religious uses, albeit those probably still referring back to the biblical text, are references to the sun, as in this example from Maryland paper The Torch Light And Public Advertiser, February 1824:

Courage, child of Washington,
Though thy fate disastrous stems,
We have seen the setting sun
Rise and shine with brighter beams.

The use of 'rise and shine' as a wake up call for soldiers is what has given us the expression in everyday use. In that context 'rise' just means 'rouse yourself' and 'shine' derives from the shining of boots that soldiers were expected to do each morning. It is difficult to know if it was coined independently of the biblical source or whether it was also a jokey reference which compared the bleary-eyed rough soldiery to the radiant Christian venerables - most likely the latter, I would have thought.

When used in the British Army 'rise and shine' was, and still is, preceded by 'wakey-wakey'.

The naval wake up call is 'shake (or show) a leg'. The term may not have originated in the British Army though - the first citation of its use that I can find is from America. That's in the 1916 U.S. Marine Corps Recruiters' Bulletin:

"He rapped at the door and in stentorian tones cried,'‘Rise and shine... Wiggle a toe.'"

See other phrases that were coined in the USA.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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