"Up and at 'em!"

Posted by R. Berg on November 03, 2001

In Reply to: "Up and at 'em!"??? posted by adam frisoli on November 03, 2001

: : Does anyone know the origin of the phrase
: : "up and at 'em"? Or more accurately "up and at them". This phrase is used when telling someone to get out of bed. Haven't we all used or heard this one before? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Any help would be hugely appreciated. Thanks.

: Hey it's me again. Was wondering if anyone who planned on replying to this post would send whatever they have to say to my email address. I'll probably forget to check back here. Or, does this message board send an email automatically when someone replies to your post? Hmmm. . . Whatever the case, this is going to drive me insane if I don't figure it out. Please Help! :) thanks

Your phrase suggests combat. It may be derived from "Up, Guards, and at 'em!," about which Eric Partridge says the following in Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day:

A catchphrase of light-hearted or, at the least, nonchalant defiance . . . : late C19-20. Based upon a famous quot'n that is almost certainly apocryphal: in 1852, when asked what he had, in the fact, said at the Battle of Waterloo (22 June 1815), the Duke of Wellington replied to the anecdotist J. W. Croker: 'What I must have said and possibly did say was, Stand up, Guards! and then gave the commanding officers the order to attack.'

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