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Lower the boom

Posted by ESC on September 22, 2003

In Reply to: Lower the boom posted by masakim on September 22, 2003

: : : : What is the meaning of and where did the phrase to "lower the boom" originate?

: : : Shiver me timbers! Get yer bearings right first, scuttlebutt!

: : Guessing here. That it has to do with this type of "boom." From Merriam-Webster online:

: : Main Entry: 3boom
: : Function: noun
: : Etymology: Dutch, tree, beam; akin to Old High German boum tree -- more at BEAM
: : Date: 1627
: : 1 : a long spar used to extend the foot of a sail

: lower the boom
: 1. To deliver a knockout punch. Prize fight use. ->
: 2. To chatise or punish; to attack with criticism; to treat sternly; to demand obedience. ...
: 3. To prevent another from succeeding; to act in such a manner as to harm another's chances od success.
: From _Dictionary of American Slang_ by H. Wentworth & S.B. Flexner.
: ----------
: lower the the boom on ... This expression refers to the boom of a sailboat -- a long spar that extends from the mast to hold the foot of the sail. In a changing wind, the boom can swing wildly, leaving one at risk of being struck. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
: From The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
: ----------
: As a sailor, the story ran, he had knocked men overboard with a single punch, when he "lowered the boom" on them. (Dempsey & Stearns, _Round by Round_, 1940)

LOWER THE BOOM - "to reprimand harshly, to stop someone from doing something. A boom is a long spar or pole used to extend the bottom of certain sails; or, it can be a spar that extends upward at an angle from the foot of a mast from which there are suspended objects to be lifted. Derrick, the famous hangman during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, devised the prototype for the ship's boom - a hoist that still bears the inventor's name. Ashore, lowering the boom on someone means to call that person harshly to account. This can be done severely enough to leave one's ears ringing." From "When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech" by Olivia A. Isil (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, McGraw-Hill, 1996)