phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

Circling the wagons

Posted by Bookworm on April 30, 2004

In Reply to: Circling the wagons posted by Ward on April 30, 2004

: : What is meant by the phrase "circling the wagons"? A senior member of the firm where I work and I have a very friendly, professional working relationship, I thought, until someone made the statement that we were just circling the wagons.

: : What does that mean!?

: ::In the settlement of the western part of the US, wagons of settlers and freight would form wagon trains to provide for mutual defense and navigation. When threatened by bandits or hostile indians, part of the defense strategy was to 'circle the wagons' so that there would be a protected perimiter that the travelers could get behind and use to fire their rifles at the attackers.
: In our now 'civilized' society, it is called circling the wagons to bring your people or team together, and agree on the story or the approach to fend off an impending or possible attack from the outside.
: See how much we've progressed in 150 years!

I always thought it had a hostile connotation and was from the practice of Indians or bandits menacingly circling pioneers' wagons they attacked them. So today, it would mean denote any posturing before a fight or before some definite course of action was taken.