phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Pull someone into line

Posted by TheFallen on December 09, 2004

In Reply to: Pull someone into line posted by Henry on December 07, 2004

: : I just emailed someone and finished off by saying that I've got lots of work to do, so I'd better pull myself into line and get on with it. (which obviously I haven't just yet).

: : Does anyone know where and when the term 'pull someone into line' came about? Could it have a military basis?

: It's often 'keep in line'. I imagine that it comes from the discipline required in drill practice where troops must be aware of rank and file.

Agreed re the military origin. There's a slight but defined difference between "pull someone into line" and keep someone in line", though. The former is action required to start someone behaving in the correct way, whereas the latter is action necessary to keep them behaving in that fashion.

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