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It's up stumps and retire to the pavilion

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 08, 2007

In Reply to: It's up stumps and retire to the pavilion posted by Smokey Stover on April 08, 2007

: : : What does this sentence exactly convey? You can find it by googling it, one of the main references being the movie "Brazil"

: : It's a cricketing metaphor. At the end of the day's play, or the end of the match, the umpires "draw stumps" (pull the three wooden stumps that the batsman has to defend out of the ground) and everyone goes back to the pavilion (the cricketing equivalent of the clubhouse), to change out of their cricket things and have tea and buns. So, to English English-speakers this conveys "OK, that's it for today".

: I looked for this while Victoria was already answering it. According to the OED, the word stump has been used as a synonym for stake at least since the 16th century. The phrase "pull up stumps" has been used since the 17th century to mean "break camp and depart" (or, later, "leave home and move on"), and is still in use, sometimes as "up stumps," of which the quoted phrase is an example. The pavilion shows that this is the cricketers' adaptation of the phrase.

Cricket aside, Americans are probably more familiar with the synonymous phrase, "pull up stakes," that is, break camp, leave home, especially leave town.

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