pour on the coal


Speed up, as in They keep passing us so pour on the coal, Mom! or We can get this issue of the paper out on time if we pour on the coal. This slangy expression originated in aviation in the 1930s but must have been an allusion to the coal-burning engines of trains and ships, since aircraft were never so powered. It has since been transferred to other vehicles and other endeavors.

QUIZZES

CAN YOU ACE THIS QUIZ ABOUT “COMPLIMENT” VS. “COMPLEMENT”?

Take this quiz to see if you really know the difference between “compliment” and “complement"!
Question 1 of 11
“Compliment” and “complement” had a shared meaning a long time ago, but today they are no longer interchangeable.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.