pull out all the stops


Use all the resources or force at one's disposal, as in The police pulled out all the stops to find the thief. This term comes from organ-playing, where it means “bring into play every rank of pipes,” thereby creating the fullest possible sound. It has been used figuratively since about 1860.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.