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put lead in one's pencil

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Enhance or restore sexual vigor, as in Try one of these hot peppers; that'll put lead in your pencil. This phrase, a euphemism for causing an erection, is considered far more vulgar than the contemporary synonym put hair on one's chest, alluding to a secondary male sex characteristic. [Colloquial; c. 1900]

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

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