take the field


Enter a competition, as in The country's best spellers took the field in the national spelling bee. This term originated around 1600 when it meant “to open a military campaign.” The field here is the field of battle. The term has been used figuratively almost as long, the first recorded use being in 1614.

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