Keep Your Powder Dry


What does Keep Your Powder Dry mean?

Keep your powder dry is a popular maxim, said to have been said by Oliver Cromwell as “trust in God and keep your powder dry”.

The phrase expresses that one should remain faithful in all situations, but should also be prepared for things to take a turn for the worse.


What's the origin of Keep Your Powder Dry?

“Keep your powder dry” is attributed to Oliver Cromwell who is said to have said it during his army’s invasion of Ireland.

One of the first documented cases of the expression was published in 1834 in The Dublin University Magazine by William Blacker, with the title “Oliver’s Advice”.

Spread & Usage

How did Keep Your Powder Dry spread?

The expression grew popular in the 19th century, with several uses of the phrase emerging in the 1900’s in various contexts.

These include the 1943 book of Margaret Mead; “And Keep Your Powder Dry; An Anthropologist Looks at America” as well as the 1945 movie “Keep Your Powder Dry”.

External resources

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