Long Pole In The Tent


What does Long Pole In The Tent mean?

The expression long pole in the tent is used to describe the longest, hardest, and most critical part of a task that needs to be done.

Additionally, it can refer to somebody or something that is delaying a task.


What's the origin of Long Pole In The Tent?

The phrase’s origin is not entirely certain, some believe that it comes from engineering, others say it’s a term that can be connected to aviation.

A very popular and maybe the most logical explanation, however, is that the expression comes from hiking and the activity of setting up a tent.

This suggests that it was originally used as a metaphor, as the longest pole in a tent is the one that has to bear the most weight, and will determine the height of the tent, making it the perfect analogy to a heavy task.

Spread & Usage

How did Long Pole In The Tent spread?

In conclusion, this expression is quite versatile, and can be applied in a variety of situations that involve challenges or heavy tasks.

The term is often featured in business-related books and literature, like in Ron Sturgeon’s 2005 book Green Weenies and Due Diligence: Insider Business Jargon.

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