Get Down to Brass Tacks

Meaning

What does Get Down to Brass Tacks mean?

Get down to brass tacks is a widely popular colloquialism, used synonymously to the expression “Let’s get down to business”.

It may also be supplemented by the expression “Rubber Meets the Road” which is also a colloquialism urging to get the subject on practicalities.

Origin

What's the origin of Get Down to Brass Tacks?

Although the exact origin of the expression “Get down to brass tacks” is not known, it started appearing in the United States during the 1860’s, although there are several theories concerning its conception.

Some claim it referred to the brass tacks used for marking a deceased person’s name on a coffin.

Other theories suggest the expression comes from the fact that people in the American frontier adorned their weapons’ stocks with brass tacks.

Yet another hypothesis claims that it comes from the workshops of tailors who used the brass tacks to peg fabric.

None of the theories have been confirmed so far.

Spread & Usage

How did Get Down to Brass Tacks spread?

“Get down to brass tacks” started appearing in a variety of documented sources in the early 20th century, especially in the 1920’s, emerging in plays, magazines as well as records of the United States Supreme Court.

The phrase’s popularity kept rapidly growing until the middle of the 20th century, after which it started slowly going out of fashion.

Today it is considered slightly archaic, frequently included in movies about the Wild West.

“Get down to brass tacks” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on November 14th, 2013, with several other entries to follow.

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