Origins

Gird Your What?

Q.
‘Gird your loins.’ Do you hear Stanley Tucci voicing that phrase? I certainly do.

Boss Miranda Priestly, aka the incredible Meryl Streep, is foot out of the car, eyes on the elevator, and soon to thunder into the offices of Runway Magazine. “Why is no one REAdy?”

Tucci as Miranda’s resilient right hand, Nigel Kipling, has got it right. Best perfect the environment and steel the spine…

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But where did this ‘gird your loins’ phrase originate?

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A.
‘Gird your loins,’ or ‘gird up your loins’ means to rally your resources, to steel yourself for serious action or a spiky challenge. It’s a phrase that is rooted in the Bible, according to the Oxford Book of Idioms.

The wearing of long, baggy robes was not conducive to fast, furious movement. In order to be nimble, ready for whatever sudden physical demands that might come their way, these ancients had to hoist and tie up their robes, ideally tucking them into leather girdles or belts.

Oxford quotes 1 Kings 18:45-6: ‘And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And..Elijah.. girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.’

The Book of Idioms also notes the metaphorical use of the expression in 1 Peter 1:13 in the New Testament: ‘Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you.’

Some suggest that the girding of loins is also about steeling yourself against evil or temptation.

So: fight, flight, evil, or Priestly, it’s time to gird your loins.

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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton