October 30, 2008
Hoist by His Own Petard

Ever wondered just what the hell a petard was anyway? Here’s a hint: “ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French pétard, from péter ‘break wind.’”




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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 30, 2008 11:18 AM
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Th phrase comes down to us from the medieval fortress/castle siege-forces explosive weapon, the petard, which was deployed by one person while sheltered from tower/wall defensive action, in a small portable shed moved up to a castle door--upon which the soldier would nail the petard [to the door]---then, if all went smoothly, he would be removed via the shed [or running by foot!].
If the explosive fuse-time was too brief, the attacking person was "hoist on his own petard."

Posted by: Hoffmann on October 30, 2008 12:25 PM

I think the modern American definition in the back room dictionary is to "shit or get off the pot".

Posted by: Buck on October 30, 2008 5:01 PM
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