fire on all cylinders

Idioms & Phrases

fire on all cylinders

Also, hit or click on all cylinders. Function very well, as in Once we figured out how to use the new software, the department was firing on all cylinders, or "So the best infielder takes time to fit into the infield of a Big League club and have it hit on all four cylinders again" (Christy Mathewson, Pitching in a Pinch, 1912). This term transfers the functioning of an internal combustion engine, which works best when all its cylinders ignite, to broader use. [Early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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