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full speed ahead

Also, full steam ahead. As fast and as strongly as possible. For example, There's only one way we'll get there on time, so go full speed ahead, or Production would go full steam ahead as soon as the orders were confirmed. It is also put as with a full head of steam, as in She was traveling with a full head of steam—she was due there at noon. These expressions all allude to the steam engine, where full steam signifies that a boiler has developed maximum pressure. They became well known through an order allegedly given by Admiral David Farragut at the battle of Mobile Bay (1864): “Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for full speed ahead
Historical Examples
  • A sailor went below to see if the ship was leaking much, and the captain rang for full speed ahead.

  • full speed ahead, commanded the coxswain of the little steamer.

    The Battleship Boys at Sea Frank Gee Patchin
  • But he rang for full speed ahead and ordered the quartermaster to aim her into the north, knowing that land lay in that direction.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • And he signalled to the engine-room, first to “Stop”, and then to go “full speed ahead.”

    The Cruise of the Thetis Harry Collingwood
  • In another instant the whole party was in the auto and Jerry yanked the levers to full speed ahead.

    The Motor Boys Overland Clarence Young
  • He might have been signalling "full speed ahead" from the bridge of an Atlantic liner.

  • Signal 'full speed ahead' and call down to the firemen for all the steam we can carry.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • Acknowledge the signal, Mr. Briggs, and give the order for full speed ahead.

  • An instant after the engine bells tinkled: ‘full speed ahead.’

    The Man Bram Stoker
  • I signalled for full speed ahead and brought her head upstream, and held on like grim death to keep her there.

    The World Set Free Herbert George Wells

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