full speed ahead

Idioms & Phrases

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 steamshe 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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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