press into service

Idioms & Phrases

press into service

Force someone or something to perform or function, as in Can I press you into service to help people find their coats? or The funeral drew such a large crowd that more chairs were pressed into service. This idiom transfers press in the sense of "seize and force someone to serve," as seamen once were, to other activities. It was first recorded in 1871.

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