at the ready

Idioms & Phrases

at the ready

Available for immediate use, as in Umbrellas at the ready, we were prepared to brave the storm. This idiom was originally a military term in which the ready denoted the position of a firearm prepared to be raised and aimed or fired. [First half of 1800s]

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