batten down the hatches

Idioms & Phrases

batten down the hatches

Prepare for trouble, as in Here comes the bossbatten down the hatches. This term originated in the navy, where it signified preparing for a storm by fastening down canvas over doorways and hatches (openings) with strips of wood called battens. [Late 1800s]

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