In the following questions, four alternatives are given for the idiom / phrase underlined in the sentence. Choose the alternative which best expresses the meaning of the idiom / phrase and mark it in the Answer Sheet.

What is the correct answer?


The sailors nailed their colours to their mast.

A. put up a colourful mast

B. refused to climb down

C. took over the ship

D. decided to abandon the ship

Correct Answer :

B. refused to climb down

THe idiom nailed their colours to their mast means to defiantly display ones opinions and beliefs. Also, to show ones intention to hold on to those beliefs until the end. Its origin dates back to 17th century. In 17th century nautical battles colours (flags) were struck (lowered) as a mark of submission. It was also the custom in naval warfare to direct ones cannon fire at the opponents ships mast, thus disabling it. If all of a ships masts were broken the captain usually had no alternative but to surrender. If the captain decided to fight on this was marked by hoisting the colours on the remnants of the ships rigging, that is, by nailing his colours to the mast.