"buckle up" = be prepared?


Senior Member

Can "buckle up" used in a figurative way to mean "be prepared"? I thought that was what the expression meant. Unfortunately I have checked a few dictionaries and haven't found this meaning listed in any of them. I just want to make sure I use the expression correctly.

Thank you.

  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello, Nawee. :)

    It might be used figuratively in that way. Please give us an example of where you heard it with this meaning, or of a sentence in which you would like to use it.


    Senior Member
    US English
    "Buckle up" was a slogan in the US to promote safety by reminding people to fasten their seatbelts when in a car, so "Be prepared/Take precautionary measures." But it might also mean "Gird your loins./Get ready to make a real effort, you've got a tough task ahead of you." Dual meaning with "to buckle down to a task", to redouble your efforts, get serious, bear down.)


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Anything can be used figuratively (used as a "figure of speech"). Anyone can invent their own figures of speech. Even if "buckle up" only means "use seat belts when driving", and people only know that meaning, you can use it figuratively and be understood.

    One example I have heard is "buckle up folks: it's going to be a wild ride". In movies, that is literal: they are about to drive the car at 130 kph. But it can be used figuratively when a business team is about to start an aggressive new project.

    Can "buckle up" be used to mean "be prepared"? It depends on which meaning of "be prepared" you intend:

    #1 be ready to act
    #2 have all your ingredients and materials with you
    #3 be prepared for unexpected events.

    Seat belts are used only for #3, so the "buckle up" figure of speech means #3.
    < Previous | Next >