pin one's banner to one's mast

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ssh5346

Member
Korean
The following is from the foreword of a book titled "Entreprenership: part of the Swiss Identity." I'm not sure if it has been published since I got it from my client. Can anyone let me know what "never pinned its banner to their mast" means? Thank you in advance.


These colors were never very bright in Switzerland: we were a poor country, without natural resources and without access to the sea - so poor, in fact, that our people had to work as mercenaries in the service of rich princes elsewhere. But Switzerland never cowed before its rich neighbors, never allowed itself to be subjugated and never pinned its banner to their mast; our love of freedom was simply too strong.
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    My first thought is that it's a misuse of nail your colours to the mast: To defiantly display one's opinions and beliefs. Also, to show one's intention to hold on to those beliefs until the end. (The Phrase Finder -- more information on that link).

    But perhaps your reading or other members' comments can shed more light.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I think it may mean that it never put itself in a subservient position to other countries: never pinned its banner to their mast (i.e., beneath another country's colors).
     
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