Stake in the Ground - Meaning, Usage and Origin

One idiom that is commonly used in the English language is “stake in the ground”. Read on to find out what this term means, examples of how the phrase can be used appropriately in a sentence, and other pertinent information about this popular idiom.

What does the idiom “stake in the ground” mean?

While there is no set definition of the “stake in the ground” idiom, it is generally accepted as a reference that highlights determination. With that said, a famous example of the use of this term comes from George W. Bush when he was the governor or Texas. He said, “I believe it is important to put a stake in the ground and to say “enough is enough” when it comes to trying to dig up people’s backgrounds in politics.

Eight years prior to Bush making the above statement, another politician, Paul Tsongas, a democratic candidate, used the same idiom when he made a speech in Des Moines, Iowa. Tsongas said, “The Iowa caucuses are an integral part of any sense of American politics, and I intend to put my stake in the ground here.”

As you can see from both examples, the idiom “stake in the ground” is used as a metaphor that describes determination.

Examples of “stake in the ground” used in a sentence

As mentioned, the idiom “stake in the ground” is used to describe one’s determination; therefore, the term can be used in situations where you or someone else is attempting to illustrate how determined they are about something. The following are examples of how the term can be appropriately used in a sentence.

  • I’m putting the stake in the ground when it comes to the government’s overreaching mandates.
  • I put a stake in the ground and said, “Enough is enough!”
  • When it comes to my right to choose for myself, I put a stake in the ground.
  • I was so proud to see him put a stake in the ground and stand up for justice.
  • The president has pushed the people too far and they have final put a stake in the ground.
  • The employees put a stake in the ground over the boss’ new unjust rules.

Origins of the idiom “stake in the ground”

When one literally puts a stake in the ground, it could mean that they are putting a stake, as in a sharpened piece of wood, in the ground to set up a tent or to tether an animal to. In the literal sense, the word “stake” is something strong and solid that something else can be affixed to. When used in an idiom, the term “stake” refers to an individual’s determination, strong moral beliefs and convictions, or unwillingness to bend to do something that they know or believe to be wrong.

Phrases or idioms that are similar to “stake in the ground”

Examples of other phrases or idioms that are similar in meaning to the “stake in the ground” idiom include:

  • Draw the line in the sand
  • Line drawn in the sand
  • Stick to your guns
  • Stand your ground
  • Hold the line
  • Hold the fort

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