Pulling Out All the Stops!

This morning’s church was a tad more special because the organ was played. I have a real love for big church organs and the sounds they create. It had been some time since I had heard the organ played during a service so, in a happy daze, I leaned toward my friend and said, “Isn’t that beautiful?”, to which she said, “They are really pulling out all the stops.” Knowing she is a trained singer, I thought she was being “artsy” but I still gave her an odd look to which she said, “That’s where the saying comes from.” Huh? Could this be true? Let’s see where my investigations lead.

(picture by Gérard Janot – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2175346)

Phrase Definition: To pull out all the stops means to do everything possible to achieve something; to make a lot of effort to do something well.

Phrase Etymology (origin of word/phrase): It’s an allusion to organ stops, which are pulled out to turn on each set of sounds in a pipe organ. When all stops are pulled out, the organ will play all variations of its sounds at once, therefore being as loud (and grand) as possible.

How wonderful! It seems that all the times I have used this phrase or heard others use it or heard it in films and television or read it in books, it was with etymological reference to my beloved pipe organ.

On this new Monday morning, let’s pull out all the stops to make this week a great week.

In case you need some organ inspiration,


4 thoughts on “Pulling Out All the Stops!

  1. Great post :o) Thank you for the link to those organ performances! I love Bach’s fugue in G minor but I don’t think I’ve heard it played on the organ which is crazy. Gorgeous.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post my “artsy” friend! 🙂 The organ does bring such a dramatic and unique sound.

  2. I love the insight to that phrase! My grandmother had a pump organ in her house- To her dismay, I used to pull out all the stops and ‘play’ 🙉

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