Get Down to Brass Tacks
To "get down to brass tacks" means to get to the important or key facts of a situation.

The origin of this phrase is unknown, but the oldest known usages are from the mid 1800s and seems to originate in Texas. A Texas newspaper, The Tri-Weekly Telegraph, in January 1863 contained the sentence: "When you come down to 'brass tacks' - if we may be allowed the expression - everybody is governed by selfishness." A popular theory about how this phrase came into usage centers around the brass tacks that were used in furniture upholstery. These tacks were regularly used at the bases of upholstered furniture, especially chairs, to anchor the fabric in place. As the furniture maker was either crafting or repairing the furniture, when he got down to the brass tacks it seemed symbolic that this was the basic or central element of the furniture.

Another popular theory is that the brass tacks in this expression refer to the brass tacks country merchants hammered into their countertops at regular, measured intervals, for ease in measuring customers' cloth purchases.

This phrase is sometimes seen as "get down to brass tax" but this seems to a mistake on the word 'tax', as there seems to be no correlation that we can find between a tax on brass and the phrase as we know it.

Use Example - All right, now that we are all here, let's get down to brass tacks and see what we can do about meeting this new deadline.

Source Tags : Newspapers     Concept Tags : Conciseness