Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. Ksenia
    Guest
    #1

    Fire on all cylinders.

    Hello!
    May I ask you about the meaning of the idiom 'fire on all cylinders' in the following sentence:

    I think I need that sort of adrenalin to get me firing on all cylinders'.

    I understand it as 'to do your best', 'to provide the maximum amount of power'.
    Am I right?

    Thank you!

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 3,505
    #2

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksyu-k View Post
    Hello!
    May I ask you about the meaning of the idiom 'fire on all cylinders' in the following sentence:

    I think I need that sort of adrenalin to get me firing on all cylinders'.

    I understand it as 'to do your best', 'to provide the maximum amount of power'.
    Am I right?

    Thank you!
    Yes.

  2. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #3

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    To understand the idiom, you need to know about the Internal combustion engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Because many petrol engines are 4-stroke engines, another form of this idiom is 'firing on all four [cylinders]').

    b

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 12,310
    #4

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    The number of cylinders has nothing to do with it being a 4-stroke engine. Firing on all 8 cylinders would have been the original American version.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The number of cylinders has nothing to do with it being a 4-stroke engine. Firing on all 8 cylinders would have been the original American version.
    It has a lot to do with in when the expression is , "firing on all four".

  4. JohnParis's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • France

    • Join Date: Oct 2011
    • Posts: 773
    #6

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    Regardless of the size of the motor, the expression "to get me firing on all cylinders" means to enable the machine to operate to its fullest capacity.
    Ksyu-k's original definition (to provide the maximum amount of power) is slightly off. To enable the machine to provide the maximum amount of power would be slightly better.
    Am I nitpicking?
    John

  5. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #7

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    Regardless of the size of the motor, the expression "to get me firing on all cylinders" means to enable the machine to operate to its fullest capacity.
    Ksyu-k's original definition (to provide the maximum amount of power) is slightly off. To enable the machine to provide the maximum amount of power would be slightly better.
    Am I nitpicking?
    John
    Is there a typo here? You seem to be contrasting two identical expressions 'to provide the maximum amount of power'....

    Anyway, for the sake of argument let's consider a 4-stroke engine with four cylinders. Instead of going bang-bang-bang-bang for every full revolution of the crankshaft it goes bang-bang-cough-bang. Simplistically, it's running at 75% of full power. (I say 'simplistically' - I doubt if the maths works out like that when all's said and done - but it''l do for me; the car isn't running smoothly and it's underpowered. I imagine the lack of smoothness is more obvious than the lack of power.)

    b

  6. JohnParis's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • France

    • Join Date: Oct 2011
    • Posts: 773
    #8

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    Sorry - I can't find a typo.
    to provide the maximum amount of power - vs. -
    to enable the machine to provide the maximum amount of power

    Ksyu-k's original understanding of the phrase was: (I need that sort of adrenaline "to provide the maximum amount of power").
    My suggestion is: I need that sort of adrenaline to get the machine to give me the maximum amount of power.
    My reasoning is that the machine need not be operating at the maximum amount of power to be operating correctly. All you need is to be hitting on all fours to do your best and to enable the machine to provide maximum power.
    Conversely, you can't do your best if you don't have the ability to generate full power. To be able to generate full power, you have to be hitting on all four cylinders.

    I need a nap - Perhaps I'm beginning to sound like Abbott and Costello.
    John

  7. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #9

    Re: Fire on all cylinders.

    I see what you mean now - about enabling the machine (not about Abbott and Costello).

    b

Similar Threads

  1. in case of fire/a fire/emergency/an emergency
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 08-Apr-2011, 03:09
  2. To come under fire
    By Bushwhacker in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Sep-2007, 20:21
  3. Im on fire.
    By gungaabayar in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Mar-2006, 03:02
  4. fire
    By yervand in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15-Mar-2006, 13:43

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •