What is the meaning of the saying take the lead out? I ask because I was watching this video from the 1960's show What's My Line and Groucho Marx writes this on a blackboard (where he's supposed to write his name) and gets a big laugh. I've heard the saying before, albeit very infrequently.
"Get the lead out" is a common expression basically meaning "hurry up". Some urban dictionaries trace the etymology back to 18th-century British army/navy, but this is contested as there is little to no evidence of this. Etymologists do agree it began to be commonly used in the United States beginning in the early 20th century, often as the slightly longer "get the lead out of your pants". The idea is simply that the person whom you are telling this is moving slowly as if they are weighted down with lead, so "getting the lead out" would make them move faster.
It's a truncation of the vulgar exhortation to "get the lead out of your ass." The idea is that the malefactor's posterior is heavily weighted down, leading to slow and awkward performance of a physical activity.
In other words, it means, "hurry up!"
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Apr 28 '12 at 15:01
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