The New York Times article “In golf, moments good and bad are well remembered” (June 14) ends up with the following episode:

Jerry Kelly (PGA golfer) said that his steely memory of golf extended to his personal life, especially when driving.

"I remember all those people who have cut me off," Kelly said. "I try to stay ahead of everybody so that I don’t let them cut me off again, especially when I come back to the Northeast. I really get the juices flowing when I’m driving here."

What does “get the juices flow” when driving mean? Does it mean to get the thrills and spills?

There’s no entry for “get the juices flow” in English dictionaries at hand, nor Google Ngram shows any incidence of the phrase.

Is this an idiom, or just a casual turn of phrase? If it’s a not-unusual phrase, in what else instances can I use “get the juices flow”?


Someone placed “This question may have an answer here -Where did the "juices" in "creative juices" come from? on top of my question. It doesn’t. I read through the said question, and find no connection / answer to mine. My question has evidently nothing to do with “creative juice" asked in that particular question.

My question is simply what Jerry Kelly meant in his remark, which now I wrapped my brain after posting this question, and getting a lot of inputs from you.

  • 2
  • 3
    To the person who voted for close. Give me the answer first, then the reasons for having to close. NES can weigh whether the question is appropriate or stupid easily, because English is your mother language and ‘common sense.’ Unfortunately it doesn’t apply to us, non-native speakers. We don’t understand why question is closed or down-voted. It’s not a few times that I got a close / down vote at first on my question, which obtained 10 plus votes, sometimes 30 plus votes later. Sep 8, 2013 at 18:09
  • 2
    @YoichiOishi Agreed; I don't see the justification for down-vote.
    – Jack Ryan
    Sep 8, 2013 at 19:08
  • 2
    @YoichiOishi, it cannot possibly be taken to mean ‘urinate’. I mean, theoretically, it could_—but that would be such an unusual and unidiomatic interpretation, that it would only work with the right context and probably with an explanation, too. For example, if the reporter had jokingly answered, “Oh dear! Well, I wouldn’t want to be the passenger in _your car, then: I’d be scared you’d pee on me!”, he would have known that she was deliberately turning the expression into something about urinating. But it is quite a far-fetched interpretation, not at all the immediate or natural one. Sep 8, 2013 at 19:18
  • 2
    @YoichiOishi I think your indignation is, perhaps, uncalled for. There are two links posted which indicate the possible meanings of "juices flowing"; and somehow you wrote the singular form, juice, not once but twice in quotes (look at your title, which I hadn't noticed when I edited your question). I think your question deserves to stay open but please, don't think your freedom of speech is being attacked. That's going a little too far.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 8, 2013 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


‘Juices’ is a kind of slangy term that means ‘a person’s vitality or creative faculties’. The creative faculties are of course what is referenced in the expression mentioned in the question linked to by jwpat7 in the comment above; in this case, it’s the other meaning we’re looking for.

Since a person’s vitality is seen here as a kind of ‘juice’ (originally most likely referring on some level to bodily fluids: especially blood was, in Mediaeval times, often considered to be a source of energy, health, and vitality in humans), it makes sense that it should be set ‘flowing’, since that’s what liquids do.

This meaning is extended from the meaning the OED has as sense 2:

The fluid part or moisture of an animal body or substance; now usually in pl. the various liquid constituents of the body, the bodily ‘humours’

Obviously, if you think of it as being ultimately just a kind of euphemism for blood (and sweat and bile and all the other humours), getting it to flow, and flow faster especially, would be a sign of physical exertion or excitement: when we run, our blood actually flows faster, and our pulse increases.

The phrase is often also used in a sexual manner, where the reference is to the various kinds of sex-related bodily fluids that are released when people become aroused. Whether the sexual meaning came first or the exertion meaning came first (or whether they are really to be separated at all), I do not know; I cannot find any quotes for that. But it is clear that they are both in use.

In the quote from your NYT article, the meaning is definitely that of physical exertion–based excitement. He is comparing the ‘rush’ he gets from driving to a kind of race where he’s not going to let anyone pass him and be faster than him.


In this context, 'get the juices flowing' means an increase in adrenaline and mental focus. In the context of creative thinking, the same phrase means fluidity of thought and mental focus.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.