When it comes to cheering from the spectator's stand for a friend who is participating in a race, where I live has this phrase which means "add oil" if translated directly into English. Thus, for those who don't speak English very well here, they would yell out "add oil" to their friends who are in a race. I would like to know how English speakers actually say it. I have a feeling this would vary between regions and I would appreciate if anyone could suggest a few from each of the US and the UK.

Edit: Add oil has now been officially added into the Oxford Dictionary and so this question is not necessary anymore! 😊

  • Go for it, would be a similar phrase in BrE, but if it were a friend, I would probably go for *'You're doing well!' to give a more positive friendly spin as well – BladorthinTheGrey Jul 18 '16 at 15:47
  • "Go!", "floor it", "put the peddle to the metal" – Mitch Jul 18 '16 at 16:40
  • @Mitch, shouldn't that be "pedal to the metal"? As in a gas pedal to the metal floor of the car? – rajah9 Jul 18 '16 at 18:43
  • @rajah9 Or criminy, yes, of course. 'pedal'. I was making puns in my head with with mettle and meddle and puddle and muddle and I only came halfway up for air. – Mitch Jul 18 '16 at 20:03
  • Step on it or kick it into high gear, are similar to pedal to the metal, maybe a little less motorsport specific as far as exhortations go. – stevesliva Jul 19 '16 at 2:15

This sounds like an idiom, which generally don't translate well.

This isn't an expression used in English, in this context. I think the closest equivalents might be "get a move on" (BrEng-specific, I think) or "get the lead out" (more AmEng-specific).



Having said that, neither of these is particularly friendly. If you just wanted to shout encouragement you could shout "Come on, <name>!"

  • Thanks for your timely response. Would people yell their phrases out from the spectator's stand or they are said to friends in situations like before a game? – Frankibutter Jul 18 '16 at 15:50
  • From where does "pull the lead out" come? That sounds very strange to my BrE tongue, does it have some sort of gun connotation with the lead? – BladorthinTheGrey Jul 18 '16 at 15:51
  • @MissJoey These are definitely calling pu from the stand phrases. – BladorthinTheGrey Jul 18 '16 at 15:51
  • @MissJoey I beg your pardon, it should have been "get the lead out" - I'll amend my answer. – Max Williams Jul 18 '16 at 16:21
  • Thank you for providing a link for "pull the lead out" – BladorthinTheGrey Jul 18 '16 at 16:30

"Let's go!" or "Let's go, <team name>!" is what we say in the US to motivate the team. It is sometimes repeated as a chant.

See: Etymology of phrase "Let's Go (favorite sports team!)"


I'm assuming a lot about the origin of your "add oil" idiom, but I believe in the U.S. the closest idiom matches would either be

  • "grease the wheels," - loosely meaning to speed something up (which would literally apply to an engine; figuratively to a process or political situation, maybe a race)


  • "light a fire," or figuratively putting heat under someone to make him move (faster).
  • grease the wheels and light a fire don't sound like exhortations during a race to me. – stevesliva Jul 19 '16 at 2:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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