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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Can civilians use this phrase?

    We have heard the phrase: "hanging up the boots". This phrase signifies retirement from active sports by a sportsman. This phrase originated when a footballer retired from active football. Later, other sportspersons started using this phrase.

    Of late, I have heard many military officers using the phrase "hanging up the boots" at the time of their retirement. Nowadays, eminent newspapers are also using this phrase while reporting the retirement of senior military officers.

    I would like to know whether it would be appropriate for civilian officers/officials to use this term at the time of their retirement. ISC members may kindly express their opinion.
  • #755650
    If the media start using this phrase in the context of civilians, then it is likely to become 'in vogue ' as most people just copy each other often without knowing and understanding the literal meanings of many words and phrases.

    However, in my personal opinion, this phrase applies only in the context of the activities related to the active use of the foot protected with shoes or boots e.g. in playing soccer. It became popular in the context of military services also because boots are an integral and important part of their uniform.

    I do agree that the civilians also wear shoes but that is not mandatory and nowadays many civilians wear fancy footwear including slippers and sandles etc.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #755665
    As mentioned by Kailash Kumar, people start using the phrase without completely understanding the context where it was used earlier. Then it may become popular and all may start using it.
    When I was in a job, I used to wear shoes daily and on holidays and weekly offs I used to wear slippers. Since I have become a freelancer I am not using shoes regularly and only when it is compulsory I am using. So I don't know whether I can use that phrase as I was not in the armed forces.
    I feel there is nothing wrong in using that phrase by civilians also, All civilians might have used shoes and they might have used their feet in one way or the either in discharging their duties. It is not something that indicates the cadre or position of a person in the armed forces or any other profession. I support using this phrase by all. I don't find anything wrong. Many phrases came into existence like this only.

    always confident

  • #755668
    What I feel that when a phrase does give the right impression and meaning, nothing wrong to use the same irrespective of a particular sect or other people. Hanging up the boots testifies relieving from the responsibilities and that may be retirement from the sports. retirement from the govt services and retirement from the private company. By the way the shoes are worn by many irrespective of Football player, cricket player, the military office, soldier or even the common man going to office and having the managerial position. And English is such a lovely language which can be used in many ways and those phrases which are already famous and people do connect with them easily and understand the meaning of the same is always recommended to be used. So civilians can use the phrases which are more acceptable to all.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #755688
    If they want they may use but the phrase is used explicitly for sportsmen, especially footballers. The interesting thing about the phrase is it signifies retirement from a profession where the use of the boot is quite important. In any sports, footwear is an integral part and the steppings are dependent on the type of boot one is wearing. For military officers, other equipment like arms and ammunition is also essential along with the footwear so only the footwear cannot be thought of as the item of main concern. In that sense, the phrase may not seem perfect.

    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #755735
    If more people start using a phrase in different situations then its use gets extended. There are many industries where wearing boots is a matter of safety and precaution. We can definitely use this phrase when they get retired from their active service life. Slowly other civilians will also be included and the phrase would become of a general nature rather than specific for a category of people. Many phrases have gone under such transformation based on the people enlarging their use to various situations.
    Knowledge is power.

  • #756025
    So, is there any final decision about the boots? Can the civilian officers also hang their boots on retirement?
    “Khamosh rahoon toh mushkil hain, keh doon toh shikayat hoti hain" (It is difficult to remain silent; But if I speak, they complain.) --------- Saba Afghani

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