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From a fight or military retreating until they cannot escape; see have one's back to the wall and retreat to the wall doctrine in common law.


go to the wall

  1. (idiomatic) To make an all-out effort.
    He'll be the one who goes to the wall when it's needed.
    He's always been willing to go to the wall for his friends.
    That was the one point he was willing to go to the wall on.
  2. (idiomatic) To fail, to run out of options. (especially of a business)
  3. To be put aside or forgotten.
  4. To take an extreme and determined position or measure

Usage notesEdit

  • In the sense "to make an all-out effort", go to the wall is used with for (on behalf of) and on (about"," concerning) and other synonymous prepositions.

Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit