Posted by: Dutch | January 28, 2010

Rise and shine


Get out of bed and prepare for work.


The earliest use of ‘rise and shine’ in print are references to the sun, as in this example from Maryland paper The Torch Light And Public Advertiser, February 1824:

Courage, child of Washington,
Though thy fate disastrous stems,
We have seen the setting sun
Rise and shine with brighter beams.”

We don’t get the phrase from such straightforward literal uses, but from its use as a wake up call for soldiers. In that context ‘rise’ just means ‘rouse yourself’ and ‘shine’ derives from the shining of boots that soldiers were expected to do each morning. When used in the British Army ‘rise and shine’ was, and still is, preceded by ‘wakey-wakey’. The naval equivalent is ‘shake (or show) a leg’. The term may not have originated in the British Army though – the first citation of its use that I can find is from America. That’s in the 1916 U.S. Marine Corps Recruiters’ Bulletin:

“He rapped at the door and in stentorian tones cried,’‘Rise and shine… Wiggle a toe.'”

– Sincerest thanks to Gary Martin of The Phrase Finder


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