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pull out all the stops

Meaning: If you pull out all the stops, you do everything you can to make sure something is successful.

For example:

  • They pulled out all the stops for the launch of their new range of perfumes, and even paid movie stars to come along.

  • The Chinese government pulled out all the stops in their efforts to make the Beijing Olympics the best Olympic Games ever.

Origin: Metaphorical, and related to the fact that the volume and timbre of a traditional pipe organ can be controlled in part by pulling out small knobs called "stops". If an organist "pulled out all the stops" on the organ, it would create a very big sound when played.

Quick Quiz:

Indira's family were very proud and they pulled out all the stops to make sure her wedding was
  1. as spectacular as possible
  2. as cheap as possible
  3. as secret as possible

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