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#1 2010-07-28 00:15:53

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1251

Hoisting petards

Hoist by one’s own petard. Both hoist as an unusual past participle (I think the present tense was originally something like hoise), and petard as, in the military parlance lately adopted by the news media, an Improvised Explosive Device, are unknown outside of this idiom and therefore wide open for reinterpretation. A victim of Muphry’s Law explains the origins of the phrase:

[Thread title] Privacy watchdog hoists Google by its own petard
[comment:] Hoi! #
It’s foist not hoist. As in “foist by one’s own petard” (a shaped charge of gunpowder originally designed to blow holes in gates and later used to remove hinges and locks etc.) To be so pedantic indicates I don’t have a life but at least it won’t be appearing anywhere but online

Other comeuppances:

the other use was in a petard (which is were we get the term hosed by your own petard) which was the very first directional charge. … 1&p=215989

Transcriptional transubstantiation
So we have reached a situation in which we are sort of horsed by our own button

Energy beam battle
As his sight cleared, and the figure came into clearer focus, he cold make out Espena, perhaps, hoisted by her own baton, staring up in his direction.

Finally, there are a few examples of hanging by one’s own petard, which are probably modelled on leotard, or unitard, presenting images it is better not to dwell upon.

“Political comment (snippet from”
Many pundits foresaw that Harper would dangle from his own petard

+Political blog
Spicy as New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s travails are, and lovely as it is to witness a pontificating, preachy reformer dangle from his own petard, still, one wonders, is this all there is?

Political blog
The Great Bloat Teddy should be hanged by his own petard, but it would probably tear off from straining at carrying his vast evil bulk.



#2 2010-12-24 03:55:21

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2211

Re: Hoisting petards

For a “foist” and “hoist” confusion see … hp?id=3341



#3 2012-12-31 06:21:10

Dixon Wragg
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 714

Re: Hoisting petards

I used to think, for some reason, that a petard was something like a pike or halberd, so I’d say “hoist on his own petard” with an image of someone caught on the end of such a weapon and hoisted up into the air, dangling. I don’t know how I got that impression, as a brief Internet search yields no word for a pike-like weapon similar to “petard”. I was right about the military aspect and the general time period, but that’s about all.



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