• Prepare for a defensive action
      Gather together and form a protective barrier in preparation for an attack or danger.

    • Unite and protect each other
      Come together and protect one another in the face of a common threat or challenge.

    • Close ranks and be cautious
      Stand together and be vigilant, especially in times of uncertainty or danger.

Examples of Circle the wagons

  • When the news of a potential threat reached the small town, the townspeople immediately circled the wagons around the town square.

    This idiom is used to describe a situation where a group of people band together and form a defensive perimeter to protect themselves from an external threat. The origin of this idiom comes from the old Western movies where settlers would form a circle around their wagons as a defense against Native American attacks. Today, the idiom is used metaphorically to describe any situation where a group of people come together to protect themselves from harm or danger.


The idiom "circle the wagons" is commonly used to convey the idea of preparing for a defensive action, whether it be against an attack or a challenging situation. It can also be used to emphasize the importance of unity and protecting each other in the face of a common threat. Additionally, the idiom can be used to caution against complacency in times of uncertainty and to stress the need for vigilance and caution.

Origin of "Circle the wagons"

The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the American West, specifically during the time of westward expansion in the 19th century. During this time, settlers would often travel in covered wagons, which were used to carry their belongings and provide shelter. These wagons were often arranged in a circle at night for protection against potential attacks from Native American tribes or other dangers.

The use of this idiom in modern language can also be attributed to the idea of banding together and forming a protective circle or barrier, similar to how settlers would circle their wagons. It has also been suggested that the phrase may have its origins in military strategies, where troops would form a circle to protect themselves from enemy attacks.

Overall, the idiom "circle the wagons" has evolved to encompass the idea of coming together, uniting, and taking protective measures in the face of danger or challenges. It has become a widely used expression to convey the importance of standing together and being prepared for any potential threats.