Get down to brass tacks


      • to focus on the essential or important details of a situation or problem
        When discussing a plan or issue, to direct attention to the most crucial and relevant points, often with a sense of urgency or seriousness.

      • to start working on something in a practical and efficient manner
        When beginning a task or project, to stop discussing ideas and theories and instead start taking concrete steps towards completion.

      • to get to the heart of a matter or problem
        When trying to understand a complex issue or situation, to cut through distractions and confusion and address the core issue at hand.

    Examples of Get down to brass tacks

    • After exchanging pleasantries, the CEO finally got down to brass tacks during the meeting and discussed the financial aspects of the project.

      This idiom is used when you want to focus on the essential or important aspects of a situation, without any distractions or unnecessary details. It comes from the old practice of weighing goods at markets, where merchants would place brass tacks on the scales to determine the weight of the items being sold. By getting down to brass tacks, you are cutting to the chase and getting straight to the point.


    The idiom "get down to brass tacks" is often used to emphasize the need for practicality and focus in a discussion or task. It can also be used to indicate a sense of urgency or seriousness in addressing a problem or issue. Overall, the idiom conveys the idea of getting to the essential or important aspects of a situation.

    Origin of "Get down to brass tacks"

    The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the United States during the 19th century. The phrase "brass tacks" may refer to brass-headed tacks used in upholstery or carpentry, which were used to secure the most important and visible parts of furniture. This could have led to the phrase being used to refer to the most important or essential aspects of a situation.

    Another theory suggests that "brass tacks" could refer to the brass tacks in store counters, used to measure fabric or other goods for sale. This could have given the phrase a connotation of getting to the bottom line or essential details of a transaction.

    Regardless of the exact origin, the idiom has been used in American English for over a century and has become a common phrase to emphasize the need for practicality and focus.