Get Down to Brass Tacks

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Get down to brass tacks is an idiom used in English since the late 19th century.

Meaning

To get down to brass tacks means to start discussing the most important and crucial aspects of or facts of a problem or situation. It means to skip over pleasantries or unimportant details or theories and get right to the heart of the matter, which is a synonym idiom, along with "get down to the nitty-gritty."

Usage

"I always go to the same car dealership. The salesmen there don't mess around, they like to get right down to brass tacks."

"I've heard all the theories, gentlemen," said the CEO, "now it's time to get down to brass tacks."

Origin

The origin of the expression "getting down to brass tacks" is thought to have originated in brass tacks that were marked at one-yard intervals along shop counters, in the days of dry goods store where not only groceries were sold, but basic supplies including cloth. The tacks were there as a quick measuring system, so to 'get down to brass tacks' was to measure accurately and quickly.

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