What Does “On the Double” Mean and Where Does the Phrase For Hurry Up Come From?

In civilian life “on the double” means to do something in a hurry.

In the military, where the expression originated, it is usually a clear command most commonly barked by a drill sergeant ordering his men to do a task “on the double,” meaning to “stop walking and start running.”

Just as bugles were used to relay drills to soldiers in the field, drums were utilized on ships to summon sailors to their battle stations.

what does on the double mean and where does the phrase for hurry up come from

Double was an early reference to increase the drumbeat appropriately to convey urgency to all hands.

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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.