Definition of walk the plank in US English:

walk the plank

phrase

  • 1(formerly) be forced by pirates to walk blindfold along a plank over the side of a ship to one's death in the sea.

    • ‘At some time near the Algerian coast Barbary pirates boarded the ship and its good officers and men walked the plank.’
    • ‘It's to this land, where boys fly, fairies interfere and pirates walk the plank, that Wendy, played by a newcomer, and her two brothers are drawn.’
    • ‘After all, piracy could be just a simple matter of theft on the high seas but of course it more usually involved more nasty conduct, like making sailors walk the plank, murder, torture, etc.’
    • ‘They walked me over to the deeper end of the pool like pirates making their prisoner walk the plank.’
    • ‘After the move, said pirates, the Bones family, continue to live their life exactly as if they were still plundering on the high seas: firing cannons, flying the Skull And Crossbones, making captives walk the plank, and so on.’
    • ‘It must of been a terrible view in his eyes to see his cargo being plundered, his men bloodied before walking the plank, and the woman passengers strung over the railings of the pirate's vessel.’
    • ‘I had to try desperately to prevent my somber expression from matching one of a person walking the plank towards shark-infested waters.’
    • ‘The blacksmith's assistant's dad was that very person, but he walked the plank after refusing to join Barbossa's mutiny, which is why his offspring is so important to the skeletal pirates.’
    • ‘I'm always strangely calm before exams - sort of with the dull numbness that comes over the prisoner just before the pirates make him walk the plank.’
    • ‘A mischievous scene of children playing pirate games wracks nerves as the audience holds its breath, anticipating the body count as the unsuspecting kids walk the plank over the gator-infested water.’
    1. 1.1informal Lose one's job or position.
      ‘the manager should be made to walk the plank for not insisting Bream be re-signed’
      • ‘The writing may already be on the wall at Esat, where a former chief executive bowed out last month, joining a long line of former Esat bosses who have walked the plank since BT acquired the firm.’
      • ‘Jabbing his fingertips at the next contestant intended to walk the plank, he scowls and barks contemptuously, ‘You're fired!’’
      • ‘But with the prospect of walking the plank looming large, Marie is hoping to get the support of the county behind her and particularly the support of her own age group.’
      • ‘As for EMC, don't worry if you're about to be invited to walk the plank - he can assure you that you will be treated with dignity.’
      • ‘Investors both big and small have demanded the CEO also walk the plank over its subdued earnings performance and its disastrous investment forays into Asia.’
      • ‘There are predictable calls for the senior councillors to ‘do the decent thing’ and walk the plank.’
      • ‘Why one of the best ministers in the government has to walk the plank is not clear.’
      • ‘It was for that reason that he had to walk the plank last Wednesday.’
      • ‘As part of the eviction process, each week the contestant with the least number of votes is forced to walk the plank for their dramatic final exit from the show.’
      • ‘They caused six managers to walk the plank one way or another.’