"in the trenches"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun May 11 17:21:24 UTC 2014

This seems to me to be a similar usage to the currently very popular phrase "on the ground."

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2014 11:18 AM
Subject: "in the trenches"

You know: "at war on land"; hence "actively involved in a difficult, usu.
co-operative undertaking or industry." (More or less.)  Not in OED.

Here's an "early" transitional example. It alludes to war, but the
"trenches" are

1966  Albin Lesky _A History of Greek Literature_ (trans. Cornelis de Heer
& James Willis (ed. 2) [rpt. London: Duckworth, 1996) 120: But we have no
reason to suppose that Tyrtaeus never wrote except in the trenches.


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