to pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - pull yourself up by your bootstraps

"to pull yourself up by your bootstraps"

to improve yourself (often economically) without help from others


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: I seem to be floundering with my work. I have had a string of failures and can't seem to get ahead. Nobody seems to want to help me.

Colleague 2: Don’t expect other people to help you get ahead in life. If you want to get somewhere, you’ll have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do it for yourself. Closely examine your behaviors and thoughts and then decide to make some serious changes.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: Clarence is a real self-made man, isn't he?

Friend 2: Clarence didn't come from a very promising background and no one thought he would succeed. His family was poor. His father was abusive and a very negative man. However, Clarence pulled himself up by his bootstraps, got a good education, and became a prosperous lawyer.

Friend 1: And it is quite amazing that he did it all on his own.

Test Your Understanding  

to pull yourself up by your bootstraps - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   163   click for frequency by country

to pull yourself up by your bootstraps - Gerund Form:

Pulling himself up by his bootstraps, he went from fifty thousand dollars in debt to retiring a millionaire in just ten years.

to pull yourself up by your bootstraps - Examples:

1)  People can not always pull themselves up by their bootstraps - they need help.

2)  The majority of the working class unemployed are expected to pull themselves up by their bootstraps - become mini-Hayleys and fully valid humans without any outside help.

3)  Not everyone is able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. What they need in these communities are jobs and educational opportunities.

4)  ... to continue to stumble until they learn how to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps".

5)  We can not ask children to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and then take away the bootstraps. Poverty is more than just finances.

6)  ... groan and feel sorry for yourself? No, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you get on with life.'

7)  You can't just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, put on your big girl pants. Sometimes we need help. 

8)  ... work hard, be self-sufficient and push yourself forward, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, that kind of thing.

9)  Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stop depending on the government to provide for you.

10)  ... teenage pregnancy/poverty/etc rates but many many are hard working, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, family oriented, church going folk.

11)  Suck it up. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Put a smile on your face! Try to feel good about yourself.

12)  ... you simply sleep less, try harder, and pull yourself up by your bootstraps because it's what you do. You keep afloat.

13)  The phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" refers to a self-sustaining process that requires no external stimulus to exist.

14)  Even acknowledging that this process is "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps", the results of this process leave the organization much better off than before.

15)  ... need opportunities, and to show that the rhetoric behind "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" is based on an incomplete data set. 

16)  ... society, whereby we don't lecture the disadvantaged about pulling themselves up by their bootstraps: instead we have to wade in to help in ways that may be messy.

17)  ... responsible for themselves and that they completely make themselves by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

18)  Both men are the sons of immigrants pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to become accomplished professionals in their respective fields.

19)  ... everything we are taught and exposed to. Independence! Pull yourself up by the bootstraps! I am an Island! Self-made Man! Lone Ranger!

20)  If you work hard you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps and you become part of this top 10%.