What Does Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place Mean?

Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place Meaning

Definition: Be brave and resolute.

Origin of Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place

This expression comes from the play Macbeth, written by the English playwright William Shakespeare, from the year 1605.

  • Lady Macbeth: ‘We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.’

Examples of Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place

sticking place definitionThis example shows two coworkers who are talking about doing something scary.

Regina: Ginny, I heard something up in my attic. Come with me to check what it is.

Ginny: No way! Your attic is scary. And what if there is a murderer up there! I’ve seen a lot of horror movies where the characters die because they go to investigate a strange noise. Maybe you should just call the police.

Regina: Don’t be ridiculous. It’s probably just a bat or some other animal.

Ginny: That’s almost as scary as a murderer! I’m way too scared to go up there.

Regina: Come on. It will be fine. I’m not going alone, so you have no choice. Screw your courage to the sticking place, and let’s go up there now.

Ginny: Fine, but if something bad happens, don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Let’s go.

macbeth courageIn this example, two friends are talking about which movie to go see.

Kevin: There are not that many options for movies. What kind of movie are you in the mood for? Do you want to see a comedy?

Steve: I really like horror films. There’s a really good one that just came out and got really good reviews. It’s supposed to be really scary, but also really good. Do you want to go see that one?

Kevin: Don’t be silly. I hate horror films! They terrify me.

Steve: Well, unfortunately, the other movies are all cartoons for children, and foreign films, which I know that you also dislike. So either screw your courage to the sticking place and come with me, or find something else to do.

Kevin: Okay. I’ll try to be brave.

More Examples

This excerpt uses the expression in order to warn readers to be brave before looking at a scary picture.

  • Get ready to make like Gaston and “screw your courage to the sticking place,” because Disney has revealed the first-ever image of its “Beast” from the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated classic fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast.” The look is certainly something that you don’t see every day. –LA Times

This excerpt is telling producers to be courageous enough to invest in a good play.

  • Still, “Gypsy” is a great musical, and this revival deserves a shot at Broadway. So screw your courage to the sticking place, boys, and fork over that $9 million. –New York Post


The idiom screw your courage to the sticking place is another way to say affix your bravery to a place that it will not abandon you.