Sometimes I've come across the "phrasal verb" "Pull oneself up by something" and I really don't understand the meaning. I researched, but I couldn't find the meaning.

For example:

Farm people are stoic folk, and are taught to “pull themselves up by their boot straps,” “get over it” and not talk about such issues.

And I made up this one:

He pulled himself up by his radio.

Could you guys help me?


The phrase has a specific meaning with regard to bootstraps.

Literally, it means to lift yourself up by your own boot laces, which is obviously impossible and a bit of a nonsense, but figuratively it means to solve a problem or overcome an obstacle by yourself without any outside assistance.


If you have pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, you have achieved success by your own efforts, starting from very difficult circumstances and without help from anyone.

See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootstrapping for more details about the origins of the expression.

In your example about farmers, it’s basically claiming that farmers prefer to be self-sufficient (a loose interpretation of “stoic”) and would rather try to solve problems or work through personal issues on their own instead of asking for help from someone else.

As for your own version referencing a radio, I don’t think that really means anything...

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