I don't grasp the following sentence:

"After years of raking in huge sums of oil money, these days Saudi Arabia is pulling out all the stops to raise cash. "

What stops do they mean?

1 Answer 1


"Pulling out all the stops" is an idiom related to the playing of a church organ.

A pipe organ in a church is controlled by, amongst other things, stops which affect the flow of air to control the volume of the sound.

Pulling out a stop removes a restriction and so makes the sound louder. An organ will have many stops, so pulling them all out gives maximum sound.

Church organ stops

Thus the idiom means to apply maximum effort.

  • 1
    Raking in X means that X is free for the taking, or very easy to get, and that you are acquiring large quantities of X. As though X were leaves on the ground.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 13:23
  • 2
    Specifically, the stops control airflow to different banks of pipes with different sounds - effectively different instruments. Pulling out all the stops plays all sets of pipes at once - you are using everything, doing everything possible.
    – Ben
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 8:08

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