This phrase comes from the poem "The Kicker" by 19th-century humorist Josh Billings (in the 1800s, kicker was another word for complainer). Billings wrote: "I hate to be a kicker, I always long for peace, But the wheel that does the squeaking, Is the one that gets the grease." In other words, you'll get what you want if you make a fuss.

It was common practice among early 17th-century American settlers to designate property borders using pike-like strips of wood, or stakes. These staked borders also served as fortifications against encroaching Native Americans, who settlers constantly feared.

Originally, this phrase referred to a ship that had run aground raising the vessel high enough out of water to strand it at least until high tide. Today, we use the phrase in reference to any instance where one person leaves another person stranded. "He left me high and dry at the airport this afternoon when he failed to pick me up."

This saying, like so many others, derives its name from the world's long sea-faring tradition.

This phrase finds its origins in French author Victor Hugo's historical novel Ninety Three, in which he describes a dangerous moment where a deckhand has to subdue a loose cannon in the midst of a storm. Since the book's publication in 1874, the phrase has come to refer to a person whose behavior can be reckless or out of control. "I won't work with him.