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Definition of Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps Definition from Language, Idioms & Slang Dictionaries & Glossaries
The Phrase Finder
Meaning
Improve your situation by your own efforts.
Origin
Of unknown but early, possibly as early as the 17th century, origin. Some early computers used a process called bootstrapping which alludes to this phrase. This involved loading a small amount of code which was then used to progressively load more complex code until the machine was ready for use. This has lead to the term 'booting', referring to starting up a computer.
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