rake together: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘rake together’ mean?

The idiom "rake together" means to gather or collect something, usually in a hurried or hurried manner. It is often used to describe the act of gathering money or resources, typically in a last-minute or desperate situation.

Idiom Explorer


Rake together is an idiomatic expression used in informal contexts. It refers to gathering or collecting something in a haphazard manner. The exact origin of this idiom is unknown, but its meaning and usage are well established.

"Rake together" is a phrasal verb commonly used in spoken language. It conveys the act of gathering objects or information without much attention to organization. The word "rake" figuratively means gathering indiscriminately, like using a rake to collect leaves or debris. The verb "together" emphasizes collecting items into a group or pile.

Although uncertain, this idiom dates back to the early 19th century. It may have derived from the literal act of raking leaves. Over time, it transitioned into a metaphorical sense representing the gathering of objects or ideas in a careless or disorganized manner.

Mark Twain's novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," provides an example of this idiom. Huck Finn uses it to describe how he gathers firewood: "I raked together quite a pile of stuff...." This usage highlights the informal and colloquial nature of the expression within the narrative.

The idiom "rake together" is commonly used in informal conversations to describe gathering objects or information carelessly. It can also represent the gathering of ideas without much thought or organization. While not inherently negative, it implies a lack of attention to detail or disregard for order.

Together, gather and collect leaves with a rake.

The idiom "rake together" has firmly established itself in American English. Its meaning and usage are widely recognized and understood. As idioms shape and evolve language, the possibilities for their usage and interpretation remain endless.

The idiom "scratch together" is similar to "rake together" in that it emphasizes the gathering of something, but with the implication of even greater difficulty or struggle. To "scratch together" means to gather or collect something, typically money or resources, through hard work or resourcefulness. For example, someone might need to "scratch together" enough money to pay their bills at the end of the month.

Similarly, the idiom "scrape together" conveys a similar meaning as "rake together." It involves gathering or collecting something, often money or resources, but with the added implication of doing so with great effort or difficulty. For instance, someone might have to "scrape together" enough funds to buy a plane ticket for an unexpected trip.

The idiom "bring together" is another related expression. It means to gather or assemble people or things in one place or for a particular purpose. This idiom emphasizes the act of gathering and uniting different elements or individuals. For example, a conference organizer might "bring together" experts from various fields to discuss a specific topic.

"knit together" is an idiom that shares a similar meaning with "rake together." It refers to the act of bringing together or uniting different elements or ideas to create a cohesive whole. The word "knit" suggests the combining of separate elements into a unified structure, much like knitting individual threads into a fabric. For instance, a speaker might seek to "knit together" various arguments or points to form a persuasive speech.

Lastly, the idiom "get together" is related to "rake together" in terms of gathering people. It means to meet or assemble with others, typically for social or informal purposes. This expression focuses on the act of coming together and emphasizes the social aspect of gathering. For example, friends might decide to "get together" for a casual dinner or to watch a movie.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "rake together" can be used in a sentence:

  1. After searching all over the house, she managed to rake together enough money to buy a plane ticket.
  2. In order to pay for the repairs, they had to rake together all their savings.
  3. The team worked hard to rake together all the necessary documents for the presentation.

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