"Long Pole in the Tent"?

Is this some kind of US Army expression? I WAG it’s what a business man would call something in the critical path upon which all else is dependent? - Jinx

I always understood it meant the brightest or best in a group, like “sharpest tool in the shed”.

It doesn’t refer to a clothed man with an erection?

I’ve only heard it in a business setting, but your WAG is correct. It also plays off the double meaning of the thing that holds up everything else.

In a tent, the tallest pole is in the center. The shorter poles are at the corners.

Then explain a canopy bed?


A canopy bed isn’t the same thing as a tent.

She said humorlessly.

We use the term “tall pole in the tent” in an IT setting to mean the thing that holds everything up. In other words, the longest running in a set of concurrent jobs or threads that forces downstream processes to wait.

Yep. It’s biz slang for the critical-path item in a program schedule. Among tasks that must be performed in parallel, it’s the one that takes the longest time.

An obvious pun :rolleyes:

Pun? I thought that was the reference.