WHAT IS the meaning and origin of "win something hands down"?

By Kavitha, Chennai, India(07.12.2006).

It means to win very easily, to win without any real effort.

Here are a few examples.

* The local team won the tournament hands down.

* I am sure that Sarita will win the nomination hands down.

* I wouldn't worry if I were you. You will win hands down.

It's interesting to note that many English idioms come from the world of horse racing and boxing. Tells you something about the English, doesn't it? To "win something hands down" comes from the world of horse racing and it has been part of the English language since the mid 19th century. I understand as the jockey approaches the finish line, he sometimes loosens his hold on the reins. He does this when he is very confident of winning the race; when he thinks that he will win it easily. When the jockey loosens his hold on the reins, he drops his hands. Hence, the expression, "to win hands down".

|Next Question| Previous Question| Vocabulary| English Teacher| Etymology|

From win to HOME PAGE