Query: the expression "hands down"

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sat Mar 22 01:57:10 UTC 2008

Today a student asked me the origin of the expression "hands down," as in "He won hands down," and I didn't have a good answer.  Would anyone perhaps know what the original context might have been?  In what sort of a contest would one literally win "hands down"?

Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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