Query: the expression "hands down"

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sat Mar 22 02:02:43 UTC 2008

OED, 1867.
h. hands down: with ease, with little or no effort; unconditionally,
submissively; orig. in the racing phr. to win hands down, referring to the
jockey dropping his hands, and so relaxing his hold on the reins, when
victory appears certain.

Sam Clements

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2008 9:57 PM
Subject: Query: the expression "hands down"

> 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

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

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