Query: "Winner, winner, chicken dinner"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun May 11 18:37:51 UTC 2008

On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 2:00 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> At 10:47 AM -0500 5/11/08, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
>>One of my students has asked me about "Winner, winner, chicken
>>dinner" -- something I had never heard of before.   Would anyone
>>known anything about it?  I asked my student to e-mail me what he
>>had told me so I could forward it accurately to ads-l.  Any
>>information/insight about it would be much appreciated.
> I don't know about the "at least 20 years" part, but it's been
> popularized over the last couple of years (long enough for it to have
> become tiresome) by one of the hosts on ESPN's SportsCenter, who uses
> it typically as a voice-over accompanying the showing of a walk-off
> hit in the bottom of the last inning in a baseball game.

That's a catchphrase of John Buccigross -- I don't recall hearing any of the
other SportsCenter hosts use it. Wikipedia says he's been an ESPN anchor since

--Ben Zimmer

>>[e-mail from student]:
>>I'm emailing you the question I had about "Winner, winner, chicken
>>dinner."  I was wondering where it arose.  All I know of it is that
>>it (the saying) has been used by sportscasters for at least twenty
>>years, and that it's well-known enough that there are t-shirts with
>>the saying emblazened on them:
>>I've heard that the origin may have something to do with sports
>>betting in the World War Two era, but I haven't found a reputable
>>source that acknowledges this.

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

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