"(one's) to lose"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 2 14:57:13 UTC 2011

Candy Crowley asks a politician, "Is the nomination Obama's to lose?"

GB show this taking off in the mid '90s, first in politics, later in other
arenas, especially, it seems, sports.

I find only two earlier exx.

Edith Oliver's review if the off-Broadway production of Euripides'
"Iphegenia in Aulis," under the direction of Michael Cacoyannis (New Yorker,
 Dec. 2, 1967, p. 147), includes the following passage:

"When Agamemnon barks at her, 'Obey me - do as I say!' ...[Clytemnestra]
manages to be funny and charming, without losing an inch of dignity, as she
replies, "The world is yours to lose. The home is my kingdom."

The translation was by Minos Volanakis.

The still earlier passage may, however, be the effective origin. It appears
in H. N. Dickinson's translation of  _The National History of France: The
Eighteenth Century," by Casimir Stryienski (N.Y.: Putnam, 1916), p. 218:

"Maupeou was exiled on August 24, 1744. The Chancellor said when he left : '
*The King wishes to lose his crown*. Well, it is his to lose.'"

Another seemingly obvious locution, but once essentially nonexistent.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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