Question: Rope-A-Dope Strategy

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Sun Apr 21 17:11:47 UTC 2002

 Rick Kennerly writes:
>The other version adheres to a boxing metaphor where only a dopey boxer
>would find himself backed onto the ropes and taking a pummeling with no
>route of escape.  In this case, my company's rope-a-dope strategy would be
>to keep a competitor so busy in, say defensive legal work, that he'd miss
>the fact that we'd surpassed him sales.  In other words, winning by
>Are there other understandings?  Which is correct?  Where did it come from
>and when?
According to OED, neither of these is quite on, though the boxing one is
closer. It's a strategem of the boxer on the ropes to entice his opponent
into throwing tiring but ineffective  punches (because the resting boxer
can protect himself) while he gets a second wind.
Of course if everyone using the expression intends it to mean some other
thing and others interpret it acording to that intention, then it begins to
incorporate the new meaning.  OED doesn't provide a date, & merely says
it's US slang.
 A. Murie

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