Posted by ESC on April 01, 2004
In Reply to: "This is the kicker" posted by Henry on April 01, 2004
: : : : : : Why do people say "and this is the kicker", prior
: : : : : : to a point they want to emphasize?
: : : : : Well, being kicked gets people's attention.
: : : : That's true. But it still seems strange to me.
: : : : The only other thing I've found searching around
: : : : on the web is that a "kicker" is a side card in
: : : : poker that is the tie-breaker in hands with the
: : : : same rank.
: : : I found another reference, but it doesn't talk
: : : about why:
: : : http://www.bartleby.com/61/42/K0054200.html
: : : "A tricky or concealed condition; a pitfall: 'The kicker is that the relationship of guide and seeker gets all mixed up with a confusing male-female attachment' (Gail Sheehy)"
: : We've got some card sharks on this site. They can probably come up with a good explanation. Stay tuned.
: The term is used in concrete construction too. "A kicker or small wall section 75mm high should be cast as part of the base slab to provide a convenient starting point for the wall and to ensure integrity at this important junction." In this case, the kicker would be essential to the strength of the finished work.
There's a journalism term for part of a headline -- a kicker.
One reference has a meaning but nothing about an origin: "a hidden complication or surprising twist; (hence) a punch line or striking conclusion." From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 2, H-O, by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1997."
A second reference has something that might be a clue to its origin. Under "kick" it has "...in phrr 'I'll be kicked (by a mule)'...exclamation of surprise." From "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume III by Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (1996, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England).