Posted by ESC on September 13, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Hit The Skids posted by David FG on September 13, 2004
: : Used as a noun, a skid is a group of planks used to support something.
: : Used as a verb, to skid is to fail to grip the roadway.
: : Any of you OEDers out there have an explanation as to why "hit the skids" means a losing streak?
: I think (with not too much confidence) that this is a US expression. 'Skid Row' is a metaphor for being destitute (don't know why) so I assume 'hitting the skids' might derive from this. Again, I stand to be corrected.
HIT THE SKIDS - Also "on the skids." One reference says these expressions relate to 'Skid Row,' a 1920s term for the center for down-and-outers, alcoholics, tramps and other poor and homeless people. It comes from ".late 19C logging jargon 'skid road,' a grassed track over which logs were hauled towards the river that would float them down to the sawmill: c1915 the term was extended into sl. to mean that part of town where loggers spent their free time or lived when they were out of work. It was the latter meaning, with its added implication of a man, rather than a log, who was 'skidding downhill' economically that dominated the usage in the 1930s when 'skid road' became 'skid row'." "Cassell's Dictionary of Slang" by Jonathon Green (Wellington House, London, 1998).