Posted by Pamela on June 17, 2007
In Reply to: Got the wood on you posted by Josie on June 15, 2007
: Hi there. An Australian saying I'm wondering about is "They've got the wood on you" or "We've got the wood on them", meaning to have an advantage over someone, usually in sport. But I have no idea where it comes from. I'd love to find out.
I hadn't heard this, but when I searched, it is certainly widely-used in sports reporting and (more recently) in the financial pages. I can't find information on the origin, although the meaning (which you already know) is in two handy places: Dictionary.com under "wood" -Idioms 15. have the wood on, Australian Slang. to have an advantage over or have information that can be used against someone. And in the Concise Australian Oxford "have the wood on" colloq. have an advantage over. Perhaps it has migrated from golf? Or could it be related to the other meaning of "have a wood on" (an erection). Pamela