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The meaning and origin of the expression: A bunch of fives

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A bunch of fives

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Meaning

A fist. The fives are the five fingers.

Origin

The phrase appears in print in 1825, in Charles Westmacott's The English Spy:

"With their bunch of fives."

A bunch of fivesIt is also reported as appearing, slightly earlier, in Boxiana by Pierce Egan, 1821. Boxiana is a classic work on boxing history and folklore, and just the place to look for such a reference. It isn't easy to obtain copies of it these days, so that hasn't been confirmed here as yet.