Win hands down

Posted by ESC on April 15, 2000

In Reply to: Can't find result of listed phrase posted by Jeanne Myers on April 15, 2000

: The alphabetic site lists the phrase "winning hands down," but I'm not able to find the discussion of its origin.

I couldn't find exactly what you meant. But here's what I have on the phrase:

"WIN HANDS DOWN -- A jockey who wins a race 'hands down' is so far ahead of the field that he doesn't have to flick the reins to urge his horse forward and crosses the finish line with his hands down, letting up on the reins. From racetrack slang toward the end of the last century the metaphor 'to win hands down' passed into general use for any easy, effortless victory, a walkover." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).