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Tail Between the Legs

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 06, 2006

In Reply to: Tail Between the Legs posted by Janessa on April 06, 2006

: I need to find the orgin of these phrases:
: Tail Between the Legs
: It Will Be An Uphill Battle

- "Tail between the legs" describes the body language of a dog that has been defeated in an encounter with a stonger dog - it runs or slinks off with its tail between its legs. It is a very old metaphor, based on common observation, and there's no way of knowing who said it first.

- In pre-modern warfare, when armies fought hand-to-hand, you had an advantage if you could charge downhill at your enemy, as the slope would give your charge extra impetus. If on the other hand it was your enemy who was at the top of the hill, you had to "fight an uphill battle" which was much harder. Again, this is a common metaphor and nobody knows who first used it.