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"the real kicker"

Posted by Jonathan on July 10, 2006

In Reply to: "the real kicker" posted by ESC on July 08, 2006

: : Where did the phrase "the real kicker" as in the "real kicker of the story is [_______]" originate and why is that phrase used to make the point. Thanks. Jonathan

: Journalism major here. This calls to mind the name for a part of a headline. Googling, I found that other meanings of "kicker" have been added since my j-school days. However, I believe this one may be an origin. I could be wrong. (!!!!)Someone will have to determine which use came first.

: KICKER, a piece of additional information printed as an accompaniment to a news headline. It is a subordinate clause and comes in present tense. The point size is usually smaller and is placed on top of the headline. When it is placed under the headline it is called a rider. It is a term common with journalists, especially sub editors.

: Suspect in custody

: Another site says a "kicker" is when the first few lines of the story (the lead) are set in big type. You'll see that in magazines a lot.

Thanks a lot ESC. I have been wondering about this one for several years, ever since someone at work said they had never heard the term used when being told a story. In that context, it is sort of a surprise or "you won't believe this" ending to the story. I always thought it had something to do with the surprise or disbelief one has when they are kicked by a horse or mule. Your explanations make sense as an origin for the phrase, which I find myself using several times a year and hear others say several times a year. Jonathan