Posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 11, 2007
In Reply to: Swing for him posted by ESC on January 10, 2007
: : : Where did the phrase "swing for him" orginate.
: : : Is it to kill him and then swing at the end of a rope or
: : : swing an arm to punch him.
: : I don't know where it originated and, for a colloquial phrase like this one, you aren't ever likely to find out. The meaning is well-known though - at least here in the UK - and that's the second of your two suggestions.
: "Take a swing at him" means try to hit him. "You'll swing for that" means you'll be put to death by hanging.
I second ESC. As usual, context is all. In a historical context - i.e. when the death penalty still existed in the UK - "swing for him" certainly could mean "be hanged for his sake, or on his account", as for example "I don't care, I'll throttle that so-and-so, even if I swing for him". (VSD)