Posted by Pamela on October 26, 2007
In Reply to: Lay down mesire posted by Bob on October 26, 2007
: : The phrase "a lay down mesire" is missing from these archives. It means that something is a certainty to happen, and is common in Australia/New Zealand slang. e.g. "This election is a lay-down mesire for the Groovy Party". Its origins are in the card game 500. In normal play the idea is to win a number of tricks bid (or more). But if a player has a very poor hand, they can opt to bid to lose every trick in the hand ("mesire" bid), and further if they lay their cards on the table it is an "open mesire" or "lay down mesire", and often carries enough points that the game can be won in a single hand.
: I can't find it in the dictionary: any clue as to etymology? How is it pronounced?
From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misere
Misere or Misère (from the French word meaning "poverty") is a bid in various card games, particularly the game 500. The word is first recorded in this sense in the rules for the game "Boston" in the early 19th century.
A player who bids Misere undertakes to win no tricks at all in the round to be played. A Misere bid usually indicates an extremely poor hand, hence the name. An Open or Lay Down Misere is a 500 bid where the player is so sure of losing every trick that they undertake to do so with their cards placed face-up on the table. Consequently, 'Lay Down Misere' is Australian gambling slang for a "dead cert"; a predicted easy victory.
I confess that I had never heard the term, which is odd since there are many news stories and blogs where it has been used, including ABC online which I read. From a couple of days ago:
"Gladstone is the biggest centre in the newly created seat of Flynn which the Nationals are tipped to win, but Mr Vaile says he is taking nothing for granted. "We have never considered it a lay down misere seat. We've always considered that this was going to be a hard battle," he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/15/2060183.htm How is it pronounced, I wonder? "misery"? "me-sur"? I'll keep my ears peeled. Pamela