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Take it in the shorts

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 20, 2008 at 15:57

In Reply to: Take it in the shorts posted by MJ on June 20, 2008 at 12:47:

: What does the phrase, "take it in the shorts" mean?

Generally it means to take a big financial loss, often but not necessarily with an implication of an unexpected or unjust financial hit. The phrase was quickly adopted by sportswriters, who are always on the lookout for colorful jargon. Its use has been expanded to include its application to almost any situation in which someone takes a hit.

The actual words, "in the shorts," suggests that it may be a euphemism of a sort, a substitute for a stronger or more vulgar expression. The general meaning could be conveyed by expressions like "get screwed" or "get reamed," but at least one other insinuation comes to mind. If a man takes it in the shorts head on, he is likely to start writhing in pain. And generally the phrase suggests painful financial or other hits.

Thus when the phrase is used for women "taking it in the shorts" (as it sometimes is) it sounds incongruous and incorrect.

I don't know much if anything about the evolution of the use of this phrase, so consider my explanation pure speculation.