Posted by Bruce Kahl on June 30, 2001
In Reply to: Take a bath posted by Patty on June 30, 2001
: : : : The phrase "we really took a bath on that" seems pretty strange to me. It means we lost out, or came out with the short end of the deal. But why is it said the way it is?
: : : : mortimer
: : : It's just a theory, but one of our culture's deepest fears is of The Flood. You find flood mythology in almost every human culture: we are helpless against the deluge. You might get rained on if you lose... but if you're devastated, you really take a bath.
: : The Dictionary of American Slang defines "take a bath" as "to go into bankruptcy" without saying anything about origins. The phrase has been used for financial losses short of bankruptcy for a long time, although the dict. doesn't say so.
: What about the phrase "I got soaked", meaning charged too much? Or maybe it can mean "I got cheated" and paid too much? But I don't know where this metaphor (soaked) came from. - Patty
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms claims that his idiom, which originated in gambling, transfers washing oneself in a bathtub to being "cleaned out" financially.