double down

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rafeo, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. rafeo Member

    Dear friends:

    I would like to know the meaning of the term "double down", but other than that applicable to the blackjack game. Everywhere appears the term, referred or related to blackjack.

    By instance, I´m trying to translate the following paragraph:
    "The leader is doubling down on his attempt to do what no other power ever has: Defeat the insurgency and leave behind a stable and legitimate administratioin."


  2. Aidanriley

    Aidanriley Senior Member

    SD, California
    I would understand it to mean he is going to try twice as hard.
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I don't know the answer to rafeo's question; but in case it's helpful, this Newsweek article appears to be the source, and the original version of rafeo's quote (here with the sentences before and after) is evidently:
    (Just out of interest - why did you change the quote, rafeo?)

    LATER EDIT: I've just found this definition in the OED (my underlining): intr. Pontoon (Blackjack). to double down: to double the bet after one has seen the initial cards, with the requirement that one and only one additional card be drawn. Also in extended use: to engage in risky behaviour, esp. when one is already in a dangerous situation.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  4. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong

    Background: A college student claimed that he was falsely accused of date raping a dormmate the other night when they were both drunk in her room. His story has sparked off quite a discussion with posters offering some advice on the assumption that the student has been telling the truth. This poster advises against direct confrontation with the girl because everything the student said directly to the girl would be used against him in court.

    I guess "doubt down on the lies" here could be replaced with "compound the lies", is it correct? Thanks~
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    To be honest, I don't know, redgiant - though your suggestion looks plausible to me.

    Hopefully, some AmE-speakers will come along:).
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    To "double down" means to "commit oneself even further, even though one is already in a risky situation."

    Sometimes a liar won't come clean when confronted with evidence of his/her lies; he/she will just lie more and more. This would be a case of committing oneself even more deeply to a risky position.

    This is a pretty common phrase in American English. It does in fact come from blackjack, where doubling down is a risky but potentially profitable move.
  7. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thanks Loob and lucas~ I guess "double down" takes the preposition "on", as in "they just double down on their lies".
  8. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    Yes, that would generally be the case, although double down can be used without an object, and then would need no preposition at all.
  9. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    You can double down "on something," or just double down intransitively when the situation is implied.

    ... as pwmeek has stated!

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