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Them's the breaks

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Shu_Fen, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Shu_Fen Junior Member

    Cantonese / Hong Kong, China
    It's an American slang but in which state(s) use(s) it the most? Its original? Etymology? Evolution? Meaning? Usage? Ah, no clue at all. A hillbilly expression?

    Tks & rgds
    SF
    ----
     
  2. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    People in The Southern region use this. Maybe Georgia I guess, uses it a lot. "Them's the breaks" There are the brakes
     
  3. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    It means, "That's the way the cookie crumbles." "Oh well, too bad." Also frequently written (for humor), "Dem's da breaks." which makes me think it's from the New York area.
     
  4. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    What!?! I've never heard of that before! Oh wow, I need to brush up on my sayings. From NY you say?
     
  5. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    Very colloquial, and probably used less these days than in the past. I only say NY because of the stereotypical (phonetic) dese, dems, dose of "da Bronx" and Brooklyn. I really don't know its origins for sure.
     
  6. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    "Them's the breaks" also gets used in Ohio. You can get a good break, or a bad break, but as Lsp said, that's the way the cookie crumbles. It probably is used more often when something bad has happened.

    :p A couple months ago, one of the local auto repair shops had a sign that read,
    "If you can't stop, them's the brakes ~ call us!" :p

    Sharon.:)
     
  7. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hi Shu_Fen;
    It just is not said in the U.S...It is said in Canada as well...
    Just like the others have said..It is said with a D.."Dems the breaks"
    te gato;)
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    I've always heard the expression as "That's the breaks", never "Them's" or "Dem's".

    I agree with lsp that it is not used as much anymore as it was in the past.
     
  9. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    To be honest, I usually hear (among friends):

    S--- happens…

    Another one, guaranteed to be safe: "It is what it is…" :)
     
  10. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    Yes that is more common than this "Them's the Breaks" lol
     
  11. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    We use "That's life".
     
  12. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hello;

    We say that also--S**T happens--or--Lifes a B**ch...Funny how every saying like that starts off "nice" and ends up being a swear...:rolleyes:
    te gato;)
     
  13. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Or [shrugging your shoulders]: "Whacha gonna do…" :)
     
  14. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    Similar to what gaer said "What can you do about it?" For example:
    "I broke up with my girlfriend because she cheated on me and had 17 kids, but hey, what can you do about it?" lol
     
  15. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    My guess as to the etymology of this phrase is that it comes from the world of pool. But a quick Google turns up at least one site that thinks it comes from the world of surfing. Does anyone have a better (or more interesting) guess?
     
  16. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Or even shorter: "But what can you do?"
     
  17. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    It makes sense in pool. "He got a bad break." :)
     
  18. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hello all;

    I would..In my opinion..agree that it has to do with pool...Make a bad break..and your opponent will clean the table!!

    te gato;)
     
  19. leakybeak New Member

    English-London
    hello.

    it might sound silly, but i always imagined that 'the breaks' was just breakdown shortened. i.e. 'thats the breakdown' which fits for meaning as 'is it is what it is' or any of the others.

    'what a late reply' you might think.
     
  20. Cathy Rose Senior Member

    Northeast USA
    United States English
    We use "Oh well" a lot. It loses something in the writing because there's a certain way to say it. Those of you familiar with its use as a synonym for "them's the breaks" will know what I mean.
     
  21. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I'd agree but add that more likely from "da Bronx" or maybe "da guy's from Brooklyn", but definitely from da New Yawk area.
     
  22. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    You could hear Them's the brakes in England too. I think the usage is widespread, though not part of the standard language.

    The Oxford English Dictionary (meaning B3 of the personal pronoun them) gives this example from Thackeray's Vanity Fair (1847): The sooner it is done the better, Mr. Osborne; them's my sentiments. This seems to have begun a literary tradition of using the phrase Them's my sentiments - for example, in EM Foster's A passage to India (1924): We're out here to do justice and keep the peace. Them's my sentiments.

    This structure is not to be recommended in formal writing (without quotation marks!)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  23. Jack79 Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Australian English
    Them's the breaks is also used in Australia, but not by the younger generations.
     
  24. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I don't think my post was very clear. I meant you could well hear Them's... as an alternative to Those are... in England, so if you were showing someone how to operate a motor car you might say Them's the brakes meaning You stop the car by standing on those pedals. I can't remember ever hearing Them's the breaks meaning Oh well... as Cathy suggested.
     

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