Discussion in 'English Only' started by Sheriff, Dec 23, 2005.
Can anyone explain to me the meaning of "to win ugly"?
I've seen to describe a win in a game that was brutal, error-ridden, down-and-dirty, marked by incompetence of the players. Far from an ideal way to win, but a legal win all the same. The literal meaning is very close: win in an ugly, not a beautiful, graceful way.
Winning in an ugly style, often by using dirty tricks, either formally still within the (written or unwritten) rules, but neglecting them in spirit or outright breaking them and getting away with it, I'd guess.
He won ugly, but he won.
I think James Stephens's "error-ridden" gets at the heart of it much more than the comments about brutal or "dirty" play. Sliding into home plate with your cleats poised as weapons and taking the catcher out at the knees-- as dirty as it gets, but the winning run it scores in no way evokes the comment "they won ugly."
To win ugly is to back into a victory through mistakes made by the other team-- but most often bad officiating is an ingredient. A touchdown gets called back because the sideline ref says a foot came down out of bounds as the ball was caught-- yeah, the pass defender's foot, as belated replays show, well after the ball on the next play had already been snapped. On that play, the quarterback of the team that had been robbed of a touchdown gets sacked just as he's poised to throw the ball. Was his arm in forward motion? Well, yes and no, depending on who's judging the replay tape-- the officials call it a fumble, and the lowest-rated center in the League's "recovery" of it stands, as does his lumbering into the end zone for a touchdown the offensive linebackers only went through the motions of trying to stop because they thought the ball had been blown dead.
No, it was a fan in the stands with a whistle-sounding horn, the kind that run on an aerosol can and startle the bejeezus out of everyone in the vicinity-- what fun! By a series of such plays does a team win ugly-- by that one slapstick-comedy touchdown, set up by a blatantly bad call.
I'm pleased you cleared this up.
I would have thought, opening the eyebrow of an opponent in a boxing match through a headbutt (deliberate or accidental) which goes unnoticed by the referee and to then continue to target said eyebrow for several rounds till the other fellow can’t see any longer would constitute an ugly win because of the method.
Well, you bring up an interesting point. A fight stopped because of a head butt can definitely be won ugly. But not because the tactic is dirty fighting.
In fact if it's far more likely to be described that way if the butt was accidental, especially if a victory wasn't awarded. If it was deliberate, the butter would have to be disqualified, and the victim would have to be the better fighter-- he won ugly because he was robbed of a chance to show what he could do, and enhance his shot at the title bout.
Say the inferior fighter punched himself out by the end of the fifth round-- young and lacking pacing skills, he came out in a real flurry, like he knew a quick knockout was his best hope of fluking out. The older fighter rope-a-dopes him and takes advantage of the situation-- but of course you don't win rounds by covering up and waiting for the other guy to shoot his wad.
So at the end of the fifth, when an accidental head butt causes the ref to end the fight, it turns out the mediocre fighter was ahead three rounds to two on two of the judges' cards. He wins ugly because he can hardly hold his arms up and would not have been worth a damn through the next seven rounds of the fight. Plus, it was a split decision.
When the announcer gives the result, both fighters look shocked-- the winner is still huffing and puffing and knuckledragging, and the ref has to prop up his arm in victory, cause the muscles are limp rubber bands at this point. Ugly way to win.
Good Lord! This "win ugly" is a difficult one, as I can see, but to summarize I would leave as to win in spite of errors and/or incompetence, in an ungraceful manner.
I think the key distinction is between "to win ugly" and "to win dirty".
FFB is dead on... ugly is just not estheticsally pleasing and inept.
If the headbutt was accidental, then its an ugly win.
If the headbutt was intentional, then it was a dirty win.
Note that the head-butter is disqualified if it's ruled intentional. If it wasn't called that way, but you saw it with your own eyes and the guy who did the deliberate headbutting won on points-- then he fought dirty and stole the fight. And you're also right that it wasn't won ugly. But I'd be tempted to coin a phrase and say it was lost that way.
I take you word for it, but for the fun of it and to explain a bit further why I came to choose this example:
Some boxers like to charge in head first, some of them consciously taking into account the potential benefit of this in terms of semi-accidental headbutting. This is considered bad ring manners by some others.
So there is an increased chance of scoring an accidental headbutt (or going for a deliberate one if that’s what it takes to win – dirty trick, dirty win if it goes unnoticed). If such a headbutt happens and if it does cause a cut, this would be exploited systematically. Not necessarily a downwright dirty strategy, I'd say, but if such a strategy works out, I would have been tempted to call it an ugly way to win.
(The fight also usually looks ugly to many because of the brawling and the blood.)
I understand your reasoning, but the term ugly in "win ugly" is not so literal. The concept has more to do with mishap and the circumstantially grotesque. Fans whose teams win ugly sometimes enjoy the hilarity of it. Fans of the Chicago Bears learn to take winning ugly in stride with a "what other way is there?" attitude.
Hey how about them ugly old bruins this year? They seem to be stumbling their bassackwards way right into the playoffs.
I see I really misinterpreted the expression when I came across it in the past. Thanks.
I thought of "win ugly" as a scrappy win, a very close victory
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