You have to take your lumps on this one

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James Brandon

Senior Member
English + French - UK
I am intrigued by the expression: "You have to take your lumps on this one."

I have come across it here:-
The domain name hark.com is for sale

The explanation given here is:-

"Endure bumps and hits, suffer through injuries: To play hockey, you have to learn to take your lumps."
Idioms: take up the slack -- take your pick

The web site above links the expression to the game of hockey. I have read the expression is AE in origin and now considered old-fashioned.

Insight welcome. Thanks.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I agree that "you have to take your lumps" sounds somewhat old-fashioned, James Brandon. I'll assume that you know it means "you'll have to take a beating/get used to being hurt". If somebody decides to "take his lumps" with something, that person has resolved to undergo some pain.

    That's all I can come up with by way of "insight" into this phrase.
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Ok, that is interesting. I was wondering whether there is a direct link to the game of (ice) hockey, but I suppose it could relate to other sports (and other pursuits), and, metaphorically, to life in general.

    Thanks
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Ok, that is interesting. I was wondering whether there is a direct link to the game of (ice) hockey, but I suppose it could relate to other sports (and other pursuits), and, metaphorically, to life in general.

    Thanks
    Your ideas on this topic sound fine to me, James. Your writers have definitely used the phrase in text about hockey, a rough sport in which players can expect to collect a few lumps. The phrase is also used metaphorically to describe the difficulties and pains of life in general.
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Thanks. Meaning and use are pretty clear.

    I was wondering whether the expression is indeed rare or still widely used in the US. I cannot say I was familiar with it.

    The quotes I have found on line all seem recent and linked, for some, to popular culture: it does not give the impression that the expression is particularly rare or obsolete. Then again, what I am saying here is not scientific...
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't think it's old-fashioned. And as Owlman said, it's certainly not limited to ice hockey, or sports in general: "I really took my lumps at work today over that mistake I made yesterday."
     
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