Win Hands Down

Meanings of “Win Hands Down”

The phrase “win hands down” means to achieve or win something very easily, or obtain by putting less effort.

Origin of “Win Hands Down”

The phrase “win hands down” originated in the 19th century from ‘Pips’ Lyrics and Lays, published in 1867, where it is stated as: “There were good horses in those days, as he can well recall, But Barker upon Elepoo, hands down, shot by them all.”

Later, in the 20th century, the phrase began to be used in figurative terms, implying its denotative and connotative meanings in the sense of winning after which ‘win’ became its integral part.

Examples from Literature

Example #1

Win Hands Down by Armored Saint

“With boots on ground
Win hands down
A giant sound
Win hands down
Just maintain
Then drop the reins
And place my crown
Win hands down.”

The above stanza sheds light on the emotions of the singer about winning.  He is of the view if preparations are complete in military skirmishes with boots on the ground and the bugle sounds victory, it becomes easy to win. However, it comes easily with incessant efforts, which the singer equates with the raindrops. The phrase has been repeated in this stanza to show it as a refrain.

Example #2

Euterpe, Muse of Music by Derek Malpass

“Euterpe, you win hands down.”
“Poet, don’t be sad, you didn’t do so bad,
Your poem was accurate and true.
There is no win or lose,
In discussion with a muse,
For be it music or be it rhyme,
Art wins out every time.

Now, I really must depart,
But poet let me say, it was a happy day,
Erato suggested I must visit.
Although you’re no musician,
It was a good decision, Thus, I thank you as I go,
Adieu, we’ll meet again I know.”

This poem describes the speaker’s meeting with Euterpe, the muse of music, with a poet, and then with Erato, another muse of music and dance. In the first stanza, Derek talks to Euterpe and the poet simultaneously. They discuss the art of music, the poets that compose lyrics to sing, and the composers that give magical touches to those lyrics. While talking about the mesmerizing compositions, the speaker asks the poet that he should not feel sad, adding to the muses, poetry is also an art and has the same value. In the second stanza, after a healthy discussion about art and music with the poet, the speaker departs saying adieu. To him, no matter the poetry is for the music, or the rhyme, it is the art that supersedes everything.

Example #3

Good Guys by Shirley Ann Wood

“I’d like to think the Good Guys always win
But very seldom is true-mostly I have watched all of you
The bad guys win hands down
The Good Guys? They become the fools
The looser, perhaps clowns,
Yeah bad guys-I mean all of you
You’re most adapt at what you do
And you do it very well
Destroying all that’s fine and good
Like raging hounds of hell
And in this evil holocaust
So many innocents are lost, and who is there to care?”

This stanza provides us a fair understanding of good and bad guys and the consequences of their actions. The speaker sadly narrates that good people always face exploitation. Despite possessing good qualities, they become fools in the hands of cunning, bad guys. Their innocence becomes a joyous sport for others, who use their goodness and complete their missions without putting in a lot of effort. Unfortunately, the damage done to the innocents remains unnoticed and unheard. The phrase has been used as a metaphor for playing tricks with others.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1 “Our team was not provided a ground for practice; therefore, the other team won hands down.”

Example #2: “If the election had been free of corruption, the Democratic Party would have won hands down.”

Example #3: “While playing with my sister, I lost several games which I should have won hands down.”

Example #4: “In the last meeting, the board selected the best players for the upcoming cricket test series. They were provided with the best trainers and coach for the practice but despite burning midnight oil, the other team won the series hands down.”

Example #5: “Like many other Participants, Emma worked hard to win the debate competition but she could not attend the event due to bad health. Thus, her friend, Sara, won hands down.”