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Take it on the chin

[ 2009-11-03 14:47]     字号 [] [] []  
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Take it on the chin

Reader question:

Please explain “take it on the chin” in the following sentences: “Wall Street took it on the chin again today. The Dow closed down more than 400 points.”

My comments:

Literally it means Wall Street took a beating. In other words it suffered a setback – the Dow Jones index lost more than 400 points, as the next sentence explains.

“Take it on the chin” is a phrase from boxing. Take “it” on the chin – “it” represents a blow as two boxers repeatedly hit each other on the head in order to knock the other out.

The chin, of course, is the front part of your face below the mouth, round your jaws, which are areas that move when you eat.

What happens when a boxer takes a blow to the chin? Well, at least two phrases happen (^_^), if, that is, you can bear with the pain that comes with it without a murmur. One is, they “keep their chin up”, meaning they keep fighting with high spirit. The other phrase of course is “take it on the chin”. Both phrases describe the boxer’s refusal to allow themselves to be affected by temporary setbacks.

Other than boxing, when we describe someone as being able to “take it on the chin” and remain “chin up”, we usually mean to say they are able to bear with defeat, difficulty, criticism, abuse, etc and get on with what they have been doing undeterred.

In other words, they grit their teeth – another phrase to remember – and move on as though nothing happened.

Now more examples, which will give you a better idea of how to “take it on the chin” and where:

1. All About Jazz: Unfortunately, there are those who don’t take jazz seriously at all. When Clifford Brown was already making records and courting his wife-to-be who was a college student, she told him his playing wasn’t really serious music. She said, “I’ll take you over to my music professor’s home, and he’ll show you what real music is about.” When they got there, the professor asked her to introduce her friend. She said, “This is Clifford Brown.” The professor nearly fainted, and said, “My God, you’re one of the greatest trumpet players who ever lived! I listen to your records all the time!” So the lady really took it on the chin, but she ended up marrying Brown anyway.

Vic Juris: Isn’t that something! You know, people don’t realize how young these guys were. Clifford Brown died when he was only 26 years old. It’s amazing how poised and graceful these guys really were. I’m 55 now, and just beginning to realize how young these incredible players were.

- Vic Juris: Tension and Release, July 28, 2009, AllAboutJazz.com.

2. Everton have had a difficult start to the season, with Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Phil Neville among the players to have suffered significant injuries, and the club are currently 14th in the table. Moyes remains optimistic that a home victory against Aston Villa on Saturday could turn things around, though, after draws against Wolves and Stoke in their previous games at Goodison Park.

“We’re okay - obviously we’re sore and disappointed that we didn’t do better in the games,” Moyes said. “I think there were some mitigating circumstances in it, but we don't hide behind excuses here. We take it on the chin and we get on with it.

- David Moyes explains silent protest after cup defeat, SoccerNet.com, October 30, 2009.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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