We just got our head handed to us

中国日报网 2016-01-29 11:27



We just got our head handed to us

Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: “We just got our head handed to us by a very good team that played very good on their home floor.” Got our head handed to us? What does that mean?

My comments:

The speaker means to say that his team suffered a bad defeat, an embarrassing one in which they were thoroughly outplayed by the home team.

Literally, they all got beheaded because only after that could someone hand their head, or rather heads back to them.

The speaker means what he says metaphorically, of course. If he were decapitated, he wouldn’t be able to talk but anyways, to say you’ve got your head handed to you is one way of saying that you suffered a total defeat, either in battle, a game, a political debate or any other competition.

It’s the same to say you’ve got killed by the opposition – that, too, will give a feeling of how thorough and complete the loss (and your subsequent suffering) is.

It’s the same as to say that you’ve got clobbered, trounced, destroyed, slaughtered – all actual expressions sportswriters use to describe a one-sided contest, in which the loser had no chance.

To use a similar expression, you’ve got your rear end kicked and that is that.

Anyway, to get one’s head handed to one is an expression which may find its way all the way back to the story of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, in a biblical revenge saga. Wikipedia explains:

According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod, who was tetrarch, or sub-king, of Galilee under the Roman Empire, had imprisoned John the Baptist because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis) and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I. On Herod’s birthday, Herodias’s daughter (whom Josephus identifies as Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When the daughter asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison.

All right?

All right, media examples:

1. Hawaii (6-9) returned to Gym 1 yesterday, the first home practice in nearly two weeks. The Warriors went 2-2 on their nine-day road trip, downing Pacific twice but losing at Stanford twice.

The first night against the Cardinal went five, with the Warriors coming up short for the third time in five five-game matches. The second night, Hawaii went down in three “and we had our heads handed to us on a platter,” Warriors senior co-captain Jake Schkud said.

“We had a meltdown as a team and Stanford came out and took it to us. I don’t know if it had to do with us playing three games in four nights, but overall we simply got outplayed.”

- Warriors look for payback against Loyola-Chicago, Star-Bulletin.com, March 4, 2008.

2. Steve Jobs hated Flash. Hated it. And not just a little bit.

“Flash is a spaghetti-ball piece of technology that has lousy performance and really bad security problems,” he said, according to biographer Walter Isaacson in his book published earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Adobe announced it will no longer be developing Flash, its media-player tool, for mobile devices. More than a few bloggers have noted the news would have been vindication for the late Apple co-founder, who felt betrayed by Adobe more than a decade ago.

According to the biography, Jobs’ longstanding animus toward Adobe helped form his vision for Apple’s tightly controlled mobile environment.

In 1999, he was flatly denied when he asked Adobe to create a version of its popular Adobe Premiere digital-graphics software for the Mac. Adobe also wouldn’t rewrite Photoshop for the Mac’s operating system, even though Macs were popular with designers.

“My primary insight when we were screwed by Adobe in 1999 was that we shouldn’t get into any business where we didn’t control both the hardware and the software, otherwise we’d get our head handed to us,” Jobs said, according to Isaacson.

- Did Steve Jobs kill Adobe Flash? CNN.com, November 9, 2011.

3. We have seen the future of the GOP and Jeb Bush ain’t it.

Jeb got his head handed to him by Marco Rubio in the third GOP debate. Bush, the heavily-funded establishment choice for president, is still stumbling around, trying to figure out what happened.

Rubio did it honestly, efficiently and respectfully. It was like a mercy killing. Dare I say it? The boy was in touch with his inner Reagan.

Rubio even finished with a nod to Reagan’s 11th commandment: Speak no evil against another Republican. Rubio says he’s not running against the other candidates, he’s running for president. Like a golfer just playing against the course.

Rubio is a young ’un. But he’s got skills, energy and passion. And he took down his mentor, Jeb, like a sick old dog that needed to be put out of its misery.

- ‘Reagan-esque’ Marco Rubio mercy kills Jeb Bush campaign, by J.D. Crowe, AL.com, October 30, 2015.


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.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

上一篇 : Theater of the absurd?
下一篇 : High wire act



















关于我们 | 联系方式 | 招聘信息

Copyright by chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved. None of this material may be used for any commercial or public use. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 版权声明:本网站所刊登的中国日报网英语点津内容,版权属中国日报网所有,未经协议授权,禁止下载使用。 欢迎愿意与本网站合作的单位或个人与我们联系。



Email: languagetips@chinadaily.com.cn