Go to the mat and take it to the mat

Go to the mat and take it to the mat are different forms of the same idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beating around the bush, ballpark figure, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, Achilles heel, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, a dime a dozen, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the definition of the phrases go to the mat and take it to the mat, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Go to the mat and take it to the mat mean to fight to the bitter end, to continue to struggle until one is victorious or one is defeated. When you go to the mat or take it to the mat, you commit to putting all of your effort behind an endeavor. The verb phrase go to the mat and the verb phrase take it to the mat are often used figuratively in informal business English, as a metaphor for taking on a hard fight with all of one’s effort. The implication is that the speaker will not quit, no matter how difficult the fight becomes. There are not exact synonyms for these idioms that may be found in a thesaurus. The expressions go to the mat and take it to the mat came into use around the turn of the twentieth century, and are derived from the sport of wrestling. In wrestling, the contestants compete while standing on a mat. During a bout, there is a period of grappling and positioning. However, the contest is not won until the opponents fall to the mat, and one of them is pinned. Related terms are goes to the mat, went to the mat, going to the mat, takes it to the mat, took it to the mat, taking it to the mat. The phrase go to the mat is used much more frequently than the phrase take it to the mat.


“We are willing to go to the mat, whether it’s in small ways or large ways,” he said. (Vida en el Valle)

“As long as he was willing to go to the mat for him, it fortified probably people up here, too,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the chamber’s third-ranking Republican leader. (The Washington Post)

“I think it is an affront to our authority that we’re even having this conversation, and as for myself, I’m ready to take it to the mat.” (The Carlsbad Current Argus)

They’re even-tempered and politically correct much of the time, but if PR people get all riled up and mobilize, you can bet they’ll take it to the mat. (The Pagosa Daily Post)

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