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Have a ringside seat

  • Have a ringside seat is an idiom that dates to the 1800s. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, 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 like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. 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; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom have a ringside seat, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.


     

    The idiom have a ringside seat means to have a good view of something, to have an excellent vantage point from which to monitor a situation or observe a performance. The idiom have a ringside seat is derived from the sport of boxing, in which the best spectator seats are the ones that are the closest to the action in the boxing ring, or are located ringside. The expression came into use in a literal sense in the mid-1800s but soon came to be used in a figurative sense. Related phrases are has a ringside seat, had a ringside seat, having a ringside seat.

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    Examples

    Boyle will have a ringside seat to the two-year, $18 million expansion and overhaul the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has planned to straighten out the traffic nightmares known for backups from the Route 115 junction to the Brodheadsville Diner. (The Pocono Record)

    Still in the mix but with not enough horse under him aboard Honor A.P., Hall of Fame jockey Smith, who had previously ridden Authentic, would have a ringside seat to watch his former mount dominate and beat Tiz The Law for the win. (Forbes Magazine)

    I’m glad that I still have a ringside seat to watch the scientific process in action and that there will be many problems for budding geoscientists to work on for a long time. (The Eureka Times-Standard)


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