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Take a bath

  • Take a bath is an idiom that has been in use for decades. 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 common in American slang or British slang, 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 common idiom take a bath, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

     

    To take a bath means to sustain a large financial loss; to come out on the losing end of a financial investment; to be pushed to bankruptcy. The expression take a bath came into use in gambling circles around the 1920s and is an extension of the idiom, to be cleaned out. If one is cleaned out, one is divested of all one’s money. The phrase take a bath plays on this image of becoming clean. Related phrases are takes a bath, took a bath, has taken a bath, taking a bath. Of course, take a bath is also used in a literal sense to mean to bathe in a bathtub.

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    Examples

    One prop that the books did take a bath on was Rob Gronkowski to score the first touchdown, which paid 16-1 at the Westgate. Bogdanovich said William Hill lost six figures on it when the tight end hauled in an 8-yard TD pass from Brady to give Tampa a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    “I am taking a bath because of his ignorant anti-vax stance and Amalie’s lack of any real safety precautions,” Newhouse said. (Tampa Bay Times)

    Is Rodgers willing to take a financial bath to potentially shoot his way out of Green Bay? (Sports Illustrated)


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