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Unknown, 1827 US,[1] presumably fanciful variant of sock (to hit); compare contemporary fanciful American coinages.[1][2][3]

Various speculative etymologies have been suggested,[3] such as corruption of doxology, due to this occurring at the end of church worship, hence “finality”.[2][4]


sockdolager (plural sockdolagers)

  1. (US, slang, dated) A hard hit, a knockout or finishing blow, or conclusive argument.
  2. (US, slang, dated) Something large or otherwise exceptional; a whopper.
    • 1953, Ray Bradbury, The Murderer:
      Hey, Al, thought I'd call you from the locker room out here at Green Hills. Just made a sockdolager hole in one! A hole in one, Al! (etc.)
  3. (US, fishing) A combination of two hooks which close upon each other, by means of a spring, as soon as the fish bites.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America, by David K. Barnhart, Allan A. Metcalf, “1827 sockdolager”, p. 127
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael Quinion (created 17 October 1998, last updated 20 April 2006), “Sockdolager”, in World Wide Words.
  3. 3.0 3.1 14 American English Abroad, Richard W. Bailey, 14.1 Introduction, pp. 456–458, in The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume 6, 1992
  4. ^ Dictionary of Americanisms (1848), by John Russell Bartlett