take the count

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take the count (third-person singular simple present takes the count, present participle taking the count, simple past took the count, past participle taken the count)

  1. (boxing) To be knocked out.
  2. (boxing) To take to opportunity to rest briefly after being knocked down but before being counted out by the referee.
    • 1916 December 19, Cozzone, Chris; Boggio, Jim, quoting Rocky Mountain News, Fighter is Killed at National Club by Blow on Head, 2013, quoted in Boxing in New Mexico, 1868-1940, →ISBN, page 184:
      Apparently ignorant of the rules of the ring which permit a fighter knocked to the floor to take the count of nine, he staggered to his feet, only to be met with another blow before he could collect his senses sufficiently to 'cover?'
    • 2011, Bodner, Allen, quoting Kronowitz, Herbie, When Boxing Was a Jewish Sport, SUNY Press, →ISBN, page 143:
      But if a boxer is knocked down, he can always take an 'eight' count and not get up after two or three seconds. Those extra five or six seconds give you a chance to clear your head. To try to gather your reflexes, come to yourself. A friend of mine, Ruby Kessler in Ebbets Field, we fought in the same show that night. And Pete Scanlon dropped 'im. And Ruby jumped right up, and he was shakin' and they were hollerin' from the corner, 'Get down, get down, take the count, take the count.'
  3. (idiomatic) To lose or fail.
    • 1916, Parry, Tom, quoting letter to the Yorkshire Post, “Football heroes of England and Wales lined up for far deadlier battle 100 years ago”, in Daily Mirror[1], published 2016:
      He led his men with great dash and when hit the first time declined to take the count. Instead, he drew his revolver and called for further effort. Again he was hit,but struggled on, but a third shot finally bowled him over.