When you have the whip hand, it means you're very much in control, or you have the advantage.
Part of speech:
It's countable (talk about "the whip hand")
but we don't usually make it plural.
Other forms: None, but some prefer a hyphen: "to have the whip-hand."
How to use it:
When "the upper hand" or "the advantage" are too tame for the strict, harsh, powerful control you're talking about, choose "whip hand." (In case it wasn't obvious, this term makes you think of someone holding a whip and using it, or threatening to use it, on an animal or another human.)
Talk about having the whip hand, holding the whip hand, gaining the whip hand, losing the whip hand, giving the whip hand to someone else, depriving someone of the whip hand, and so on. You can also say you have the whip hand of someone or that you hold the whip hand over someone.
They say you're never supposed to be the first to name a price during negotiations, or else you lose the whip hand.
With their power to make or break small businesses' reputations with public reviews, consumers really have the whip hand these days.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "whip hand" means when you can explain it without saying "running the show" or "the advantage."
Think of a sports team or an organization that you support, and fill in the blanks: "(Something) gave (team or organization) the whip hand of (someone else, such as an opposing team or opposing organization.)"
Example: "The promise of crunchy, chocolatey thin mints really gave those Girl Scouts the whip hand of my husband and me."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
For these last few questions this month, we'll get all meta and talk about words about words and names for names!
The Greek onoma, meaning a name, gives us a bunch of names for names. Can you come up with these? Hint: They're in alphabetical order.
- A word formed from initial letters of another word is an ___onym. - A secret name is a cr___onym. - A word with the same sound as another but a different meaning is a ___onym. - A fictitious name used by an author is a ____onym. - A name consisting of three words is a ___onym.
In order, these terms are acronym, cryptonym, homonym, pseudonym, & trionym.
Try this last one today:
Let's look at words about words! :) Here are four terms and five definitions. Your knowledge of word roots will help you match them up and nix the oddball definition that I just made up:
... a bad choice of words or faulty pronunciation ... the replacement of an inoffensive by an offensive word ... the incorrect usage of a word
... the overuse of onomatopoeic words like "blam" ... the constant use of the word “hell”
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answers? Check out Stephen's full list and discussion at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Joseph Hall: “Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.”
1. The opposite of WHIP HAND is
2. They hold the whip hand now, but at any moment _____.
A. their ship could come in
B. the tables could turn
C. the cat could be let out of the bag
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's word uses the metaphor of someone driving a vehicle pulled by an animal. We use similar imagery to describe people as "s____ed," meaning they bear heavy responsibilities. (It's a very easy word to understand, but can you recall it?)
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