To throw in the towel = to quit; to give up; to concede defeat
The origin of this idiom comes from boxing.
When a boxer is being hit too much, is losing the fight and has great difficultly to continue, then sometimes his coach (or trainer) will throw a towel (or a sponge) into the boxing ring to signal that the fight is over. The coach sometimes does this when his boxer is losing awareness from the continuous blows from his opponent and is unable to fight back. It is usually to avoid more damage to the boxer or an eventual knockout.
This idiom is now used a lot outside of the boxing ring when someone quits something.
Note: You don’t physically need to throw a towel anywhere. You just say the expression. 🙂
- She was ready to throw in the towel, but remembered her goal and kept going.
- He was getting beaten so badly that his coach threw in the towel.
- Even though learning English may be difficult at times, never throw in the towel.
- Never throw in the towel. Use it to wipe off the sweat, then keep going.
Have you ever thrown in the towel?