from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A conclusive blow or remark.
  • n. Slang Something outstanding.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a hard hit, a knockout or finishing blow
  • n. something exceptional
  • n. A combination of two hooks which close upon each other, by means of a spring, as soon as the fish bites.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which finishes or ends a matter; a settler; a poser, as a heavy blow, a conclusive answer, and the like.
  • n. A combination of two hooks which close upon each other, by means of a spring, as soon as the fish bites.
  • n. Something unusually large.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Uncertain. However:



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  • Sockdolager would have to be a humorous corruption of DOXOLOGY, one meaning of which refers to an expression which forms the final statement in a Christian prayer, such as "glory be to the father, and to the son . . ", or "as it was in the beginning, is now . . " etc. So, it means 'the last word', the words after which no more words are said and by extension, the conclusive deed.

    February 3, 2016

  • sez:Origin: 1827

    Entering the vocabulary by at least 1827, sockdolager was already well enough established in American slang to be included in a glossary published in the Virginia Literary Museum on January 6, 1830: "'sockdolager,' 'a decisive blow'--one, in the slang language, 'capable of setting a man thinking.'" It also could mean something or someone big. "There is but one 'sogdollager' in the universe," James Fenimore Cooper wrote in 1838, "and that is in Lake Oswego."

    Sockdolager was just one of the outrageous ten-dollar words coined early in the nineteenth century that sprang from the exuberance of the expanding new country. Others were absquatulate for "depart," callithumpian for "a noisy parade," hornswoggle for "cheat," and other s-words like slumgullion for "something disgusting," snollygoster for "a political jobseeker," and slangwhanger for "a partisan speechmaker," as well as skedaddle and SHINDIG (1857), which both survive today.

    On April 14, 1865, sockdolager was a key word in a tragic moment of American history. The Englishman Tom Taylor used it in his comedy, Our American Cousin, to Americanize the play's hero when he spoke the line that got the most laughs: "Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, you sockdologizing old man-trap." As the audience roared, John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger. Those were the last words President Abraham Lincoln ever heard.

    August 2, 2009

  • What happened to J, M?

    February 2, 2009

  • M notes it was difficult to have the sockdolager but when it happened, it happened

    February 1, 2009

  • sockdolager rapids word in motion

    January 30, 2009

  • cf doxology

    June 19, 2008

  • Oh, but I'm sure you can, jennarenn, here in Wordieville. :-)

    February 5, 2008

  • I love that you love that expression. Almost makes me wish I could carry it off.

    February 5, 2008

  • Well, that's just tits.

    (Note: See vitamin h. Thanks adoarns!)

    February 5, 2008

  • A few Wordies were arranging a search party, c_b.

    February 5, 2008

  • Oh dude, I am so pissed off at being kept away from Wordie!! *pouts*

    February 5, 2008

  • Hey, c_b, you're back from your Wordie holiday. Good to see you again :-)

    February 5, 2008

  • Is this related to "sockdologizing old man-trap" as in the play "Our American Cousin"?

    February 5, 2008

  • several other definitions include:

    1. a decisive or conclusive reply in an argument or debate, as one that settles a matter, like when your Mom says, "Case closed!"

    2. a combination of two hooks that close on each other when a fish bites the hook.

    3. any unusually large object.

    February 5, 2008

  • VARIANT FORMS: also sock·dol·o·ger

    NOUN: Slang 1. A conclusive blow or remark. 2. Something outstanding.

    ETYMOLOGY: Origin unknown.

    March 28, 2007