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the hands-down winner

wins very easily, with little effort


hands-down winner = eindeutiger Sieger —— hands-down favourite = unbestrittener Favorit —— hands-down choice = eindeutige Wahl



“Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier is my HANDS-DOWN FAVOURITE bottled wheat beer, period. Unfortunately it’s hard to find on tap in the Mid-Michigan area. It’s the king of Bavarian style wheat beers!"

Forum discussion - Beer Advocate

Did you

hands-down winner / favourite / choice

- the clear winner
- the top favourite
- the most obvious choice

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary


"Hands-down winner" comes from the phrase “to win hands down”, meaning to win something easily or with little effort.

The phrase originated from horse racing. Jockeys need to keep a tight hold on the reins in order to encourage the horse to run. If a jockey is so far ahead of the pack with his horse that he can slow down and still win, he can then afford to drop his hands and loosen the reins - hence winning the race ‘hands down’.

This usage was first recorded in the mid 19th century.


We can all name our favourite movies, travel destinations, cars, football teams, or as noted in the example above, also beer.

I asked an American friend, a resident of Germany for many years, if he had a hands-down favourite beer. His response:

“Let me just say there aren’t any American beers on my list.”

The German “Reinheitsgebot” never gained a footing in the U.S. Instead, quality took a back seat to profits and mass production.

Fortunately for Americans (and German visitors to the U.S.), there are meanwhile plenty of export beers available in the U.S., including the likes of Paulaner, Spaten, and Warsteiner. And since the 1980s, there has also been a resurgence of so-called ‘microbreweries’, many offering excellent beers with funny and oftentimes bizarre names for their products:

Monkey Knife Fight, Nodding Head Brewing, Blithering Idiot Barley Wine, Lifeboat Ale, Titanic Brewery, White Pelican American Pale, Falcon Red, Big Horn Nut Brown, Black Seal Stout, Rock Bottom Brewery, Easy Street Wheat, Levity Ale, Cutthroat Porter, Isolation Ale, Dogfish Head Brewery.

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“My HANDS-DOWN FAVOURITE hotel is located in the north-west of Munich.”

THANKS to Jürgen & Armin who both suggested today’s OWAD!

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

Paul Smith

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