Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory now more popular than vice versa

If you go to your favorite search engine and search for the phrase "defeat from the jaws of victory", you'll find that it turns up several times more its than the phrase "victory from the jaws of defeat". I just find it oddly amusing that the joke has become more popular than the phrase it came from.

Comments (15)
  1. James says:

    To be fair evaluating popularity of a phrase based on search engine hits is hardly a valid means of gaging its true popularity across the entire spectrum of the populace. Unless of course you are only interested in the opinions of people who have websites or write things on the internet (admittedly a large number).

  2. HitScan says:

    James: I somehow doubt highly that Raymond was suggesting that this is a scientifically valid statistical insight. Some people like to have a little fun now and then, try it out.

  3. !James says:

    James, are you looking for the nitpickers corner or something???

    Google fight says: defeat from the jaws of victory 621,000 results; victory from the jaws of defeat 604,000 results

  4. J says:

    Besides, it’s been accepted as scientific fact in a number of prestigious peer-reviewed journals that Google fight is a valid way of measuring popularity.

  5. Dileepa says:

    The Indian (Republic of India) cricket team has actually mastered this ‘art’.

  6. Qian says:

    The reason for this is the phrase "snatching victory from the jaws of defeat" has been replaced by the motion of pounding oneself in the left chest repeatedly with the right fist and then optionally pointing the right index finger skyward.

  7. Joe says:

    I first heard this expression on the Jim Rome show, back in 1994 or so.  If he didn’t invent it, I would bet he popularized it.  Another one I heard from that show that later became popular was the word ‘take’ to mean opinion; i.e. "what’s your take on the upcoming tomato funeral?"

  8. Cooney says:

    The Indian (Republic of India) cricket team has actually mastered this ‘art’.

    As have our local baseball team.

  9. BryanK says:

    As did the softball team I was on last summer.  One game in particular stands out: we started off by scoring somewhere around 12 runs over two of the first three innings, and we were up 13-4 or something like that.  We ended up losing, 17-16 — and that was an overtime loss; we were tied (16-16) at the end of regulation play.

    Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, indeed.  That one hurt for a while…  ;-)

  10. John Brewer says:

    I think the defeat from victory phrase is used more often because it happens more often.

  11. Iain King says:

    :I think the defeat from victory phrase is used more often because it happens more often.:

    Surely they both happen exactly the same number of times?

  12. mccoyn says:

    There are competitions with more than 2 sides.

  13. sandman says:


    The Indian cricket team surely have nothing on the English when it comes to this ?

  14. Snezzy says:

    To qualify for the "Jaws of Victory" award, the army, general or sports team in question must not only lose, but lose by adopting a large degree of stupidity as tactics. Mere chance, or an encounter against superior forces, is not sufficient.

    The expression, which is older than the Internet, seems to have become popular. Here is a possible origin. (I suspect it goes back a hundred years or more, though.)

    "From the Jaws of Victory. A History of the Character, Causes & Consequences of Military Stupidity from Crassus to Johnson" is the title of a book by Charles Fair, published around 1971.

    Fair’s discussion of General Ambrose Burnside (the Union general known for building a bridge across a stream shallow enough for wading, and thus losing a substantial advantage) is memorable. So are Burnside’s side-whiskers, known as sideburns.

  15. bmm6o says:

    Fortunately, "good old days" is still vastly more popular than "bad old days".

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