In any language, there are unique and interesting expressions that sprout up from time to time.
These expressions tend to originate in a certain area, and some of them end up spreading all over the globe. Additionally, some of these expressions end up being the basis for other new expressions in turn.
This all might seem confusing now, but once we look at a clear example, such as the expression “catch these hands,” it will all click for you.
But, before we can look at the origins of “catch these hands,” we need to answer a basic question first.
What does “catch these hands” mean?
“Catch these hands” is a term or expression people use when they are about to start a fight. They usually say it to another person, implying that that other person is about to get punched in the face.
If someone wants to start a fight with someone else, they could say the following.
”Yo, you’ve been on my nerves ever since you walked in here, and that was the last straw. You’re about to catch these hands.”
The origins of “catch these hands”
“Catch these hands” is slang, and it has been in use for a while now.
Many people recall hearing it back in the early 2000s, and even though the Urban Dictionary’s earliest definition of this expression dates back to 2014, many people will swear that they used to hear it back as early as 2006.
In fact, “catch these hands” and “get these hands are the catchphrases of Braun Strowman, a WWE wrestler and former strongman. And, don’t worry. “Get these hands” has the same meaning as “catch these hands.”
Interestingly, Strowman argues that his catchphrases are actually quite common expressions as everybody, wrestlers particularly, has probably felt so angry at someone that they wanted to beat them up.
Hence, that person who would get beat up would “get those hands.”
But still, where does the expression come from?
There is no way to know for certain where the expression “catch these hands” comes from, but there are a few interesting facts that can shed some light.
First of all, there is a similar but older expression that has been around for more than sixty years. To “throw hands” is used to refer to a fistfight, and this expression has been in use since the late 60s.
Moreover, “throw hands” wasn’t just a colloquial expression known to a few.
It was widespread enough that you could find it in several books and publications.
For instance, if you were to look at Huey Newton’s autobiography, which was published in 1973, you’ll find a line that says, “I started throwing hands until it stopped.”
Another example can be found in a book that discussed the Black Panthers, one that was published in 1969. In this book, there is a line that read, “Huey and another brother were there throwing hands and knocking cats.”
So, is “throwing hands” the origin of “catch these hands”? Did the former expression spawn the latter somehow?
Maybe. Maybe not.
You see, the idea of using the hands to symbolize violence is not new.
For example, an even more famous expression is “to lay your hands on someone,” which means to hit someone and possibly hurt them.
You’ve most likely heard “lay your hands on someone” in a movie or TV show not too long ago.
And, in most movies, when the hero wants to tell the villain to stay away from someone, the hero will say, “Don’t you lay a finger on them.”
The idea is that if a hand symbolizes violence, then a finger can be thought of as tempered or restrained violence.
Even beyond the world of expressions, hands have always had a strong link to violence. Several movements that have chosen to express themselves aggressively have chosen some hand gesture as their symbol, such as a clenched fist.
With all this in mind, it should be clear now how some expressions can be the basis for others. However, are there other expressions that deliver a similar meaning?
Of course, there are several other expressions that have the same meaning as “catch these hands.” Here are a couple of examples just to illustrate.
1. “Open a can of whoopass”
Even though this expression has humor to it, what it really means is that someone is about to whoop someone else’s ass. Nevertheless, the visual imagery associated with this expression makes it entertaining.
2. “So what you wanna do?”
It’s interesting to note that this expression isn’t saying that someone is about to beat someone else. Instead, it is a challenge, a sort of dare if you will. When someone says it, what they are basically saying is “I dare you to fight me.”
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.