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[shoh-doun] /ˈʃoʊˌdaʊn/
the laying down of one's cards, face upward, in a card game, especially poker.
a conclusive settlement of an issue, difference, etc., in which all resources, power, or the like, are used; decisive confrontation:
An international showdown was inevitable.
Origin of showdown
An Americanism dating back to 1880-85; show + down1
2. crisis, climax, encounter, clash. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for showdown
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "They'd better have given the plan a showdown," interrupted Steve grimly.

    Steve and the Steam Engine Sara Ware Bassett
  • If it comes to a showdown, we're goin' to tell what we know.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • Say, Tex, honest Injun, would you 'a' fired off that dynamite if it had come to a showdown?

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • Hope if it ever comes to a showdown the secretary of the bureau of commerce will agree with me.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • He shucked his windbreaker because it would be more encumbrance than help in the showdown.

British Dictionary definitions for showdown


(informal) an action that brings matters to a head or acts as a conclusion or point of decision
(poker) the exposing of the cards in the players' hands on the table at the end of the game
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for showdown

also show-down, 1873 in card-playing (especially poker), from show (v.) + down (adv.). Figurative sense of "final confrontation" is from 1904.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for showdown



: the opening game of the showdown Yankee–Red Sox series


  1. A hand where the cards are dealt face up and the best hand wins at once (1901+ Poker)
  2. A confrontation, esp a last one (1904+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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