[ sok-dol-uh-jer ]
/ sɒkˈdɒl ə dʒər /

noun Older Slang.

something unusually large, heavy, etc.
a decisive reply, argument, etc.
a heavy, finishing blow: His right jab is a real sockdolager.

Origin of sockdolager

1820–30, Americanism; sock2 + -dolager, of uncertain origin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sockdolager

  • And then the big news broke–the Sockdolager had been found–and there was a stampede that went clear to the peaks.

    Wunpost|Dane Coolidge
  • The fight for the Sockdolager Mine was on and Wunpost led off up the canyon with a swagger.

    Wunpost|Dane Coolidge
  • She followed along behind him, and already in her thoughts she was the owner of the Sockdolager Mine.

    Wunpost|Dane Coolidge

Word Origin and History for sockdolager



1830, "a decisive blow" (also, figuratively "a conclusive argument"), fanciful formation from sock (v.1) "hit hard," perhaps via a comical mangling of doxology, on a notion of "finality." The meaning "something exceptional" is attested from 1838.

Sockdologising likely was nearly the last word President Abraham Lincoln heard. During the performance of Tom Taylor's "Our American Cousin," assassin John Wilkes Booth (who knew the play well) waited for the laugh-line "Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, you sockdologising old man-trap." Amid the noise as the audience responded, Booth fired the fatal shot.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper