The Meaning of Double Down: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of double down? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the phrase double down, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the phrase double down mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the meaning of the phrase double down is usually used figuratively to mean to continue to do something in an even more determined or dogged way than before. Some people might say this is a bad idea depending on the circumstances, but others believe that this is the only way to achieve success, and people can make good money doing so. If the clean energy industry and its employees never doubled down on investing in solar power, we would not have some of the technological advancements we do today. If politicians in America like Barack Obama and Romney did not double down on their campaign efforts, they may not have become presidential candidates. Often, if someone is doubling down, they have a meaningful explanation and are passionate about whatever it is they are doubling down on, from political reform to oil leaks to a gambling tactic or a KFC sandwich. Oftentimes the CEOs of companies like Twitter or HP will double down on their strategies in order to try and hit it big. Try using this buzzword of the week in a sentence!

What is the origin of the phrase double down?

According to The Verge and Vocabulary, the term double down comes from the game of blackjack in the year 1949. If you double down in blackjack, it means that you tell the dealer to deal two cards. If you feel confident in your chances of having a winning hand after being dealt two cards after your initial cards, you can double your bet. However, you will only be allowed to take one additional card. This term is often used metaphorically in the tech industry to refer to a high risk high reward strategy that a company or a person might make. A person might perform risky behavior in a casino or wager highly if they think they will beat the dealer, similarly to the figurative usage in business, tech, and politics. Running the blackjack gambit might take some money from your initial bet, but when tech CEOs double down, it can lead to the loss of aggressive investments and even the exposures of your retirement money if a company you’re invested in tanks its stock price. Bold risks can lead to a big reward, like Zuckerberg with Facebook or Apple CEO Tim Cook with the iPhone or Siri, but often, a bust will happen instead.

How can the phrase double down be used in a sentence?

The term double down can be used in a variety of different ways to describe someone who decides to do something in a more determined way even after being discouraged. In this example, Maisie is crying after the talent show.

Mom: What’s wrong?

Maisie: The talent show was a total fail. I sang in front of everyone and they all laughed at me. The boys in my class kept shouting that they couldn’t hear me and then I cracked and then I started crying. It was awful. I’m quitting singing forever.

Mom: Honey, I thought you wanted to be on Broadway?

Maisie: Not anymore. Not after this.

Mom: No, you’re not giving up that easily. We’re going to double down. You’re going to become the best singer they’ve ever seen. We’ll sign up for voice lessons tomorrow, and you can practice for me as many times a day as you want.

What are synonyms for the phrase double down?

There are many words that a person can use in place of the term double down. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. It’s not always appropriate to use a casual slang term like double down, so it’s important to know alternative words. Synonyms are also useful if you are trying to increase your English language vocabulary or avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the term double down is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  strengthen
  •  beef up
  •  point
  •  set off
  •  pyramid
  •  concentrate
  •  sharpen
  •  add to
  •  stretch
  •  stress
  •  aggravate
  •  intensate
  •  rise
  •  magnify
  •  increase
  •  emphasize
  •  hike up
  •  swell
  •  escalate
  •  quicken
  •  pour it on
  •  lengthen
  •  expatiate
  •  boost
  •  accentuate
  •  build up
  •  spike
  •  augment
  •  heighten
  •  inflate
  •  darken
  •  enlarge
  •  heat up
  •  elaborate
  •  add fuel
  •  step up
  •  whet
  •  add
  •  supplement
  •  raise
  •  deepen
  •  tone up
  •  enhance
  •  rouse
  •  exaggerate
  •  brighten
  •  amplify
  •  accent
  •  flesh out
  •  pad
  •  lighten
  •  expand
  •  jack up
  •  aggrandize
  •  redouble
  •  soup up
  •  intensify
  •  widen
  •  exacerbate
  •  extend
  •  up
  •  reinforce
  •  develop
  •  exalt

There are also numerous different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the term double down. These are known as antonyms. Antonyms are another great ay to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the phrase double down is provided by Thesaurus

  •  crumble
  •  run low
  •  wither
  •  fade
  •  dwindle
  •  ease
  •  slash
  •  ebb
  •  calm down
  •  depreciate
  •  check
  •  contract
  •  degenerate
  •  shrivel
  •  wane
  •  abate
  •  dry up
  •  soften
  •  settle
  •  let up
  •  narrow down
  •  diminish
  •  curtail
  •  decline
  •  fall off
  •  tail off
  •  drop off
  •  drop
  •  shrink
  •  curb
  •  slump
  •  decay
  •  decrease
  •  devaluate
  •  lessen
  •  evaporate
  •  die down
  •  wear down
  •  slack off
  •  slacken
  •  lose edge
  •  quell
  •  subside
  •  peter out
  •  deteriorate
  •  modify
  •  quiet
  •  reduce
  •  restrain
  •  cut down
  •  waste
  •  lighten
  •  droop
  •  lower
  •  slow down
  •  weaken
  •  sink
  •  wear away

Overall, the term double down can be used to describe a strategic move in blackjack in which a person takes two cards to double their bet, but it is most often used figuratively to mean to continue to do something in an even more determined or dogged way after being discouraged. This term has been used since 1949 in the blackjack sphere. 

Sources:

  1. INTENSIFY Synonyms: 64 Synonyms & Antonyms for INTENSIFY | Thesaurus 
  2. Why is Everyone “Doubling Down”? | Vocabulary
  3. Double down: a brief history of the most meaningless phrase in tech | The Verge 
  4. DECREASE Synonyms: 109 Synonyms & Antonyms for DECREASE | Thesaurus