Proverbs and idioms are as old as human language culture and each language has its own collection of idioms. The Chinese, and especially the famous Confucius, created an incredible number of such idioms and sayings. Most of the idioms in the western world have their origins in Europe. But after the great waves of migration at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, many new winged words and phrases emerged all over the world.
We use some idioms every day quite unconsciously and naturally and always depending on the situation. There is one for almost every situation in life, and many of them are so weird that we usually have a funny picture in front of our eyes. At the same time, we rarely ask ourselves where they come from and what they want to tell us. For example, the saying “gnaw on the hunger cloth”. It means that someone is a poor eater, has nothing to eat and is hungry. But why then gnaw on the “starvation cloth”? Interestingly, this has a church background. Because during Lent a special cloth was sewn and hung over the altar in the church. Believers should be exhorted to confess their sins.
The American saying “Winner winner chicken dinner” goes in a similar direction, only a little more pleasant. It is called out to celebrate a victory or triumph, similar to “Bingo!” Or “Jackpot!” Therefore, it is used particularly frequently in all games of chance. How the saying came about can no longer be precisely understood today. It is believed that it actually came from the gambling arena and from a time when many people in America were literally gnawing on hunger – the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The most common legend goes that every casino in Las Vegas had a chicken dish on its menu at the time. It mostly consisted of some chicken, a potato, and some vegetables and cost about $ 2. The standard bet at the time was often US $ 2 and whoever won a game won enough money for a chicken dish, i.e. a chicken dinner.
But a certain David Guzman had another explanation. Guzman loved the craps game of dice, but he couldn’t cope with the game’s very special jargon. He set about writing a book about it for himself and all like-minded people, and published it in 1999. Under the title “A Guide to Craps Lingo from Snake Eyes to Muleteeth”, he explains to other craps players exactly what everyone is on 78 pages single term meant. One of the expressions described was the often used “Winner winner chicken dinner”. Guzman’s explanation of the exclamation also goes back to the time of the Great Depression. There in the backyards the poor people played craps. They were so desperate that back then they bet all they had on the dice game just to win a chicken dish.
If a player calls out the saying nowadays, he has won his game and this profit is as important to him as the chicken dinner was back then for the poor people. But the phrase can be used in other situations as well. For example, anyone who has had a really good, successful day or a successful experience can shout out “Winner winner chicken dinner” with a beam of joy.
The exclamation has been used in America over the decades, but it got really famous through another event. In 2008 the film 21 came into the cinemas and it is so often proclaimed Winner winner chicken dinner that the saying became very popular. Every streak of luck and every big win is joyfully confirmed with it. The online video game Battlegrounds made the slogan even more famous . Game developer Brendan Greene at PlayerUnkown, it is said, really liked that phrase so much that he included it in most of his game variations. Since it is well known that winning this very demanding game is not that easy, winners are praised with the appeal “Winner winner chicken dinner”.