This is more than twenty years ago now: in the midst of a legal standoff between my employer and a supplier of interpretations of English words into French, I heard this phrase for the first time. We were in front of the judge in a small claims court, and he was hearing our suit against this other company. The reason for the suit was a matter of a few descriptive words on a product of lotion. The French interpretation of one of the ingredients made it sound awful. The respondent to the suit showed that the interpretation was factual, but not artistic. It looked like the other side might win the case. So our company director suggested that we all ‘drop hands’.
I hadn’t understood that phrase at the time, but the implication was that each side would pay their own legal fees and expenses.
Yesterday, I was wondering where that legal term came from. In my mind’s eye was an image of two fighters with their ‘dukes’ up. When they stopped fighting, they would drop their hands. But doing my research today, it turns out that it is more likely to have evolved from the poker table: when all bets are off, the players throw in (drop) their hands.
What do you think?