Throw in the Towel is an idiomatic expression often used to convey the act of giving up, surrendering, or admitting defeat in a particular endeavor or situation.

Idiomatic Phrase: “Throw in the Towel” is a figurative expression that signifies conceding or relinquishing one’s efforts or aspirations.

Surrender or Admit Defeat: The phrase suggests abandoning a task, goal, or struggle due to perceived futility or insurmountable obstacles.

Origin: The origin of this phrase is believed to derive from boxing, where a trainer throws a towel into the ring to signal their fighter’s defeat and withdrawal from the match.

Metaphorical Significance: While its origin lies in sports, the expression has gained broader metaphorical significance, being used in various contexts to denote resignation or giving up.

Acknowledgment of Limitations: “Throwing in the towel” implies an acknowledgment of one’s limitations or the realization that further efforts are futile, prompting the decision to cease trying.

Synonyms: Similar phrases conveying surrender or defeat include “call it quits,” “wave the white flag,” or “throw in the sponge.”

Throw in the Towel is an idiom that symbolizes surrender, defeat, or relinquishment in the face of adversity. Originating from boxing, where a trainer throws a towel into the ring to concede defeat for their fighter, the phrase has evolved to represent giving up on a task or goal due to perceived futility. It conveys the acknowledgment of one’s limitations and the decision to cease efforts in a particular endeavor.

THROW IN THE TOWEL in a sentence

  • After struggling for hours to fix the broken appliance, he finally decided to throw in the towel and call a professional.
  • The team faced insurmountable odds, but they refused to throw in the towel and continued fighting until the end.
  • She had been trying to convince him to change his mind, but he finally threw in the towel and agreed to her proposal.
  • Despite their best efforts, the business venture failed, and they were forced to throw in the towel and move on to other opportunities.
  • The marathon runner faced exhaustion and dehydration but refused to throw in the towel and crossed the finish line.
  • The negotiations reached a stalemate, and both parties decided to throw in the towel rather than continue the fruitless discussion.
  • It was clear that the project was doomed to fail, so they reluctantly decided to throw in the towel and abandon it.
  • Despite the setbacks, she refused to throw in the towel and remained determined to achieve her goals.


The phrase throw in the towel originated from the sport of boxing. In boxing matches, a fighter’s cornerman would literally throw a towel into the ring to signal surrender or concession, indicating that the fighter no longer wishes to continue the match.

Metaphorically, throwing in the towel means to give up, surrender, or concede defeat in a particular situation. It implies accepting defeat or relinquishing one’s efforts because it is perceived as futile or hopeless to continue. This idiom is often used to describe situations where someone decides to abandon a pursuit or effort due to insurmountable obstacles or setbacks.

This expression has become a common idiom in English-speaking cultures, used in various contexts beyond boxing to convey the idea of giving up or admitting defeat in the face of adversity.


  • Give up
  • Surrender
  • Concede
  • Quit
  • Abandon
  • Yield
  • Capitulate
  • Bow out


  • Persevere
  • Persist
  • Endure
  • Continue
  • Press on
  • Soldier on
  • Keep going
  • Fight on


  • Call it a day
  • Wave the white flag
  • Throw in the sponge
  • Admit defeat
  • Cry uncle
  • Lay down one’s arms
  • Pack it in
  • Raise the white flag

🌐 🇬🇧 THROW IN THE TOWEL in other languages

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