I caught this interesting post from the Facebook timeline of one of my High School classmates. Since I’ve always been intrigued by these kinds of trivial factoids, wanted to share.
After reading this post, I started to research the origins of these expressions, as well as others. Turns out, there are better alternative explanations for the terms “dead ringer”, as well as, “saved by the bell”, which seem to make more sense, and are more likely the true originations. The term “dead ringer”, may come from the illegal substitution of a favorable race horse just prior to a race, with a horse that looks like the projected winner, since the term “ringer” is a Bristish term for “substitute” and “dead” used in the sense of “dead on” or “dead heat”. As for “saved by the bell”, it seems more likely that this term originated from the common use of the term, when a boxer is about to go “down for the count”, yet is “saved by the bell”.
Oh well, we may never know for sure, but it’s all fun to think about!