Hit The Sack

Is the English language really that hard to learn? Yes. Yes it is. Our encyclopedic collection of idioms does not help. Exhibit Number One: ‘hit the sack.’

Which sack are we hitting and why? Is this some sort of madcap carnival game? Where did this idiom originate?



Logic truly will not help anyone trying to riddle their way through ‘hit the sack.’ For those who haven’t heard the expression: if it’s time to ‘hit the sack,’ it’s time to go to bed.

The idiom is thought to be rooted in early 1900’s America, where mattresses were commonly burlap sacks stuffed with hay or straw. So, when weary bodies and minds were ready to crash, it was time to find one’s sack and snuggle in.

A related idiom – ‘hit the hay’ – could reflect both these hay-filled sacks or the reality that, around the same time period,  outdoor workers would be sent to sleep in the stables with the animals.



Header Photo: Grace Ho


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton