Sometime in the 1970s, as these “tank” phrases began to be adopted by the general public, they lost their “did it on purpose” meanings and “to tank” came to mean simply “to fail utterly,” with no implication of corruption. But there must have been a few old boxing fans left in the early 1990s, because “to be in the tank for” then reappeared in political jargon, with its original meaning of “in the pay of” or “secretly in favor of or committed to” (“NBC is clearly in the tank for Clinton”).

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Terry Diggs:

    Here in Arkansas where I live, a “pond” is a small body of water, whether naturally occurring or manmade. A usage I’ve only noticed in Texas is to call a naturally-occurring small body of water a “pond,” but a man-made body of water is called a “tank.”

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