Read ‘Em And Weep

Meaning:

The phrase “read ’em and weep” is often said in poker when someone has a winning hand, as the others “weep” over their loss. This expression is mostly used as a taunt.

Example: I was playing Texas Hold’em with a few friends of mine and we were having a great time. I received two aces at the start of the round, so I felt confident in a victory. I revealed my cards at the end and taunted: “Read ’em and weep, everyone!”
Synonyms / Similar Phrases:
1. Eat your heart out
2. How do you like them apples?
3. Take that!
Phrase: Read 'em and weep.

Read ‘Em And Weep – Its Origin

It’s thought that this phrase comes from poker, a popular card game. In poker, players put together different combinations of cards that are worth a fixed amount of points. Certain combinations are stronger than others, so before the round is over, players want to have the strongest set of cards possible. At the end, players can choose to reveal their cards to each other, and then a new round begins. This is the gist of the game.

If a player decides to reveal their cards, this is generally the time where the expression “read ’em and weep” is said. As they lay their cards down on the table, they are essentially telling the other players: “read my combination of cards and weep over your loss.” Today, this phrase is still used in poker, but it is also used outside the card game as well.

Anyways, the earliest printed form of the phrase I could find is from the early 20th century. For example, it is seen under the ‘Sports News’ section of The San Antonio Evening News newspaper, July 1919: 

“With the exception of one or two close decisions, Umpires Lewis and Schaffer did faily good work, probably because they had been made very good ‘boys’ by the irate fans . . . Few arguments were indulged in with the arbiters. Read ’em and weep!”

Of note: Around the same time in 1919, several newspapers were using the idiom right before presenting a list of items for sale. It seems the implication was that customers would “weep” with happiness after seeing the cheap prices.


Example Sentence(s)

  • Well, would you look at that! Read ’em and weep fellas, because I have a royal flush.

Similar Example:

  • I was playing Monopoly with my friends. As I built a hotel on Boardwalk, I said to them: “How do you like them apples?

Tip: We have the meanings of hundreds of common phrases, sayings, and idioms. So check out our alphabetical list if you want to learn about them. Simply choose a letter from the menu up top.

Sharing is caring!