The Old One-Two


1. A fast combination of punches.

2. A powerful combination of two people or things.

Example: When I’m making gumbo in the kitchen, I never forget to add salt and pepper. These are the old one-two seasonings I put in almost every dish I make!

1. Dynamic duo

The Origin Of ‘The Old One-Two’

This phrase is believed to originate from boxing. Why? Well, there is a whole lot of punching that goes on in this sport, and the ‘old one-two’ can refer to a quick combination of punches that a boxer performs.

As for the age of this phrase, the earliest I could find it in print is the early 1900s. For example, in the Oakland Tribune newspaper, June 1919, the expression is used in relation to boxing: 

“The fans will see a big difference in Frankie. He is far stronger than he was before going to France, and he is hitting much harder. He has the old one-two punch down to perfection and he stings every time he lands.”

As you can see from this quote, the phrase was a common boxing term; it referred to a punch that is immediately followed up by a second punch. Later, this term became an idiom for a strong combination of people or things, not just punches. An example of this is in the Lowell Sun newspaper, 1949:

“And maybe that’s the way the old team of Stalin and Molotov figured in the first place, since they’ve been working together for 35 years: The old one-two, with Molotov being tough and Stalin being soft if he had to.”

Example Sentences

  • For a simple lunch, the old one-two I always fall back on is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s a classic; it’s easy to make and it tastes pretty good too!

Similar Example:

  • The dynamic duo on this team are Evan and Leo; these two score the most points nearly every game.

Tip: You can find the meaning of hundreds of expressions on here. However, sometimes the origin of these common phrases and sayings is not clear. In such cases, what will be provided are theories that talk about how a phrase originated.

Additionally, the citations on the page are not meant to be taken as the phrase’s origin point. Rather, they to show how old the expression is.