Rubber match is a popular colloquial expression, referring to the final one, decisive one in the series of matches, that determines who’s the winner and who’s the one who Can’t Win for Losing.
Although the exact origin of the phrase is not known, it started appearing in 16th century England, closely tied to the game of lawn bowling.
The word rubber around that time didn’t refer to the elastic material, produced from caoutchouc, rather, it was a phrase referring to an object that rubs to other things.
In land bowling, which is hypothesized to serve as the origin of the phrase – although it is not proven to be – rubbing two bowls together is considered a game-losing mistake.
An alternative explanation claims that “Rubber match” refers to the fact that the losing team would be rubbed out of the game, although this is equally unsupported by evidence.
The phrase “Rubber match” already became a widely known colloquialism by the 1800’s, when it appeared in print in all sorts of publications, especially about competitive sports.
It remained a popular expression well into the 20th and 21st centuries and is still widely used today.
“Rubber match” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on February 26th, 2006.
- Rubbernews.com – Where does the term rubber match come from?