English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Blackjack players can "double down" after receiving their initial two cards.

What is the past tense of 'Double Down'?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Double down is an idiomatic phrase which is also a phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs are defined as follows:

A phrasal verb contains either a preposition or an adverb (or both), and may also combine with one or more nouns or pronouns.

There are three main types of these phrasal verbs, depending on what the phrase contains. The types are:

  1. Participle verbs: Phrasal verbs that contain a particle such as up (for example switch off, look up). So, they are formed as: verb + participle

  2. Prepositional verbs: Prepositional verbs are phrasal verbs that contain a preposition, which is always followed by its nominal object (for example look after, talk to...about). So, they are verb + preposition

  3. Phrasal-prepositional verbs: A phrasal verb can contain an adverb and a preposition at the same time (for example got off to, put down to).

In order to form the past tense of any of the phrasal verbs, one must put the verb into the past tense. For example:

present: I look after my little sister.

past: I looked after my little sister.

The phrase double down can be broken into the verb double plus the preposition down, so it is a prepositional verb phrase. The past tense of "double" is "doubled", so the past tense you're asking for would be doubled down.

A similar example of creating this past tense is double over--you would say that someone doubled over in pain, but not doubled overed or doubled overed.

share|improve this answer

Common usage is doubled down. Some examples (mostly not related to blackjack, but using the term in a figurative sense):

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.