HP TouchPad vs. iPad vs. Xoom vs. PlayBook: the tale of the tape.

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    Where is it from? Could do with some context on that. – Orbling Feb 10 '11 at 2:14
  • it's a news title from a famous tech blog. – lovespring Feb 10 '11 at 3:25

The tale of the tape is a term from the sport of boxing, which uses it to refer to a boxer's size and, more important, reach. http://www.allwords.com/word-tale+of+the+tape.html

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  • As a native speaker, do you understand it without searching the dictinary ? just want to know how common. – lovespring Feb 10 '11 at 3:27
  • Yes. Most Americans probably get this pretty easily, but one would probably have to be familiar with sports terms to understand it in more than a general way. – Robusto Feb 10 '11 at 3:36
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    Born and raised in America, and have never heard this expression (until now, that is). Without an explanation, I would have tried to interpret "tape" as in "recording". – Marthaª Feb 10 '11 at 6:08
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    Reading and being heavily into UK/US idioms for 35 years, I have never heard this before. But then again I do not like boxing and have not seen the Rocky films where I guess I would have encountered this term. Another reason to be on ESC :) – mplungjan Feb 10 '11 at 9:09
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    I would have guessed it was referring to the finish line of a foot race, where there is traditionally a ribbon ("tape") strung across the finish line at chest height and the winner is the one to break the ribbon or break the tape. Once boxing was mentioned, I would have assumed it was referring to chest and bicep diameter, which could indicate strength. – Wayne May 17 '11 at 13:59

The tale of the tape means comparing things; it comes from boxing where the fighters would be measured with a tape measure before a fight.

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