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I came across the phrase “I’ll jam down their throats” in the following sentence of the Reuters’ article (June 30 issue) dealing with the Davis Cup, titled “Pat Rafter Wary of 'Awkward Chinese.'”

Our biggest problem is if we are complacent and we take them easy," he said. "That will be the one thing that I will jam down their throats—they will be very tough.

In search for the meaning of the phrase, I found a similar phrase, “jam one’s belief down someone’s throat” in the following example. .

I mean, vegetarians and vegans don't try to moralize or jam their beliefs down everyone else’s' throats, right?—www.foodaq.com/html/General/44813.html.

What does “jam down something one’s throat” mean? Does it mean to force someone to swallow (accept) something or surrender to someone? Is this a popular phrase?

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  • @Kiamalauluno. Is 'Jam down stg, one's throught' a well-worn colloqual? Jun 30, 2011 at 9:39
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    Yoichi, I believe "ram it down his throat" is, I think, more popular than "jam it down his throat." Both just mean forcing someone to agree with your ideas.
    – Fattie
    Jun 30, 2011 at 16:14
  • It is also said / written "cram it down his throat"
    – TecBrat
    Aug 18, 2012 at 19:47
  • Is asking why this phrase is commonly used in a specific context on topic for this site? @YoichiOishi
    – apaul
    Jul 26, 2018 at 0:34

3 Answers 3

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Jamming into one's throat means to make absolutely sure the person hears you and cooperates with whatever you're jamming into his throat.

So the captain, Pat Rafter, is saying that he'll make absolutely sure his team gets the message that they can't afford to be complacent when playing against the Chinese. They've got to be tough, or they won't win.

And the point made in the other example is that most vegan/vegetarians don't force their views on everyone else, or even look down on others, as some people seem to think.

If you're planning to use this expression, consider a more common form: "shove down one's throat". This NGram illustrates that "shove down his throat", though rare, exists; whereas "jam into his throat" does not even appear. (The same goes for "their throats", and, I assume, all other forms.)

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To "jam" is force into.

To jam something down a person's throat, is to force a notion, or idea into somebody. It is to force someone to agree with your idea.

So, in your excerpt, Pat Rafter is saying that he needs to force "them" to understand that their biggest problem is to become complacent and take the opponents easy.

This is backed up by your second excerpt, in which the author is saying that vegetarians and vegans don't go around trying to force everyone to become a vegetarian or vegan.

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  • @Ham and Bacon. Is 'Jam down stg, one's throught' a well-worn colloqual? Jun 30, 2011 at 9:40
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    Depends what a well-worn colloquial is... I've seen it used quite a bit though.
    – Thursagen
    Jun 30, 2011 at 9:42
  • @Can I say 'Jam down stg. one's mouth" instead of "throat"? Jun 30, 2011 at 9:52
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    Nah... It's specifically throat.
    – Thursagen
    Jun 30, 2011 at 9:57
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    @Yoichi Oishi: the phrase would be "Jam something down one's throat". It is not a phrasal verb "jam down", but a simple verb with a prepositional phrase "down x's throat". And like Joe Blow, I would say "ram" rather than "jam".
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 30, 2011 at 16:23
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Speaking as an native Englishman who lives just outside of London, the use of the term "jam it down their throat" is perfectly fine; "ram it down their throat" or "stuff it down their throat" is used interchangeably.

"Cram it down their throat" is perhaps regional; I have certainly never used it in my life or heard it in conversation locally. "Cram it into their mouths" yes when talking about someone eating with gusto. I feel that cram is more one performing the action themselves.

As to the meaning? This would be to force feed someone with something. It could be information, opinion, viewpoint, or rhetoric. They probably will not enjoy the experience. Quite often one will apologise when using the phrase about themselves "Sorry if it feel's like I am shoving this down your throat..." Oh. Yes. Shoving too.

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    Welcome to ELU. It would be great if you could find an objective source to substantiate your perception of the phrase's usage. This site strives to provide objective answers. Find out about good answers in the Help Center. You can see in the accepted answer referenced resources like Google ngram.
    – Helmar
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:37

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