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In broadcast news, especially from the US, recently there is frequent use of the expression "double down on something", usually when public figures repeat some claim they previously made, and usually even add some arguments to increase their claim.

The expression "double down on something" has been discussed here in related questions repeatedly (see below), but only regarding a) its meaning b) its origin (which seems to be from Blackjack).

I wonder, however, as this expression is used so frequently now that it starts getting annoying: are there other ways to say basically the same thing?

Based on the explanations in answers to related questions here, I think I could use a prosaic periphrasis such as

repeated his claim and added more claims on top of it

or

supported his claims with more allegations and thus also increased the risk of being exposed if these claims turn out to be not true

but these periphrases are clearly too long and circumstantial for everyday use, or for use in the news or other "practical" texts. A shorter way to express "double down" could perhaps be

stubbornly repeated...

although this of course carries a judgement of inapproriateness which could be misplaced here; although usually when news folks say "X doubled down on yz" I feel some slight allegation that the claim was unjustified anyway. You would probably not say "doubled down on x" when you believed x being valid. You would not say:

Galileo doubled down on his claim that the earth is moving

Or would you?

So, here is the question:

Are there alternative expressions or synonyms for "doubled down on something" I could use in news texts and the like?


Related question

What does "double down" mean in this particular context?

  • You say: You would probably not say "doubled down on x" when you believed x being valid.... or would you? Sorry... I left that unaddressed. It is perfectly possible to 'double down' in all sincerity without it being any kind of bluff or bluster. (To go back to the card game, there is no bluffing in blackjack - the cards are on the table. And Galileo bust that hand.) – tmgr Sep 25 '18 at 15:51
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Starting with a definition of double down in its metaphorical sense:

double down (phrasal verb, US)

strengthen one's commitment to a particular strategy or course of action, typically one that is potentially risky

He decided to double down and escalate the war.

The third quarter of the year saw central banks doubling down on the quantitative easing approach.

As regards politicians, at least, doubling down often only amounts to a mere repetition of words, restating a position, or perhaps a refusal to change course or to admit that something was wrong. The risk they are taking, implied by the blackjack analogy, is, as far as they're concerned, usually intangibles like loss of face, reputation, political capital etc. (although, as one of the example sentences above shows, this often also involves putting lives in the balance).

With that in mind, depending on the precise context, there are other words and phrases you could substitute - although all have their own distinct meaning and nuance. None of them is a straight swap for double down but there are situations in which one or another will work in its place.


raise the stakes

to increase the costs, risks, or considerations involved in taking an action or reaching a conclusion

The Libyan allegations raised the stakes in the propaganda war between Libya and the United States.

This is, of course, another gambling metaphor, and is relatively close in meaning to double down. It involves a clear and explicit increase in risk, much as double down does.

However, while one can double down on something (a particular allegation, perhaps, in the example above), the stakes are raised in the context of some overall metaphorical game. You might raise the stakes by alleging something, if you need to get specific, or just let the allegations raise the stakes, like in the example.


stick to one's guns (phrase, informal)

refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism

We have stuck to our guns on that issue.

As a practical matter of swapping one phrase for the other, stick to one's guns is perhaps the closest match to double down, although the sense is not so much of deliberately raising the stakes, but rather a dogged refusal to budge. (In terms of flavour, a gambling metaphor doesn't sound too far off a gunfight one, either - they are in the same ballpark, if not the very same saloon.)

Also, although the dictionary I have quoted lists the phrase as informal, this strikes me as a rather conservative view; it is of a suitable register for journalism.


dig in one's heels (or toes or feet)

resist stubbornly; refuse to give in

Officials dug their heels in on particular points.

Very similar to the above, this is an obstinate rejection of compromise or change of direction or stance. (Politicians, beware: if you dig in your heels when they dig up the dirt, you might dig a hole for yourself.)

While pressure and criticism are implicit, any increase in risk is not emphasised with this phrase.


refuse etc. to back down


back down itself is defined as:

(phrasal verb) withdraw a claim or assertion in the face of opposition

Party leaders backed down and rescinded the resolution.


Example sentences from the same dictionary involving a refusal to back down include:

She makes her opinion known, never backs down and never lets up.

However, neither the French nor Austrian governments showed any sign of backing down from their proposals.

The president also said he has no intention of backing down from his plan.

As the example sentences show, this phrase is frequently used in political contexts. Again, the sense of an increased danger or risk that double down can often carry isn't present here.


Here's some adjectives you might want to throw in the mix (possibly as adverbs) to help get the full flavour of double down:

  • dogged
  • stubborn
  • determined
  • bull-headed
  • hard-nosed
  • unwavering
  • uncompromising
  • unyielding
  • adamant
  • intransigent
  • defiant

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