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I just encountered the phrase "antelope slapping" in the following article (first sentence, pasted below):

Ya know, when you’ve come inside from a hard day of unnecessary antelope slapping, there’s bound to be some thoughts going through your head about how to make curved shapes in SolidWorks without overwhelming your mind.

Link: How to Easily Create Curved Features Using Boundary Surfaces in SolidWorks -- https://www.solidsmack.com

Is this some kind of idiom or euphemism? Is it literal? Does it mean anything at all?

There isn't much context. The article is an instructional article explaining how to do something specific with some particular 3D modelling software.

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  • It might have something to do with prehistoric people/"cave men", as interactions with antelopes are typical of the stereotypical stone-age man, and "antelope slapping" may be a joky reference to the sort of thing primitive people did. (Antelopes are often depicted in cave art, and see Gary Larson and other cartoons.) Hence it might refer (in a mocking or modest way) to anyone doing a low-level, primitive, or menial task. This is 100% a guess, though, and reading the site or related sites in more detail may show it's an in-joke. – Stuart F Dec 1 '20 at 10:48
  • @StuartF Sounds more as though it's related to 'herding cats' to me: aother proverbially difficult, frustrating and pointless exercise. The idea of your being to get near enough to an antelope to slap it seems very unlikely. – BoldBen Dec 2 '20 at 3:49
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I wonder if this is a variant on/corruption of "yak shaving" made up by the author of that article.

The first definition could refer to the sort of apparently-unnecessary-but-actually-required roundabout work often associated with complex tasks:

Any apparently useless activity which, by allowing you to overcome intermediate difficulties, allows you to solve a larger problem.

Alternately, if we're taking "unnecessary antelope slapping" at face value, the second definition could apply:

A less useful activity done consciously or subconsciously to procrastinate about a larger but more useful task

A second possibility is that it's nonsense. I can't find any references to the term elsewhere, and the absurdist references to more literal antelope-slapping ("One we want to slap into the ground like an unruly Kudu [a type of antelope] that’s had one too many ginger ales.") suggest that it might be nonsense. It's certainly not a term in common usage anywhere.

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  • I found the phrase in a few more places, all referring to a video of a pair of guys shooting an antelope. My guess is that it's unrelated. Does this assumption seem sound to you? – lowtex Dec 1 '20 at 8:46
  • @lowtex Yeah, I'd agree with that. This seems like it's more metaphorical, but what it's a metaphor for seems...unclear, possibly to anyone other than the author. – Ryan M Dec 1 '20 at 8:48
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    I would understand all of the phrases as meaning "some sort of work". Unless there is some information about that work - any speculation about the exact meaning of "antelope slapping" is just that - speculation. – Greybeard Dec 1 '20 at 8:55
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Perhaps the expression has to do with sticker art. Slap art would then be a synonym for it. Here is what I found on the web: https://www.amazon.com/Slap-Art-Pronghorn-Antelope-tracks-sticker/dp/B00EXPQYAI and also that: https://www.slap-art.com/ So, 'antelope slapping' would be the creation of stickers representing antelopes.

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    The connection between some stickers from Amazon.com that happen to resemble antelopes (and there are many other forms of animal-stickers available) and the use of "antelope slapping" in the OP's example is so tenuous and forced that it should be dismissed. – Greybeard Dec 1 '20 at 9:17

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