“Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels” – Meaning & Origin

“Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels” is a phrase that could easily confuse any English speaker that isn’t already familiar with what it means. This article will explain its meaning, how it got started, and also mention some similar phrases that exist.

What Does “Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels” Mean?

“Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels” is a saying that is used to talk about doing something impossible or otherwise incredible. Standing on your head and spitting wooden nickels is an outstanding act, so it’s used to refer to impossible and outstanding things.

Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels Meaning Origin

While it might seem like a convoluted phrase at first glance if you’re not familiar with it, “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels” is a charming and quirky way to refer to an impossible action, and it gets a substantial amount of use.

What Is The Origin Of The “Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels”?

“Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels” comes from two phrases. The first one is “Stand on your head and spit nickels”, and the second one is “Don’t take any wooden nickels”. “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels” is a combination of both.

“Stand on your head and spit nickels” simply means to do something incredible, as standing on your head and spitting nickels out of your mouth is presumed to be a very hard thing to do, and therefore an astonishing action.

“Stand on your head and spit nickels” comes from the 1970s, though “Spitting nickels” by itself comes from the 1940s.

“Don’t take any wooden nickels” is a phrase that means to be careful in your purchases and general transactions, as wooden nickels at the time were sometimes given out in transactions, and they were hard to redeem.

“Don’t take any wooden nickels” is a phrase that stems from the 1900s. However, according to Google Ngram Viewer, “Spitting wooden nickels” as a phrase got started in the mid-1960s.

spit wooden nickels origin

The phrase grew in use over the decades, and hit peak usage in 2016, a number that has decreased since then.

Examples Of How To Use “Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels” In A Sentence

Here are some example sentences that show how to incorporate this saying into a sentence:

  1. You can manage standing on your head and spitting wooden nickels if you can manage this jump properly.
  2. If you get this job I will stand on my head and spit wooden nickels at you.
  3. I would stand on my head and spit wooden nickels before I decided to leave this town.
  4. Before you can verify whether our hypothesis is correct, you will have to stand on your head and spit wooden nickels.
  5. If you want to get her attention you will have to stand on your head and spit wooden nickels.
  6. I think that you have to stand on your head and spit wooden nickels to get them to reply to your email.
  7. To fully remove all bugs from the program you would have to stand on your head and spit wooden nickels.
  8. She’s going to stand on her head and spit wooden nickels before they’ll accept her into the association.
  9. I’ll stand on my head and spit wooden nickels before finishing this year’s workload.
  10. He’ll have to stand on his head and spit wooden nickels if he wants to beat his record.

Is “Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels” An American English Phrase?

Yes, “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels” is a phrase used mostly in American English.

The phrase gets zero use in the United Kingdom or other regions of the world, which is often the case with specific idioms and sayings such as “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels”.

Furthermore, a “Nickel” is a type of coin that can be found mainly in the United States, which is an easy way to remember that the phrase is American in nature.

If you speak this phrase to a non-American, they might not know what it means. However, if you speak this phrase to an American, they could know what you mean.

What Does “Nickel In Your Back And Make You Dance” Mean?

The phrase “Nickel in your back and make you dance” means to make someone do something for your own entertainment in a demeaning and insulting way. When you use this phrase, you’re insulting the person by saying that they will do anything for a promised nickel.

“Nickel in your back and make you dance” was used by a fan of the basketball team Utah Jazz, towards the family of basketball player Ja Morant. It is thought to be a racist phrase, as Ja Morant is a black man.

The fan who screamed the phrase at the basketball player was subsequently banned indefinitely from attending the games.

The phrase has not seen widespread use, and is thought to have been invented by this person. It does not mean the same thing as “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels”, and does not seem to be related.

What Does “Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels” Mean?

Back in the early 1900s, some shops would give away wooden nickels as special tokens that could be redeemed for prizes. However, they were fragile, and would also quickly expire, and it could become hard to redeem them. From this comes the phrase “Don’t take any wooden nickels”.

The phrase is used to convey a sense of caution when it comes to transactions, to not take on something that you might not be able to redeem, and to generally make you cautious around money.

While part of “Don’t take any wooden nickels” got merged into “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels”, they both have completely different meanings. The only thing they have in common is the presence of wooden nickels.

Here’s a couple of examples of how to use the phrase:

  1. You have got to be careful around banking transactions, make sure not to take any wooden nickels.
  2. Don’t take any wooden nickels, if an offer is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true at all.

“Stand On Your Head And Spit Wooden Nickels” – Synonyms

Here are some equivalent phrases for “Stand on your head and spit wooden nickels”:

  • Hell will freeze over
  • Pigs will fly
  • You will do something impossible
  • Chance in a million
  • Very little chance