5

I am confused about a line from the movie Kingpin:

Ernie: All right, let's go. Thank you for the education, gentlemen. We've just received a PhD in stupidity. (to Roy) Doctor, shall we?

Roy: Give us a chance to win our money back.

Ernie: Are you crazy? (to the winning bowler) Padre, how much are you into us for already?

Winning man: $350.

Ernie to Roy: That's a landau roof and power steering down the drain. Could be in your pocket right now. Let's go.

I am confused because the scene is pretty clear that Roy and Ernie lost money to the other person. However, Merriam Webster says be into someone for means "to owe someone an amount of money". So if I am into him for $2,000, I owe him $2,000, correct? If that's correct, shouldn't Ernie say "How much are we into you for?"

  • 1
    It means: Padre, how much do you already owe us? It can go in either direction. – Lambie May 18 '18 at 23:37
  • For the record, that sounds very strange to me too. I would assume the meaning from context, but the grammar is very strange and confusing. – KumaAra May 19 '18 at 1:32
  • @Lambie. I've never heard it go in both directions. He's into them for a grand has always meant He owes them a thousand dollars whenever I've heard it used. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 19 '18 at 12:08
  • 1
    This is the lingo of the world of gambling, the kind of gambling where you can get kneecapped, BTW. books.google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 19 '18 at 12:09
  • Both directions: Padre, how much are you into us for? How much is he into them for? – Lambie May 19 '18 at 13:13
3

I agree with Webster. I've never heard that phrase used as it is in the question. As an explanation, I think it is a phrase that might or might not have been used more frequently several generations ago than now. It's used infrequently enough now that the meaning might have become confused for some users, to the point that movie writers can get it wrong. They have the context right, but the reference is reversed.

  • I also thought the screenwriters might have got it wrong. I wish dictionaries could be clearer with their example sentences, which don't really help without context. – Eddie Kal May 19 '18 at 5:27
  • 1
    English has tons and tons of slang and jargon. To be into someone for is gambling-speak as pointed out above but also somewhat underworld-speak. That said, I don't find it to be particularly dated. Also, "to be into someone" can also mean: to like someone. – Lambie May 20 '18 at 15:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.