Hit the Sack (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Hit the Sack"?

The term "hit the sack" means to go to bed.
Hit the Sack (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • It's time for me to hit the sack. I have an early start tomorrow.
  • I'm done. I'm going to hit the sack now.
  • Good job, lads. Hit the sack now, and I'll see you all at 0600 hours. Don't go to the bar!
The idiom "hit the sack" has been used since the late 19th century, but it was not a popular saying until the 1940s (evidence). It is probable that "hit the sack" originates from the practice of stuffing sacks with hay to make mattresses. This is also the likely origin of hit the hay, but detractors of this theory assert that "hit the hay" comes from the practice of sleeping in haystacks.

Competing Theory

The word sack is military slang for sleeping bag. This is why the term "hit the sack" became so popular in the 1940s (World War II).

In both theories, the word "sack" is a metonym for bed.

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