Why do we say ‘level pegging’?

The history of the phrase 'level pegging' comes from a card game. BBC History Revealed explains more…

The card game cribbage

The likely origin of the phrase should be instantly clear to avid players of ‘Britain’s national card game’, cribbage, especially those with a proper scoring board. Points are won by grouping cards in a player’s hand, with the help of a face-up card in the middle, to make a total of 15, pairs or runs. These are totted up by placing a peg along the lines of holes, called streets, on the distinctive looking scoring board. As you can now guess, if the scores are tied the pegs are at the same level. There it is, we’re now all in the know – we’re level pegging, you could say.

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This article was first published in the September 2019 issue of BBC History Revealed