From the traditional signal from a boxer's support staff of throwing such an item into a boxing ring to indicate that the contestant cannot continue the match and is forfeiting to the opponent.
- (idiomatic) To quit; to give up.
- If their restaurant can't get business even on Mother's Day, it might be time for them to throw in the towel.
- 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter VIII:
- In short, there was so much space and so many things to shove things behind that most people, called on to find a silver cow-creamer there, would have said “Oh, what's the use?” and thrown in the towel.
(idiomatic) to quit; to give up