From wolf ticket/woof ticket, from woofing (“idly boasting”), from woofing (“(emptily/harmlessly) barking like a dog”). Woof ticket/wolf ticket is attested since the 1960s.
sell wolf tickets (third-person singular simple present sells wolf tickets, present participle selling wolf tickets, simple past and past participle sold wolf tickets)
- (African American Vernacular) To make threats or boasts, especially if empty and/or if made to intimidate someone.
- 1974, Vernon E. Smith, The Jones Men, page 165, quoted in The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang (2008):
- It's plenty people selling wolf tickets, you know.
- 2007, Stanley Tookie Williams, Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir, page 59:
- I stood there in silence listening to Ollie build himself up by selling wolf tickets about what he planned to do to me.
- 2009, Crystal Y. Dixon, Destiny's Time ISBN 1607993341, page 43:
- The two of them played about four hands of spades, each of which was close but as usual, Yvonne won. Of course, she had to sell wolf tickets after the win. "The next time you come over Mchael, I'll let you win." "Let me win?" he asked incredulously.
- 2010, Theodore Dallas Ashford, A Lone Pine Traveler ISBN 1453567852, page 145:
- A lot of selling of wolf tickets but never any blood. I wish they would kill one of themselves so there would be some peace around here.
- 2010, Donald Hall, Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball ISBN 1439146020, page 164:
- Dock has never fired a gun at anyone. He may possibly have sold a reporter a handful of wolf tickets.
- Various words may be inserted into the expression; for example, in the Donald Hall quotation above, someone is said to have "sold a reporter a handful of wolf tickets".
- ^ Encyclopedia of African American Folklore (2006), page 1389