Definition of 'Uncle Point'
The uncle point is usually the point where you know something is truly going wrong with your system and you take action and get out.
The exact origin of "say uncle" or "cry uncle," first appearing in written English around 1918 is unclear but there are some interesting theories. One theory posits that "uncle" is actually a mangled form of the Irish word "anacol," meaning "protection" or "safety," making a demand from an aggressor to "cry uncle" equivalent to the thug demanding that his victim "cry for help" as a signal of surrender. There's no real evidence to support this theory, but there certainly was no lack of recent Irish immigrants in the U.S. around the turn of the century, so it's not entirely implausible.
The other popular theory about "cry uncle" suggests that the phrase may actually be thousands of years old, and that its origins go all the way back to the Roman Empire. According to this theory, Roman children, when beset by a bully, would be forced to say "Patrue, mi Patruissimo," or "Uncle, my best Uncle," in order to surrender and be freed. As to precisely why Ancient Roman bullies forced their victims to "cry uncle," opinions vary. It may be that the ritual was simply a way of making the victim call out for help from a grownup, thus proving his or her helplessness. Alternatively, it may have started as a way of forcing the victim to grant the bully a title of respect -- in Roman times, your father's brother was accorded nearly the same power and status as your father. The form of "uncle" used in the Latin phrase ("patrue") tends to support this theory, inasmuch as it specifically denoted your paternal uncle, as opposed to the brother of your mother ("avunculus"), who occupied a somewhat lower rung in patrilineal Roman society."
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