Wolf ticket, or woof ticket, is a slang phrase meaning a verbal threat, criticism, or insult used to intimidate an opponent. The phrase originates from woofing, meaning aimless talk, an onomatopoeic reference to the sound of dogs barking. The expression is usually used as a part of the phrase "to sell wolf tickets", meaning to bluff or threaten someone in a boastful way, or "to buy wolf tickets", meaning to call the bluff or accept the implied challenge.
Emeritus Professor Herbert L. Foster noted in the first edition of his book Ribbin’, Jivin’, and Playin’ the Dozens: The Unrecognized Dilemma of Inner City Schools that his students, in New York City Public School 613 around 1964, started using the expression "woof" or "wolf" ticket interchangeably. Since he was teaching graphic arts, his students, at first, printed wolf tickets. As Foster became more astute about his students’ street culture, he created the woof ticket that was used on the street and discussed further in his book.
You (St. Pierre) told the fans that I deserve to get beat down, that I chased you around. I got the fight, right? I'm working towards something, everybody knows that. Sorry I had to [say you were scared] to get the fight. They're selling you (fans and media) all wolf tickets people, you're eating them right up. Georges here is selling wolf tickets. Dana here is selling wolf tickets. The UFC is selling wolf tickets. You guys are eating them right up.
In this case, the phrase was used to mean "bull". The next month, fighter Tom Lawlor poked fun at the newfound popularity of the phrase, wearing a wolf mask and handing out fake tickets to those onstage at the UFC on Fuel TV 9 weigh-ins.
- Wilton, Dave (1 March 2003). "American Dialect: African-American Speech". Wordorigins.org. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
- "Re: Selling woof tickets". The Phrase Finder. 4 December 2001. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
- Foster, Herb. "Selling Tickets Of Intimidation". http://mvgazette.com/. Vineyard Gazette.
- National Education Association of the United States. Today's education : the journal of the National Education Association. Washington, D.C. : National Education Association of the United States, ©1968-©1979.