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Difference between Get one’s ticket and Get one’s ticket punched

get one’s ticket—

1. (sl.) be discharged from the army or from prison:

  • “Coiners” as a rule returned to their profession as soon as they got their “ticket.” Prison is a great punishment to such men.

2. qualify for promotion; take a step up in a career path:

  • Seventeen years before he got his “ticket,” his second mate’s ticket, he served in the foc’sle before the mast.


a) The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase get a ticket—get a notice of an offence against traffic regulations (usually a speeding or parking offence):

  • It was two blocks from the hotel, and he might get a ticket for parking.

b) The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase have tickets on oneself—(Austral. sl.) be vain or conceited:

  • You’re the bastard that’s always been smug and had tickets on himself.

get one’s ticket punched —(sl.)

1. die or be killed:

  • My brother Kevin unexpectedly got his ticket punched yesterday. He has had liver cancer for several years but seemed to be getting better recently.

2. = get one’s ticket 2:

  • John was in Vietnam just to get his ticket punched. Combat is the fastest route to promotion.

Cf.: ticketpuncher—(sl.) a career military officer or businessperson whose primary concern is personal advancement:

  • Not going with the “business as usual” choice with someone who is just a sharp person rather than a ticketpuncher was a good thing…