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AWADmail Issue 65Jaunary 13, 2002
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Paul Klenck (klenckpATattbi.com)
This week's theme of words with sports origins fits hand in (baseball) glove here in Chicago, but today's stock market columnist went a little overboard. Chicago Tribune writer Bill Barnhart had six phrases with sport origins in the first few sentences of his column. This included his describing modest returns on stocks, safety and profits in bonds and a recovery in the overall economy as "the hat trick" for investors.
Barnhart also wrote of "the tough balancing act"--gymnastics; "up, up and away"--hot air ballooning; "in their pocket"--billiards; "the tables have turned"--chess; and "the dominoes are beginning to line up."
From: John Merriam (john.merriamATharveybrockless.co.uk)
Great word, thanks. Did you know that the cricketing word "duck" (meaning zero) relates to the tennis word "love"? One is short for "duck egg" which looks like a 0 and the other comes from the French "l'oeuf".
From: Robert Tolmach (rtolmachATnyc-expo.com)
I once looked at a book of French idioms, and noted that whereas ours are mostly sports-related, there are invariably about food.
"Je suis tomb? aux pommes" (I fell in the apples), for I fainted.
From: Lawrence Chalmer (chalmerlATndu.edu)
Ref your comments today on sports metaphors. I discuss this frequently in my classes on multinational adaptation / acculturation. E.g. rolled a perfect 300, batted a ...., threw him out, your work was a line drive, be the fullback on this issue, and the often used comment from basketball - you'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
From: Gene Boyd (geneboydATdsplus.com)
I can relate to your comment about not being born with the "sports gene". I stopped at my brother's house one day and noticed that he was watching football, so I asked: "Who's playing?" He looked surprised and said: "It's the Superbowl!". "Oh", I replied..."Who's playing?"
From: Siddharth Suri (suriATesuri.com)
One way to respond to all sports-related questions or comments is to simply say "darn defence!". These two words will make you seem very knowledgeable about any sport and any game. Except maybe fishing.
From: Howard Germain (germATwebtv.net)
You have contrasted the "real" world with the world of sports. Alas, sports are all too real. We have become a nation (if not a world) of gladiators... one of the leading indicators of a declining civilization! (see Edward Gibbon.)
From: Michele Boddewyn (mboddewynATgaynordesign.com)
I love your self-description of being born w/o the sports gene. I like your reply to the supermarket check out question. My reply is usually and the Yankees are ... basketball?
From: Jim Jardine (jimATjardine-engineering.com)
On being sports challenged: When guys (hardly ever a woman) ask, "So, what did you think of that game last night?" My usual reply is, "What were they playing?"
From: Michael Eby (mebyATspecialdata.com)
I loved the comment about the sports talk.
My friend: "So, yeah... did you see when Trent Dilfer made that awesome
touchdown last night?"
From: Douglas D. Connah, Jr. (ddconnahATvenable.com)
In 1937, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra recorded a tune that became a hit, "The Dipsy Doodle," by Larry Clinton. The melody "was sort of a wacky-sounding thing, and it it needed a wacky-sounding title," said Clinton, quoted in George T. Simon's "The Big Band Songbook" (1975). "Then I remembered Carl Hubbell of the Giants and the screwball pitch he used to throw. They called it the dipsy doodle pitch, so that's what I called my new tune."
From: Byron Douglass (bjdouglassATuhs.com)
Dipsy Doodle was a popular song of years past. Who can remember what movie it was featured in? I found the words on the Internet. Here they are:
The Dipsy Doodle
The dipsy doodle is the thing to beware
From: Charlie O'Reilly (charlieZebATaol.com)
The Dickson Baseball Dictionary (Paul Dickson, 1989) describes it thusly:
1. n. A slow, tantalizing curveball.
Dickson notes about five different spellings and then quotes Edward J. Nichols: "The uncertainty as to spelling is typical of terms invented by the players rather than the sports reporters."
From: Allan LeBaron (allan_lebaronAThotmail.com)
"Hat trick" as used in ice hockey refers to, where scoring three goals in a game is a tremendous achievement for a single player, and which results in the spectators throwing their hats onto the ice with the scorer skating around picking them up to general acclaim. The game can't continue until all the hats are taken off the ice, so the more hats the longer the cheering lasts.
From: Ellison Goodall (brideyrevisitedATaol.com)
What about the euphemism, "to play cricket" usually in the negative. "That's not playing cricket" - not being fair, with an implication to unsportsmanlike behavior; I admonish my children with this phrase if they have done something not completely sportsmanlike or seemingly unfair, whether or not sports is involved in the matter. Especially odd since we are definite Americans and while my children have seen cricket played, they really know very little about the game.
A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. -Charles Peguy, poet and essayist (1873-1914)