Friday, February 25, 2011

Sports Talk

No, literally. Whilst researching a baseball question, I came across a book about words and phrases used in the world of sports. Most of them were pretty ordinary, "drag your feet", "vie for", and so on. But just for you I found some unusual entries.
1. Deke: to deke someone. (Aren't definitions helpful?) It's an odd little word for ' fake out'. And we're not even done! "See also: Juke". Deke comes from 'decoy', which makes sense. Juke means an evasive movement. And Juke comes from 'jouk' which means to bow or duck the head. Nice lineage.
2. Draw the collar: to have nothing to show for your efforts; to strike out. Get this - it comes from the shape of a horse's collar which is circular like a zero. So colorful! Or should I say collarful! No!  But I did anyway!
3. Rhubarb: a heated argument, a fight on the field that empties the bench. This use of the word was popularized by sportscaster Red Barber. OK it does just get better and better. The origin is from the theater, no less. Or maybe the movies. Actors in a crowd scene who are just supposed to sound like they are having a conversation walk around mumbling "rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb..." .
Sigh. I love words. You can find more in:

Dictionary of Sports Idioms

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