Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Games and Sports Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
This week we look at terms of or from games and sports. As is our wont, we begin with one that also fits last week's theme, words rooted in numbers.

pachisi – a four-handed partnership board game from South Asia, or any of various modern versions
[From Hindi pacisi twenty-five, which was highest possible throw of the cowrie shells used (in the traditional form of the game) as we would used dice.] .

From 4th century India. Pachisi has been described as India's national board game. The European game ludo is a simplified form of pachisi. One modern form is called Parcheesi, which is a proprietary name in the United States.
    There was whispered poetry in the emperor's ear, and in the pachisi courtyard on Thursdays there was much languid play, with slave girls used as living pieces on the checkerboard floor.
    – Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence: A Novel
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
I've only ever heard of it on American TV programs. Is the game actually played here in Britain?
 
Posts: 7866 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
yakuza – the Japanese organized crime cartel; its "mafia" (occasionally, an individual Japanese gangster or racketeer)

Would anyone have thought that this word comes from a game, and also from numbers per last week's theme? In Oicho-Kabu – a traditional Japanese card game for gambling, somewhat like baccarat or blackjack – the worst set of cards to get is 8-9-3. In Japanese, 8-9-3 = ya eight + ku nine + za, sa three = yakuza. The conceptual link between "bad card hand" and "racketeer" is perhaps that they are each "the worst of the worst", perhaps that they are bad fortune for those who musts deal with them.
    Real estate speculators, often getting an extra edge by paying off politicians, and another extra edge through yakuza connections, have been a surprisingly important part of the Japanese scene for as long as anyone can remember.
    – Paul Krugman, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Today's word fits with "yakuza", in that it's often used with a sense of unsavory activity.

penny-ante; penny ante – cheap, trivial (said esp. of a business-dealing on a trivial scale)
[originally (and still used) in reference to poker played for insignificant stakes]
    "Jimmy [the deceased] was not in a position where he could offend somebody so bad that they would go out of their way to do something. No disrespect but he was penny-ante. He had a very small operation he was running. … Mostly very small these bets. This is what he did. … You have to understand. Jimmy was not in a position to be threatened by serious people."
    – Don DeLillo, Underworld: A Novel

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Today's word has an interesting etymology.

round robin – a tournament in which each competitor plays in turn against every other
[originally (and still used to mean) a petition with signatures written in a circle to disguise the order in which names were affixed and prevent ringleaders from being identified]

Here's a nice figurative use.
    Eyes darted from person to person in a round robin of suspicion.
    –Tim Dorsey, Nuclear Jellyfish: A Novel
Here's a usage that isn't listed in any dictionaries. Is it a "one-off," or can the term legitimately be used to mean "a letter circulated among several correspondents, each of whom add his or her own text before forwarding it to the next"?
    Over the course of the next twenty-four months, the Eppeses and Jefferson traded letters, with one of Jefferson's sisters contributing to the round robin about when and how Polly would get to France.
    –Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
riposte – a quick clever reply (usually in words, but sometimes in action).
[originally from (and still used in) fencing, to mean "a quick return thrust"]
also used as a verb

Instead of providing a quote that uses the word, I'll share with you an effective riposte. In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan tells of a riposte that silenced Muhammad Ali.
    It was back in the 1960s and Mr. Ali, who was still Cassius Clay, was a rising star of boxing, on his way to being champ. One day he was on a plane, going to a big bout. He was feeling good, laughing with friends. The stewardess walked by before they took off, looked down and saw that his seatbelt was unfastened. She asked him to fasten it. He ignored her. She asked him again, he paid no attention. Now she leaned in and issued an order: Fasten the seatbelt, now. Mr. Clay turned, looked her up and down, and purred, "Superman don't need no seatbelt."

    She said, "Superman don't need no airplane. Buckle up." And he did.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
There's a wonderful complement to riposte in "remise..."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remise_(fencing)


RJA
 
Posts: 485 | Location: Westport CTReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
hosel – the socket or neck in the head of a golf club, into which the shaft is inserted
[diminutive of hose]
    Sometimes I work with a golfer who is suffering from the shanks, the dreaded shot that strikes the hosel of the club and shoots off to the right at about a forty-five degree angle. … What's interesting is that … they don't believe the ball is striking the hosel. In fact, many think that it's going off the other end, the toe of the club, causing the ball to go sharply to the right. How do they offset this? They consciously move closer to the ball in an effort to make sure the clubhead strikes the ball closer to the center of the clubface. But, of course, this just makes the problem worse.
    – Joseph Laurentino, The Negotiable Golf Swing
Interestingly, though this word is in the major home-dictionaries, it is not in OED.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
quote:
She said, "Superman don't need no airplane. Buckle up." And he did.
Great story.
 
Posts: 23300 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
playbook – a stock of usual tactics or methods, ready at hand (often used in the context of a tactic "taken from one's opponents playbook")
[from U.S. football, where it means "a notebook containing diagrammed, preplanned football plays". Another, older meaning is "one or more dramatic plays in book form".]

A recent example:
    But while the president and his economic team had a playbook of sorts to follow when it came to the stimulus plan — since the Great Depression the federal government has been using big increases in spending and reductions in taxes to jolt the economy with varying degrees of effectiveness — the problems facing the financial system have no real parallels in scale or complexity.
    – New York Times, Feb. 8, 2009
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Today's word is more common in the UK and in Commonwealth countries than in the US.

shamateurderogatory: a sports player who makes money from sporting activities though classified as amateur
[blend of sham and amateur]
    Thirty years ago he was one of sport's incorrigible hell-raisers. Dave Bedford [a/k/a "Bootsie"] revelled in being the bearded braggart of sport, filling the stadiums wherever he ran and dallying with the dolly birds. Twenty-eight years have passed since they tried to drum him out of the Olympics as a shamateur. "Yes, I got paid in those days, but everyone knew what was going on - you couldn't even call it beer money, because it hardly covered what we drank."
    – The Independent, March 19, 2000 (ellipses omitted)
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
Today's word is more common in the UK and in Commonwealth countries than in the US.



Perhaps, but it isn't one I've ever heard.
 
Posts: 7866 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I recall earlier terms, "players" and "gentlemen," to distinguish those who played for money.


RJA
 
Posts: 485 | Location: Westport CTReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
I've heard it used, but since there are so few sports nowadays that cling to the amateur/professional distinction, not for several years.

I can well remember seeing reports of David Bedford's antics but can't recall seeing him referred to as Dave, let alone "Bootsie".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 


Copyright © 2002-12