Tag Archives: sports & games
‘fang’

‘fang’

  Prototype for RT Series Nota Type IV ‘Fang’ sports racing car, Nota Engineering, Parramatta (Australia), 1971 Chris Buckingham (1921-2015), who introduced low-cost motor sport into Australia, built this prototype Nota Type IV which he named the ‘Fang’. Source: Guy Buckingham and Australian Motor Racing, by Margaret Simpson – Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, […]

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tycoon

    MEANING   a wealthy, powerful person in business or industry     ORIGIN   This word is from Japanese taikun, itself from Chinese ta, great, and chün, ruler. Tycoon was originally the title by which the shogun of Japan was described to foreigners from the mid-19th century to the end of the Tokugawa […]

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Walker

    MEANING   Walker, more fully Hookey (also Hooky) Walker, is an exclamation expressing incredulity. It was first recorded in Lexicon Balatronicum¹. A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence (1811): Hookee Walker. An expression signifying that the story is not true, or that the thing will not occur. (¹ balatronicum: from […]

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umpire

umpire

  Sir Thomas Parkyns of Bunny (1713) image: National Portrait Gallery       MEANINGS   – in some sports: an official to whose decision all doubtful points are referred, and who sees that the rules are not broken – a person who arbitrates between contesting parties     ORIGIN   The Old and Middle […]

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Derby

Derby

  recruitment poster for the Derby scheme       The Derby is an annual flat race for three-year-old horses, founded in 1780 by the twelfth Earl of Derby (1752-1834), and run on Epsom Downs, in Surrey, England. The result of the first Derby, which took place on Thursday 4th May, was published in the London […]

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wooden spoon

wooden spoon

  The last Wooden Spoon, presented in 1909 to Cuthbert Lempriere Holthouse source: University of Cambridge       MEANING   An imaginary prize said to be awarded to the person who is last in a race or other competition.     ORIGIN   At Cambridge University, an over-sized wooden spoon was traditionally presented to […]

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to get a rise out of someone

to get a rise out of someone

  The Secrets of Angling by John Dennys title page of the first edition (1613)     To get, or take, a rise out of someone means to provoke an angry or irritated response from someone, especially by teasing.   Here, a rise is a joke, a trick played on someone. It is a figurative […]

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alphin

alphin

  photograph: the chess piece       In the early game of chess, an alphin was each of four pieces able to move two squares diagonally, jumping over the middle square. It was superseded by the bishop at the end of the 15th century. The word is from post-classical Latin alphinus, Anglo-Norman aufyn, Anglo-Norman […]

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hands down

hands down

      MEANING   The adverb hands down means easily and decisively, especially in to win hands down.   ORIGIN   In horse racing, a jockey who is winning comfortably rides with hands held loosely down, there being no need to use them to bring pressure on the horse. The phrase first appeared in […]

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dark horse

dark horse

  The Derby was decided by a photo-finish for the first time in 1949, with Nimbus (centre) the winner by a head.     The British politician and writer Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) is often credited with being the first user of dark horse in the sense of a horse about whose racing powers little is […]

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