Tag: sport

rugby

What is the language of rugby?

While watching a game of rugby, you are likely to hear all kinds of bewildering jargon, some of which – foot-up, hand-off, head-up, put-in, knock-on – makes rugby sound more like a choreographed dance routine than the bruising sport it really is. So, if you’re puzzled as to why a throw-in requires a line-out, or why […]

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croquet

Death roll, leapfrog, and dambuster: the language of croquet

Now that spring and sunshine have reached Oxford, the croquet season has begun in earnest in college quads. Its reputation as a civilized, gentle pastime is confirmed by some of the terms used by players of the game: tea lady, dolly rush, trundle, and pirie poke. But the game has a nastier side too, witnessed […]

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There are many horse racing terms in English.

A look at horse racing terms

Horse-racing and the associated sport of betting on the outcome have contributed many well-known idioms to the English language. For those of you planning a flutter (originally a slang term for any exciting venture) on today’s race, the following guide will help you sound as if you know what you’re doing, even if it makes […]

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marathon running

The language of long-distance running

I imagine it’s much the same when you join a cult. At first, you fool yourself into thinking you won’t be sucked in. You look down on all those ‘fanatics’ who have let it get the better of them, adamant that it’s something you only dabble in occasionally. Yet over time you start to change. […]

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tennis

Video: anyone for tennis? Oxford Dictionaries staff tackle tennis terms

In the last OxfordDictionaries.com update, we added new words like binge-watch, side-eye, and amazeballs. At the Connecticut Open, Nick McCarvel asked various tennis stars including Caroline Wozniacki and Genie Bouchard if they knew what these words meant, and we think they did a pretty great job with the answers (which you can see in the […]

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snooker

The language of snooker

Snooker is a nineteenth-century development of the much older game of billiards, which dates back as far as the sixteenth century. Billiards gets its name from the French word billard ‘cue’, a diminutive form of bille ‘stick’. Once adopted into English the word was pluralized, on the model of other games such as draughts and […]

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How to sound like a football native

The first rule of football is… don’t call it soccer

The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language – a phrase commonly attributed to George Bernard Shaw sometime in the 1940s, although apparently not to be found in any of his published works. Perhaps another way of looking at it is to say that they are two countries separated […]

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Golfing jargon can seem rather arcane to the uninitiated

Birdies, bogeys, and baffies: the language of golf

Golfing jargon can seem rather arcane to the uninitiated, so here is a short guide to help you navigate the bunkers and water hazards of golf language. Competitors will be aiming to make par – the standard number of shots allowed for each hole (from the Latin for ‘equal’) – hence the expression ‘par for the […]

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