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4 Comments

  • I think in American sports you have a similar situation, with baseball, cricket’s cousin, dominating in the simile department. There’s “Home run,” “Ninth Inning,” “Up to bat,” “three strikes,” “World Series” (as in “it’s the World Series of chess!”), and of course, the quintessentially American use of “bases” to describe various levels of sexual achievement. The rest of American sports don’t contribute the same wealth of expressions. There is basketball’s “slam dunk,” I suppose, and a slew of “Super Bowl” metaphors. But people don’t typically use the word “touchdown” to describe accomplishment, don’t talk about “free throws” in terms of second chances, or use hockey terminology to suggest ANYTHING. What is it about the “bat and ball” games?

  • Thanks for your Comment, Ben: good to have confirmation that baseball spawns more idioms than other sports in the US (just as cricket does in the UK). As to why this should be, there is probably a PhD thesis in this!

  • (sorry about that – comment posted itself before I could finish) I looked at sporting metaphors in English once and I seem to remember that boxing contributed a large number. I wonder if that is because – like cricket and baseball perhaps? – boxing is seen as a test of character, rather than simply a sport?