Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Nov 5 15:27:15 UTC 2010

> On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 11:10 AM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
> > Excellent article, Ben. Here is an example of "shellac" in the domain
> > of baseball in 1923. Interestingly, the score is only 2-0, a shutout.
> > During a quick scan of the difficult to read text I was only able to
> > locate "shellac" in the headline.
> >
> > Cite: 1923 Jun 25, The Hartford Courant, "LUQUE'S STREAK ENDS WHEN
> > CUBS SHELLAC REDS, 2 TO 0", Page 12, Hartford, Conn. (ProQuest)

Thanks! I'll add an update including the cite. That even antedates my
boxing examples, so it was really spreading fast on sports pages.

On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 11:17 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> The low-score shutout is interesting. Perhaps the original sense (quickly
> forgotten) was closer to "whitewash," which AFAIK is always limited to
> shutouts.

Well, the example I cite from a year later, June 1925, has a pitcher
getting "shellacked," but his team only lost 7-4. Here's the box score
of the game in question:


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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