Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Nov 6 17:07:04 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 12:59 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> Obama's reference to the Democrats' electoral "shellacking" is the
> inspiration for my latest Word Routes column:
> I've found the "beating" sense going back to 1924, in boxing circles.

Yet another possible explanation for the pugilistic usage of the verb
"shellac" is suggested by this article about rules adopted by the
Montana Boxing Commission:

"Boxing Commission Adopts New Rules"
_Anaconda (Mont.) Standard_, Aug. 4, 1913, p. 3
"Rule 6. The contestants shall be allowed to wear bandages on their
hands under the gloves, provided such bandages are made of thin gauze
or adhesive tape and do not run above the wrists. The bandages shall
be inspected by the referee before the gloves are put on. ...
Covering the bandages with shellac or any other substance, or
concealing tea-lead or any other hard or weighty substance under them
is positively prohibited."


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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