"track record"

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Nov 18 14:51:15 UTC 2010

According to the OED, "track record" derives from horse racing.  Whether horse racing qualifies as a "sport" is open to question:  The activity is covered in the "sports" section of newspapers, but I always wonder who is the athlete--the horse or the rider or the owner.  The question is perhaps even more troubling as regards auto racing.

But I wonder whether modern users of the phrase "track record," if they ever stopped to wonder, would think of it in terms of horse racing or auto racing or human foot racing.  (Of course, the thing about cliches is that their users seldom do think about them.)


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 9:31 AM

Ubiquitous indeed.  I can't remember the last time a TV news individual said
"record" when he could say 'track record."

Sports-related metaphors are more frequent than ever. Cf. last week's post
about "pregame speculation" before the G-20 summit.


On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 9:07 AM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> The figurative use of the phrase "track record" is certainly not new (the
> OED shows it from 1965).  Nor would it be noteworthy, except that it is
> becoming increasing ubiquitous, or so it seems to me--even in cases where
> simply "record" would suffice.
> --Charlie

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