on the ground = 'in the world'

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 19 01:03:43 UTC 2011

This appears to be an instance of the expression "light on the ground"
which I think means uncommon. (A similar expression is "sparse on the
ground".) Google Books has an example that it dates 1963. The volume
number of the journal is 196 and that matches the year 1963. Date
probes also show that 1963 is plausible. (Not verified on paper; May
be inaccurate)

Author: Design Council.
Publisher: London : Office for Advertisements and Publication, 1866-
Edition/Format: Journal, magazine : Periodical : English

There is close contact with industry in this research but, again,
courses at undergraduate level are still few and far between.

Ergonomics is light on the ground, though it has its champions, in
Norway and Denmark. In Belgium there has been a burst of research
activity but, so far, little industrial application. In Holland
research has found industrial and ...

Google Books has another example that it dates 1967. Worldcat agrees
with the date. (Not verified on paper; May be inaccurate)

The Leopard
Peter Turnbull-Kemp - 1967 - 268 pages - Snippet view

There may be a great deal of movement within a territory, and it seems
clear that — where game is light on the ground — the Leopard makes a
regular patrol, unconsciously giving prey time in which to settle down
after his period of ...

On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 5:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      on the ground = 'in the world'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> OED has "in situ; on the spot" from the early '60s. But try this:
> 2008 David Thomson _Have You Seen...?_ (N.Y.: Penguin) 791: "'Bib-lit'
> [biblical literature] is mercifully light on the ground these days.
> And that's the context, in a review of a biblical screen spectacular.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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